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How old do you think a couple should be before they get married?

Asked at Munchers Bakery, 925 S. Iowa on August 17, 2009

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Photo of Jayne Fisher

“I think it should be more of a mindset as opposed to a number. You should always feel ready, not rushed. ”

Photo of Deirdre Fisher

“I think you should finish your schooling first. But if you didn’t go to school, at least 21.”

Photo of John Ragan

“Twenty-one. I think that’s a pretty responsible age.”

Photo of Alvin Kroge

“I believe 21. It gives a person time to get through some education.”


jonas_opines 8 years, 9 months ago

"How old do you think a people should be before they get married?"

A people? Like the people of Acadia or something?

And why the hell is the accounting major the only one unwilling to give a number?! Isn't that some sort of paradox or something?

I say 19 and a half. 18 and 21 are too common of benchmarks, so split the difference.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 9 months ago

well Jonas, let's see, the chinese are a very ancient people, they old enough to be married???

americans are not an old people.

what's a wing administrator? can I be a thigh operator...or a breast consultant?

blogreader 8 years, 9 months ago

jonas_opines might want to take a second look at the question before you go blasting it.

yankeevet 8 years, 9 months ago

70 yrs old.............and make sure she can cook oatmeal....................

RoeDapple 8 years, 9 months ago


"in the year 6565 ain't gonna need no husband won't need no wife you'll pick your son pick your daughter too

from the bottom of a long black tube"

BigPrune 8 years, 9 months ago

Don't know about age, but thorough psychological testing should be mandatory for each party. If one is a psycho then the couple probably shouldn't get married. Is there a test for psychos? Two tests should be given to women, one during that time of the month and one not during that time of the month. There should also be a test for common sense. The person might be book smart, even a straight A student, but be severely challenged when it comes to common sense. Then there is the "can you balance a check book to save your life" test but that might fall into the common sense part. They need to come up with a test that will indicate if one of the spouses might stray. In fact, every guy I know who is divorced, it came down to the woman screwed around and not the guy. I wonder if anyone did a study on being faithful? Of course, there needs to be an empathy test as well. I recommend a book called, Emotional Vampires before marriage. If you see some similarities, probably shouldn't go through with it. Maybe I'm just jaded :)

Probably best not to get married, but we must continue our species somehow.

Maddy Griffin 8 years, 9 months ago

30 or so . I don't think you really know who You are before then. And I would advise a practice run ( live together for a couple of years) first. The divorce rate is now in the mid 50's so be sure to be sure!!

imastinker 8 years, 9 months ago

As a 27 year old that just had a five year anniversary - I can't imagine waiting until 30 to get started with our lives. We had a honeymoon baby - and were pretty young for kids - but it made us better people. It forced us to grow up and become adults early, and at 27 I've had some success that people twice my age can't claim.

Right or wrong we did it and I don't regret a thing.

slang4d 8 years, 9 months ago

Age at marriage for those who divorce in America

20 to 24 years old women: 36.6% men: 38.8%

21 - not such a good age to get married.

30 to 34 years old women: 8.5% men: 11.6% 35 to 39 years old women: 5.1% men: 6.5%

thirties seem to be the safest bet.

trinity 8 years, 9 months ago

mid-late 20's; most-i said most-have no clue about who they are prior to that. then when you hit your mid-20's (if you've married young) you look at spouse&say "what was i THINKING???? :) at least that is how it worked for me-but of course, at 17 i knew it ALL!

canyon_wren 8 years, 9 months ago

I agree with trinity that late 20's sounds good. Too often young people get married to meet a need (not just physical but something that makes them dependent upon the other) and then mature beyond that point and the person they married turns out to be not right for them. I talked about marriage with several guys who later I realized would not have been good choices for me. If people DO marry young (late teens--early 20s), they certainly should put off having a family till they have had a chance to just be a couple for a goodly period. It sounds like the jury is still out, as far as the usefulness of "living together a while first" is concerned. So many of my daughter's friends who did that wound up not being able to accommodate the change that marriage brings to a relationship.

Ultimately, no hard and fast rule works here--it seems to be a "game of chance," regardless.

Mary Darst 8 years, 9 months ago

I think after someone has finished school, have lived on their own and have lived the single life, then maybe they are ready for a relationship. Many young people get married for the wrong reasons. My sons 1st wife wanted to get out of her house. The second wife felt like everyone else was getting married,so she got married. I'm by no means saying my son was at no fault. I do think that girls should be totally self-sufficient before taking the plunge, and best to marry someone that is also self-sufficient. I am speaking from experience.

