What are Your Chances of Getting Married?
|What are Your Chances of Getting Married?|
|p.2 Faith Will Give You Confidence|
You have a 1 in 4 chance of still being unmarried by the age of 30.
If you're 35, only 1 out of 6 women your age won't have married before.
And if, by chance, you reach the age of 40 without having taken the plunge, you'll have company, albeit only 1 in 7.
That's the word coming from a report by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, based on 2002 survey data.
For some of you, this information will put your mind at rest. Others of you will think, "ONLY 86% of women have married by the age of 40? But what if I'm in that unlucky 14%?!!"
The National Healthy Marriage Resource Center tries to reassure us, asserting that "nearly 100% of contemporary Americans over the age of 70 [have] been married at some point in their lives."
But do we really want to wait until we're 70 to find the man of our dreams?
Sex in America: A Definitive Survey (1994) tells us the best chance we have of finding Mr. Right is in our twenties, when there's a surfeit of men. As we age, the number of suitable available men decreases. By the age of 40, they estimate that there's only 98 single men for every 100 single women. When women hit 60, there are even fewer single available men: 88 per every 100 women, to be precise.
And if you're over 70, don't even bother looking for a man. There's just over 1 guy available for every 2 women searching for love.
As we women age, it gets harder and harder to find a guy. This is partially because it's easier for older men to remarry with younger women. It's also because men tend to die off at younger ages than women. There are less men out there, and the older men that are single tend to look for younger models.
There's No Need to Fear
I'm not telling you all this to scare you. I'm telling you this so that you have the facts.
I didn't get married until I was well over the age of 30, and I'm glad I waited!
I had so many things going on in my life when I was in my twenties. I had places to go, people to meet, and diverse careers to pursue! I wanted to spend my free time exploring what life had to offer, not sitting at home with the same man night after night.
In short, I didn't want to settle down.
I'm not alone. Americans are marrying at later and later ages. The average age at which men marry for the first time is 27, while women tend to marry earlier at 25.
In the UK, men tend to marry even later, at the age of 30, with women waiting until they're 28. Australians do the same.
We've got lots to do before settling down. Many of us are spending longer in school, getting the advanced degrees we need to pursue our careers. Still others don't feel the need to marry, when it's just as easy to live together. There's less cultural stigma attached to staying single, although many of us will still get a well-meaning push from our parents who want to "see us happy."
Most importantly, most of us haven't figured out who we are until later on in life.
We're still spreading our wings, exploring different sides to our identity, and trying out different lifestyles. We literally don't know what we want. And we won't know what we want until we've dated enough to know what we don't want!
There's evidence to suggest that marrying at later ages gives you a better chance of staying together. (Although, in truth, this mainly applies to teen marriages, which fail at alarming rates.)
You don't want to get married without having experienced all the world has to offer. Otherwise, if you marry too young - say, by marrying your first boyfriend - you may always wonder what else is out there. You may wonder what you missed.
I knew I was ready to get married when I had no desire to see who else was out there. I was ready to wash my hands of the ferris wheel of dating, with all its giddying highs and gut-wrenching lows. The calm stability of family life beckoned.
And, more importantly, I knew that my husband was a giant among men. I'd dated actively for a decade; I knew what else was out there. No one else matched me the way he did. I was done looking.