Monday, April 18, 2011
Why Should We Marry Younger than the Modern, Industrial World's Average?
Strictly from a practical standpoint, the effects of marrying at 27 - 30 include:
1) Waiting to marry decreases the available pool from which to marry. That's simple mathematics.
2) Postponing marriage to someone whom you love and want to marry increases the potential for pre-marital sex exponentially - especially if you find that someone and feel that way at 22 and have to wait for 5 years or more to get married.
3) Waiting to have kids until after 35 radically increases the risk of lots of birth defects. Marrying at 30 leaves a window of only five years for those who want to have their kids prior to that age.
4) Having three kids in five years certainly is doable and not at all harmful for many, but it will derail the wife's career in many cases - and will be hard on anyone who has extended post-partum issues.
5) Waiting to get married at such an age that 3 or fewer kids is the only "safe" option doesn't leave any room for those who want more - especially if they want 5 or more. Our kids are 14 years apart, spaced and planned meticulously, and our oldest was born almost two years after we were married, so my wife would have been 43 years old when our youngest was born if we had married when she was 27. Our last two would have been born after the 35 year target and been subject to increased risk as a result.
6) If our youngest had been born when we were 43, she would not graduate until we were 61 - at which point I would be considering retirement. Not only do I not want to be dealing with a teenager when I am 61 and multiple times a grandfather, but I also want to have a few years left in my 50's to be alone with my wife and have some freedom BEFORE I contemplate retirement. Currently, we have 6 kids, and the youngest will graduate when I am 54. That's a BIG difference.
7) A mature 24 is much better in a marriage and family than an immature 30.
There's more I could add, but starting that much later has consequences that must be considered - especially when the data suggests marrying after 21 removes almost all increase in divorce rate that can be attributed primarily to age.
[NOTE: I am NOT saying in this post that everyone should marry before the modern average age mentioned in the opening sentence. That is a personal decision and each person should marry at whatever age is best for him or her. This post is about a general societal trend and its very real implications and complications.]