Practicality 8 years, 9 months ago

No one should ever get married until they have lived on their own for awhile. People should learn how to be responsible for themselves first. And, in my opinion, that takes a little longer for guys, in general, than gals.

Of greater importance to society, I believe, is the maturity and stability of parents before they have children. That is the biggest problem, for that has longer lasting repurcussions on the children and society than any hasty marriage without kids.

tkeagleblog 8 years, 9 months ago

Got married 29 I think. Still happily married. Over 7 years. Early to Mid 20's was a party time for my wife and I. I think the parties needs to get out of the way first. Plus any school you still might have. Plus, lived together for a few years first. I lived with the wife for 5 years before we got married. Nothing changed. When we had kids, then it changed.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 9 months ago

Whenever they want. Why would it be my business when someone else decides to get married?

spiff 8 years, 9 months ago

One person should be under 30 and the other over 50. If you don't maintain that 20 year age difference, things get boring

Practicality 8 years, 9 months ago

Still waiting for a reference to the old adage about cows and free milk.

coolmom 8 years, 9 months ago

i was 20 and the hubby was 21. we had our first child 9ish months later and we have been married for a little over 18years. i cant say that we didnt have our issues but things seem to get better and better. now if all these kids would leave home we would be set!

coolmom 8 years, 9 months ago

to be fair my neice recently got married at 19 to another 19 year old and her mother and i initially had a panic attck and the instant they are way to young conversation so i dont think that people didnt feel the same about the hubby and i lol.

jonas_opines 8 years, 9 months ago

blogreader might consider that the moderators can fix errors when they have them pointed out before blasting somebody who noticed an error.

Jersey_Girl 8 years, 9 months ago

I agree with Marion; why get married at all? If you want to get married, all the more power to you, but I think it should be when you are emotionally mature enough. When I was in my 20's, I thought I wanted to get married someday, but knew I wasn't emotionally ready. Now, if I got married, it would be because I want a family and being married to the father of my children would just make certain legal issues easier (and no, I'm not talking about child support).

Jersey_Girl 8 years, 9 months ago

blue73harley - I'm with you. Since the divorce rate rises with the decrease in age at time of marriage, it seems to me if one wants to build a "real family" (whatever the hell that is), one should wait until one is stable enough to maintain a marriage.

imastinker 8 years, 9 months ago

What is stable?

We have a lot of friends who are waiting until they have the right job, house, finances, etc before having kids. They are having their first kids in their 30's. I certianly have no problem with this - but they will be retirement age trying to put kids through college.

I certianly don't want that.

canyon_wren 8 years, 9 months ago

Irish--I don't think the point of this is to tell someone else when to get married or not--but mostly just sharing our own experiences. Some people DO learn from others' experience.

I was 22 when i got married and I had finished college, but not really been on my own as far as earning a living was concerned (though I had been independent and paid my own way through college, etc.). I didn't feel any need to rush--my husband just seemed like the right one at the time. I was married over 30 years and have been divorced about half that long and am happier now by myself than I ever was married, even though I wouldn't have missed that bittersweet experience for anything, nor my precious daughter.

I do think that many times people who marry fairly young--then divorce and remarry--find a lot more happiness in the second marriage.

However, it appears to me that both men and women who don't marry for the first time till they are in their 40s (regardless of how many long-term relationships they have had, including living together) have a lot of trouble adjusting to marriage--they have established their lifestyles and find it hard to accommodate sharing that life and the routines they have established.

Just some thoughts on the subject--no real recommendations--and not a matter of telling someone else what to do!

Jersey_Girl 8 years, 9 months ago

imastinker - sorry, I meant emotionally stable. I've heard enough couples who were waiting until they were financially stable enough to get married, have kids, etc., but the truth is, for most people, the more money they make, the more they spend. It doesn't make them any more financially stable. And maybe I should have said emotionally mature rather than stable.

Jersey_Girl 8 years, 9 months ago

BuenaVista - so a real marriage is one that faces finacial harships? Not other hardships? My dad and stepmother both make decent money; I'd call them middle-to-middle-upper class, but 9 years into their marriage, they faced the biggest hardship a marriage can face; the death of a child. That was 16 years ago and at the end of this month, they'll be celebrating their silver anniversary. I guarentee that they would give up all money and material goods they have to have my brother back.

