The statistic that about 50 percent of all marriages in the USA will end in divorce has become widespread. People are always wondering about the perfect age to get married. Many have tackled this mystery but are yet to come up with a solid conclusion. What they may not realize however is that the odds of getting divorced are significantly increased by getting married at a young age. This discussion will use relevant arguments and evidence to support the claim that marriages of younger couples (below 25) are more likely to end in divorce.
The suggestion that early marriages have significantly higher odds of ending up in divorce is supported by the National Centre for Health Statistics which reports that persons who get married at the ages of between 20 and 25 have a 60 percent probability of getting divorced (Thornton, Axinn, and Xie 54). The US Bureau of Labor Statistics from a study done between 2010 and 2011also supports that the stability of a marriage decreases with decrease in the age couples first get married (Aughinbaugh, Robles, and Sun 17). The bureau explains that: 58% of marriages which began between the ages of 15 and 22 ended in divorce; 43% of those which began between the ages of 23 and 28 ended in divorce; and 36% of marriages that began between the ages of 26 and 34 ended in divorce (17). This data hence shows that, generally, people who marry when they are older are more likely to stay married compared to people who marry when they are younger.
One reason that may be used to explain why marriages of relatively younger couples are more likely to end in divorce is due to a lower level of maturity. According to scientific research, the brains of women are not usually fully developed before the age of 25 (Thornton et al. 62). Dalrock, a man happily married for many years, argues that the risk divorce is higher when people get married at a younger age since women “don’t know who they are yet” when they are young. On the issue of brain maturity and intelligence Dalrock explains that women who have higher IQs often go to college which translates to them getting married at a later age. Given their higher IQs and maturity, they may tend to have lower divorce rates compared to their younger mates who get married earlier (Dalrock). The case for men is even worse whereby their brains develop fully at a later time of between 25 and 30 years of age. Furthermore, couples that get married at a young age have their risk of divorce increase as they advance in age. This is because many things including a person’s interests change with time (InnovateUs). This may gradually lead the partners to see that they do not have a reasonable level of common interests in life, which may eventually result to divorce. Therefore, persons who are younger than 25 are yet to attain the mental capacity required for the formation of the bond that sustains a marriage.
Another reason that tends to end the marriages of young couples is having unrealistic expectations. They seem not understand what is required to sustain a marriage in the long term, and may therefore end their marriages prematurely, seeing that their relationship is not strong enough to maintain their marriage (InnovateUs). According to Dalrock, a proportion of young married couples, especially very young ones, have their marriages based on impulsiveness rather than deep reflection and consultation. Kay Moffett, who authored “Not Your Mother’s Divorce: A Practical Guide to Surviving the End of a Young Marriage,” most young couples get into marriage for the wrong reasons (qtd. in Thornton et al. 41). They are usually too excited about most things like their partners, their relationship, and about marriage. According to Moffet, those who wait are more prepared to surmount the “post-honeymoon surprises” (41) She adds that couples that couples which date for a longer time see their partners more realistically hence are not shocked after getting married. She further notes that relatively older couples who have dated for a longer time do not idolize their partners or marriages, giving them the ability to evaluate their partners and make compromises where flaws may be present (41). From Moffet’s argument, one may conclude that younger people should date for a longer time to get to know their partners better and possibly get married at later age after accepting the flaws of their partners. This may help to avoid unrealistic expectations.
Divorce rates may also correlate positively with decrease in the age of the couple due to the fact they have higher odds of remarriage. Dalrock argues that the younger the wife, the more attractive she may be to other men, increasing the risk of divorce.
Unlike couples who get married when they are very young, the average marital quality of those who marry when they are older is usually higher (qtd. in InnovateUs). This is according to Paul Amato, a sociologist at Pennsylvania University (qtd. in InnovateUs). According to Amato, marriages of couples in their thirties are more cohesive than those of couples in their twenties since they tend to do most things together as a couple (qtd. in InnovateUs). Amato adds that reports of thinking about a divorce or of marriages being in trouble are fewer among older couples (qtd. in InnovateUs). This therefore implies that older couples are more likely to stick together in marriage compared to younger ones.
Financial struggles may as well contribute to a higher likelihood of divorce with decrease in the age of a couple. Having married when too young, a couple may not have had enough time to prepare for life’s expenses especially within a marriage (Stevenson and Wolfers 27). Such couples may be lacking a steady income source because they may be yet to qualify for stable and highly paying careers (InnovateUs). A low income may therefore be a source of monetary strain for the young partners in their efforts to meet daily expenses and afford a decent living standard. The young couple’s financial struggles may in fact be more complicated if one or both partners have to fund their education fees and plan for a career (InnovateUs). Such financial struggles may increase the temptation for the young couple to give up their marriage, further proving the need to get stable financially before marriage and this usually happens at later age. Evidence shows that financial stability increases the likelihood of young men to get married and decreases their tendency to seek divorce (Aughinbaugh et al. 2). Therefore, the importance of finances in marriages of young couples cannot be overstated.
