One of the hardest things to do in life is to buck cultural trends. It’s human nature to want to do what those around you do. It means you’ll be supported in the choices you make, and people like to feel supported.
But what if the culture is wrong?
One of the most unpopular things I could write in 2019 is that women should consider marrying young(ish). But I’ll say it anyway: Ladies, consider marrying young(ish).
By “young(ish),” I mean young by today’s standards: around 25. Any earlier than that and you run the risk of making a reckless decision. Sixty percent of couples married between ages 20-25 end in divorce. By age 25, divorce rates plummet by nearly half.
I know, I know: you’ve been raised to postpone marriage indefinitely and to focus on your career instead. You’ve been cautioned against falling in love too soon because you’ll wind up married with babies. In your 20s you’re supposed to be focused on you. You need to play the field and not “settle,” and you need to get your career off the ground and not have to mesh your plans with a man’s plans—yadda yadda yadda.
I admit it sounds good in theory, but The Plan has not worked out for countless women who find themselves single at 30 or even 35. After spending at least half of their best childbearing years moving in and out of countless relationships that went nowhere, they wonder what they’re going to do now. “How am I going to find a husband?” they ask. “Will I be able to have children?”
The way to avoid this is to marry young(ish).
Here are 6 great reasons to get married in your 20s:
- It’s natural to want love and commitment. Don’t be afraid of it! You’ve been told to map out your life the way men map out theirs: to be singularly focused on a career and to use birth control in the meantime, which supposedly allows you to enjoy commitment-free sex the way men do. Yeah! Problem is, women are different from men. They have trouble separating sex and emotion and almost always want a relationship. And then when they’re in a relationship, they want to know what the ending will be. Women are relationship oriented creatures. It is a rare woman who just wants sex.
- Men can afford to wait. Women can’t. Women have their greatest marital bargaining power in their 20s—that’s when their attractiveness is at its peak. Do not underestimate the value of beauty and fertility. That’s what men look for when it comes to marriage, whether they’re consciously aware of it or not. Men aren’t the ones who get pregnant, so they afford to put marriage off. Which means by the time you’re in your thirties, you’ll have to compete with younger, more beautiful women.
- It’s very advantageous to have nailed down the most important decision of your life early on. Getting a choice of partner down early offers a lot of flexibility and plenty of time to focus on other things, such as saving money to buy a house or to allow one parent to stay home when the kids come along. You could also wait a few years before having children if you want a smaller family. I have a friend who married really young (too young by today’s standards) and who waited nine years to have children! She and her husband enjoyed many years together unencumbered by the responsibilities of parenthood and saved a lot of money in the meantime.
- You have the option to have more than two children. It takes at least two years each to have and to recover from having a baby. So depending on how many children you want, you may need up to a ten-year period for this stage of life. At age 35, your fertility declines precipitously. So ages 25-35 are an ideal time to get married and have all the babies you want.
- You have the option to be a young mother. This alone has several advantages, such as a higher energy level (which you will need!) and ample help from grandparents while they’re still active enough to help out. It’s also helpful as far having time in your life for both family and career, as there are many women who stay home with their children for x number of years and then later in life amp up their careers.
- Last but not least (actually, this is the best reason of all) you won’t find yourself in the unenviable position of having to ‘hurry up and find a man to marry.’ This is a major problem with women who delay marriage and find themselves marrying whomever they happen to be dating (or even living with) to ensure they’ll be able to have children. The entire decision process is therefore undermined as a result of a ticking clock. You’re just far less likely to choose well when you’re under the gun. A decision that seems logical at the time may not seem so logical later.
So there are a lot of upsides to marrying earlier rather than later. Of course, if you were to float this idea around, you’ll get a lot of pushback since the culture teaches women to eschew marriage in favor of their careers, the assumption being that marriage will come along on a woman’s personal timetable.
But just because something’s popular doesn’t mean it’s right. Don’t make that leap.
Instead, be a maverick. Women have the best options for love while in their twenties—don’t waste these years! Use them to your advantage. And don’t dump a guy who’s marriage material because you think someone just as good or better will come along when you’re ready. Life doesn’t work that way.
Be smart, and make marriage a priority. Careers come and go, but you only have a few chances in life to establish a serious relationship with a man. If you get that down, everything else will seem like a piece of cake.