H_Lecter 8 years, 9 months ago

'77 was OK, but the '78 280Z reached their pinnacle. Enough legroom for tall drivers & plenty of power. Primary drawback is that they were prone to rust, even the frames.

Practicality 8 years, 9 months ago

Top Ten Reasons for Divorce

1) Infidelity

2) Communication Breakdown

3) Physical, Psychological, Emotional Abuse

4) Finacial Issues

5) Sexual Incompatability

6) Boredom

7) Religious and Cultural Strains

8) Child Rearing

9) Addiction

10) Differences in Priorities and Expectations

jonas_opines 8 years, 9 months ago

"They finished some studies and found that those who live together first more often end in divorce."

Those who live together first probably have a more cavalier view towards the institution of marriage than those who are willing to wait. For me, I could never have gotten married to someone who I had never lived with.

puddleglum 8 years, 9 months ago

well, you are a teen by the time you are thriteen, so that should be good enough.

Practicality 8 years, 9 months ago

The Top Ten Myths of Divorce

1 "Because people learn from their bad experiences, second marriages tend to be more successful than first marriages."

Although many people who divorce have successful subsequent marriages, the divorce rate of remarriages is in fact higher than that of first marriages.

2 " Living together before marriage is a good way to reduce the chances of eventually divorcing."

Many studies have found that those who live together before marriage have a considerably higher chance of eventually divorcing. The reasons for this are not well understood. In part, the type of people who are willing to cohabit may also be those who are more willing to divorce. There is some evidence that the act of cohabitation itself generates attitudes in people that are more conducive to divorce, for example the attitude that relationships are temporary and easily can be ended.

3 "Divorce may cause problems for many of the children who are affected by it, but by and large these problems are not long lasting and the children recover relatively quickly."

Divorce increases the risk of interpersonal problems in children. There is evidence, both from small qualitative studies and from large-scale, long-term empirical studies, that many of these problems are long lasting. In fact, they may even become worse in adulthood

4 "Having a child together will help a couple to improve their marital satisfaction and prevent a divorce."

Many studies have shown that the most stressful time in a marriage is after the first child is born. Couples who have a child together have a slightly decreased risk of divorce compared to couples without children, but the decreased risk is far less than it used to be when parents with marital problems were more likely to stay together “for the sake of the children.”

5 "Following divorce, the woman’s standard of living plummets by seventy three percent while that of the man’s improves by forty two percent."

This dramatic inequity, one of the most widely publicized statistics from the social sciences, was later found to be based on a faulty calculation. A reanalysis of the data determined that the woman’s loss was twenty seven percent while the man’s gain was ten percent. Irrespective of the magnitude of the differences, the gender gap is real and seems not to have narrowed much in recent decades

Practicality 8 years, 9 months ago

The Top Ten Myths of Divorce (Cont.)

6 “When parents don’t get along, children are better off if their parents divorce than if they stay together. “

A recent large-scale, long-term study suggests otherwise. While it found that parents’ marital unhappiness and discord have a broad negative impact on virtually every dimension of their children’s well-being, so does the fact of going through a divorce. In examining the negative impacts on children more closely, the study discovered that it was only the children in very high conflict homes who benefited from the conflict removal that divorce may bring. In lower-conflict marriages that end in divorce—and the study found that perhaps as many as two thirds of the divorces were of this type—the situation of the children was made much worse following a divorce. Based on the findings of this study, therefore, except in the minority of high-conflict marriages it is better for the children if their parents stay together and work out their problems than if they divorce.

7 “Because they are more cautious in entering marital relationships and also have a strong determination to avoid the possibility of divorce, children who grow up in a home broken by divorce tend to have as much success in their own marriages as those from intact homes. “

Marriages of the children of divorce actually have a much higher rate of divorce than the marriages of children from intact families. A major reason for this, according to a recent study, is that children learn about marital commitment or permanence by observing their parents. In the children of divorce, the sense of commitment to a lifelong marriage has been undermined.

8 “Following divorce, the children involved are better off in stepfamilies than in single-parent families.”

The evidence suggests that stepfamilies are no improvement over single-parent families, even though typically income levels are higher and there is a father figure in the home. Stepfamilies tend to have their own set of problems, including interpersonal conflicts with new parent figures and a very high risk of family breakup.

