When should you get married / be in a committed relationship?
I was thinking the other day about the ages of people getting married. I heard a niece of a colleague was 20 getting hitched and I thought “Whoa.. I didn’t even know what style I liked at that age, haven’t even graduated and she is MARRIED!??”
Of course as I say “married” I also mean long term relationships like mine where I’m pretty much as good as married in my mind except I skipped the papers, ceremony, stress, and $$$$$$$$ of it all.
Maybe they just marry younger here in this province but it did at least give me food for thought because as far as I can tell, most of my friends were at least 26 – 29 before they got married.
There are pros to marrying younger that I can immediately point to as helpful…
For one thing, you don’t know who you are quite as well as when you’re 40. You’re less set in your ways, a bit malleable and can in many ways, grow with your spouse to come to an agreeable union that benefits both (or not, can go either way).
When you’re older, in your 40s and up, you already have biases that are pretty set, routines that you like to do alone, and you’re used to a certain way of life.
Which brings me to kids speaking of “being used to a certain way of life”.. if you plan on having kids, having them YOUNG has so many advantages I can’t even begin.
You don’t need as much sleep (all good because newborns up to the age of 5, DO NOT LET YOU SLEEP SOLIDLY).
You have way more energy to play with kids. I get home and I’m not that old in my early 30s but dang, Little Bun sucks the energy out of me. If I were younger I wouldn’t need as much sleep and I’d probably have way more energy to bounce with him.
You aren’t set in a job or career that you have worked hard for yet. This is a positive in marriage because you can change jobs, move cities, decide to work part time or quit to raise kids or WHATEVER. When you’re older, your career is established and it is much harder to uproot yourself and your spouse & co.
You have less money, which means you make less money mistakes and aren’t as militant about being fair with sharing money or being equal in a relationship (or was that just me?)…
All the negatives of being younger become positives…
Like this: your career is set so you make more money and can enjoy life easily, or with your established experience you can move to other cities and pick up right where you left off.
You can also offer more experience to the other spouse in having matured independently of them, and you’ve seen a wider range and dated a wider range of people to be able to appreciate who you’ve got is a real gem.
You’re more cautious which isn’t a bad thing, and you are less laissez-faire about things that you know make a big impact on the long run, like working hard at work, going to get your skills updated and so on.
An older parent is also said to churn out slightly smarter kids because you would have already finished your degree, maybe went back for more certifications, have learned more and can teach your kids way more than when you were 20 and slightly clueless. You have less energy but you know more.
You also know how to work in a relationship with others using techniques in your relationship to work things out, and are less likely to pick up and leave at the first sign of trouble. You could be more willing to stay and try counselling knowing that you’re a certain age and good unmarried partners don’t show up every week.
There are so many good and bad aspects to marrying when you’re young or older but it always made me curious what life would have been like if I stayed single until my 40s. I suspect I would have enjoyed it because I’m a bit of a serial monogamist (love being in a relationship) and being single would have pushed me uncomfortably into a direction of being alone and okay with it. I have never really been “alone” and “single” past high school years which sort of makes me wistful for what that experience could have been like.
I don’t regret what I have now because I really do have it good, but I do wonder about a missed life.