Another factor that may cause an early marriage to end in divorce is career goals. Even when couples marry at a young age, each partner often has their own ambitions (Stevenson and Wolfers 6). In situations where both partners plan to pursue career ambitions, it may require a high level of maturity as well as understanding for them to pursue both a career and a relationship (Stevenson and Wolfers 18). Each partner would therefore be required to make sacrifices to meet the needs of the other. For instance, the young partners may be forced to live separately in different locations during the pursuit of their careers (InnovateUs). In such a scenario, the marriage of the young couple may have to be tested by the perils associated with a long distance relationship.
Those who are for younger couples getting married argue that the largest part of the years that young adults postpone marriage for the sake of “personal development” is often spent on fun activities instead (Dalrock). They also argue that the same thing applies to those who claim that they are first seeking their identity. To refute this, one may argue that even though supporters of young marriages may argue that those years are wasted, at least the young person has time to have his/her brain mature before settling down since as aforementioned, women’s brains mature at around the age 25, while for men this may occur between the ages of 25 and 30. This may therefore allow them to get into marriage when they are more mature. Furthermore, as stated earlier, this “wasted period of time” may allow young people to pursue their education and career goals, which may be less likely while married.
An additional counterargument by supporters of early marriages is that waiting to get married when older may make both men and women to get used to singlehood, making it harder for them to adapt to marriage (Dalrock). To counter this, one may argue that there is no solid evidence to support such a claim. One may also refute this by showing that statistics disapprove this. According to earlier statistics in this discussion, younger married couples with less experience of singlehood are more likely to get divorced compared to older ones where both partners spent more time in singlehood.
In conclusion, couples that got married when young (below 25) have a higher probability of getting divorced compared to older partners. One of the reasons for this is that the partners are not mature enough to choose the right partners and even understand their flaws. Another reason is that partners in such marriages may have unrealistic expectations of each other since such marriages may be based on impulsiveness rather than on deep reflection. Additionally, young partners have higher chances of getting remarried, making the temptation for divorce higher. Lastly, young partners may not have prepared well both career wise and financially, leading to financial constraint as well as the challenges of pursuing careers while married. This discussion is significant to many young people who are likely to get married in the near future. The final decision lies with them; to get married when young and risk higher odds of divorce, or to wait until a later age and have higher chances of their marriages surviving.
Aughinbaugh, Alison, Omar Robles, and Hugette Sun. 'Marriage And Divorce: Patterns By Gender, Race, And Educational Attainment'. http://www.bls.gov/. N.p., 2015. Web. 19 Apr. 2015. This academic article studies the marriage and divorce patterns of baby boomers born between 1957 and 1969. To achieve this, it uses data collected by the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth in 1979 (NLSY79) and that collected between 2010 and 2011 by the US bureau of Labor Statistics when the same population was between 45 and 52 year of age. This article provides data regarding marriage and divorce based on age, race, gender, and education in the US. This article was vital in my discussion since it provided me with valuable statistical data to support my claim.
Dalrock,. 'Are Young Marriages Doomed To Divorce?'. Dalrock. N.p., 2012. Web. 19 Apr. 2015. This article encourages young women to take the risk and get married while still young when they find young men who they love and trust. The author acknowledges that the risk of marriages failing is higher for younger married couples but still dares young people to get married while young since the risk of divorce will still be there even if they get married when they are older. This article is well written and informative since it uses many chart illustrations to show the relationship between age and divorce across different groups in the US. This article was useful for my discussion since it provided me with the counterarguments that opponents to my claim may have.
InnovateUs. 'Why Shouldn't We Marry Young?'. Innovateus.net. N.p., 2015. Web. 19 Apr. 2015. The main argument of this article is that young people should not rush to get married when they are too young. This article also provides several detailed reasons to explain why people should not get married when they are too young. This article is particularly of great use since it provided me with ideas of why marriages of younger people are more likely to fail, enabling me to support my claim.
Stevenson, Betsey, and Justin Wolfers. 'Marriage And Divorce: Changes And Their Driving Forces'.http://www.frbsf.org. N.p., 2007. Web. 19 Apr. 2015. This academic article provides facts concerning marriage and divorce over the past 150 years. It supports that marriages of couples that are younger are more likely to end in divorce hence it concurs with my claim. This article was useful since it explains the consequences women have to face when they get married at a very young age, providing me with information to support my claim that marriages of younger people are more likely to end in divorce.
Thornton, Arland, William G Axinn, and Yu Xie. Marriage And Cohabitation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. Print. The main focus of this book is examining how young people’s choices in marriage and cohabitation are affected by experiences, attitudes, extended families, and personal circumstances. This book was useful in helping me understand the challenges faced by people who get married when they are too young and the decisions they may be forced to make. The challenges they face provided in this book were essential in backing my claim.