9 “Being very unhappy at certain points in a marriage is a good sign that the marriage will eventually end in divorce. “

All marriages have their ups and downs. Recent research using a large national sample found that eighty six percent of people who were unhappily married in the late 1980s, and stayed with the marriage, indicated when interviewed five years later that they were happier. Indeed, three fifths of the formerly unhappily married couples rated their marriages as either “very happy” or “quite happy.”

Practicality 8 years, 9 months ago

The Top Ten Myths of Divorce (Cont.)

10 “It is usually men who initiate divorce proceedings”

Two-thirds of all divorces are initiated by women. One recent study found that many of the reasons for this have to do with the nature of our divorce laws. For example, in most states women have a good chance of receiving custody of their children. Because women more strongly want to keep their children with them, in states where there is a presumption of shared custody with the husband the percentage of women who initiate divorces is much lower.10 Also, the higher rate of women initiators is probably due to the fact that men are more likely to be "badly behaved." Husbands, for example, are more likely than wives to have problems with drinking, drug abuse, and infidelity.

MaryKatesPillStash 8 years, 9 months ago

Grammaddy, I agree wish you on the issue of living together before getting married. I have been living with my boyfriend for about three years, though. Our relationship is fine, but since relocating to Oklahoma City a few months ago, many many people raise their eyebrows when I say that I live with my boyfriend. One of my coworkers evey said I was living a sinful lifestyle. I guess it's time for me to hurry up and get married...

ksdivakat 8 years, 9 months ago

You took mine Blue!!! LOL thats what I was gonna say, Im rolling, that is soo funny, but unfortunately true, I hear that there are 6 million Missourians, and only 7 last names! LOL

Jimo 8 years, 9 months ago

Anywhere north of the statutory minimum of 15 years -- a total and absolute scandal!

jonas_opines 8 years, 9 months ago

multiD: "Jonas, I too felt the way you do about living together, yet I see where they are coming from on that study."

Errr. .. . didn't the study say the same thing that I did?

Granted, there were alternative reasons.

jayhawklawrence 8 years, 9 months ago

I think 21 is too young, but if you start dating when you are 15 or younger, 21 seems old.

The smart thing to do is to resist the peer pressure and focus on your education. Marriage, in most cases, should be about family and children are going to become your greatest responsibility.

When you are young you have many choices, but when you are older you have fewer and fewer. Make the right ones when you are young and you can have a happy and fulfilling life for you and your family.

50YearResident 8 years, 9 months ago

Under 65, if you haven't got married by then it too late! Over 65 creates unlimited problems of all kinds.

kmat 8 years, 9 months ago

blue73harley (Anonymous) says…

And make darn sure your marriage (or relationship) is stable enough, both emotionally and financially before you start having kids.

The best post. Too bad most people do just the opposite.

Stat_Guys 8 years, 9 months ago

Smitty we've got your profile page recorded as of today in the event you disappear. Thought you'd like to know.

BuenaVista. We don't know who you are or perhaps used to be but you've got a good idea there. Hopefully some will join in on your comment. For the Stat_Guys I'll add: 3) a wife who continually claims no one ever sees her pierced tongue but she flicks and plays with it all too often and doesn't realize she does it apparently. 4) a wife who continually claims no one ever sees the large tattoo across her lower back that she snuck out and got against her parents rules as a know, the ones that always shows above her jeans around her muffin top and that short shirt at least two sizes too small.

Practicality 8 years, 9 months ago

LOL Marion. Funny post, but kinda true.

jonas_opines 8 years, 9 months ago

I guess we know now the set of rationalizations that Marion uses to sleep at night.

lwctown 8 years, 9 months ago

They should be old enough to know better.

sunflower_sue 8 years, 9 months ago

I got married a week after my 22nd birthday. Waaaayyyy too young! I've been married for 19 years now. I still maintain this marriage will never last! I only give it another 50 years or so...that's all I'm willing to put up with!

Prospector, did Whiteowl and Moonbeam ever tie the knot?

Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

Never have children before age 35 and none after the age of 51.

Live together first by all means.

"Men need to be at least 10 years older than their female counterparts because women mature at an earlier age"

Men never marry before 35 and women never before 25.... in the meantime enjoy yourselves you'll never regret it.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 9 months ago

Geesh Marion did you get a bad one or what?

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