Right age to marry? Lots to consider, but after teens, age is not most important factor, experts say

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    April 17, 2013 2:08 p.m.

    Accidental click but, I'm going to go ahead and comment - only in Utah do people care about this stuff. There are far more important things going on and you guys are busy splitting hairs over when people marry, when women should pray in conference, how much caffiene is too much and all kinds of other silly stuff...

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Salt Lake City, UT
    April 16, 2013 7:10 p.m.

    I'd be interested to see if these numbers correlate to any information on financial aid from parents. Are teen marriages more likely to be happy with their parents are financial stable and offer to help with college costs, kids etc? I think that has a lot more to do with it than age. Help from extended family is something a lot of people don't have and in my experience some people are miserable without it.

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    April 12, 2013 8:04 a.m.

    Different strokes for different folks; some people can marry at nineteen and live happily and others marry in their thirties and struggle. These articles that the DN insist upon running come across as the Church wanting to generate more future missionaries and tithe payers. As Joe Blow says, there's no right way to go through life.

  • SlopJ30 St Louis, MO
    April 11, 2013 7:32 a.m.

    I'm sure the idea that more babies would equal future economic prosperity can be defended, but that's really not helpful to individuals or couples looking to plan a future together. For example, if my parents had said to teenage me "We expect you to have eight kids because it'll be good for America," I would have rolled my eyes and moved along. Likewise, I wouldn't dream of trying to pressure my kids into producing a ton of offspring for some future hypothetical benefit to society. How many do they want? What are their goals? How would X number of kids work with the goals they have? These are the only relevant questions.

    And for the record, I don't personally see a reluctance to have kids in my local area, or among my HS friends. Looking around my ward, young couples are having kids pretty much right away. I realize this is a very small sample size, but maybe this is why I kind of greet these concerns with a shrug.

  • Vladhagen Salt Lake City, UT
    April 10, 2013 1:05 p.m.

    @DiligentDave. I highly doubt that the LDS Church lowered the missionary age to account for fewer 19 year olds being in existence. I think this is much more a logistical matter that allowed for more opportunities for young men and women to serve. Obviously, if there are fewer people living in the world, we would need fewer missionaries to maintain the proportional status quo. Lowering the missionary age is an act of CHANGING the status quo to propagate the gospel further.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    April 10, 2013 12:40 p.m.

    I said in a comment before that sub-replacement birth rates are (or well may be) at sub-replacement levels now. Let me elaborate.

    The year that showed the highest number of "children or record" in the LDS was in 1992, the age our oldest daughter was born. Church membership exceeded 5 million for the first time then. And there were 124,000 children of record.

    Fast forward to 2012. Children of Record totaled 122,273. But 5 years ago LDS Church Membership Dept changed their formula. Since then, they no longer subtract 9 year olds who are not baptized. Best guesstimate is that if the old formula was still used, # of Children of Record would now be 92,766. With total membership almost at 15 million, this would indicate that current LDS birth rates worldwide are about 26.1% of what they were then!

    Hence, the Mormon TFR might well be below sub-replacement! In fact, the recent change in mission service ages might have been done in light of too few young men born 19 years ago who then could serve NOW. More sister missionaries will help. But we need more babies born, even among Mormons!

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    April 10, 2013 12:32 p.m.

    I think the reason for the higher risk in the late teens/early twenties has much to do with basic human development. The brain is actually still developing until about age 25, according to most studies. I and most people I know were very different people at 18 than we were at 25. Marrying before that age increases the likelihood each partner will develop into very different people, with radically different political and religious beliefs, among other things.

    I'm not sure anything you said invalidates studies like this. Of course it matters who you marry, and the article points this out multiple times. However, as I said, who I was at 18 and who I was at 25 were very different. Had my wife and I met earlier, we might have been incompatible.

  • PGVikingDad Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 10, 2013 12:03 p.m.

    I met my wife when I was 16, and I knew almost immediately that I wanted to marry her someday. We wound up dating and waiting for five years as college and a mission was accomplished, but I am 100% convinced that our marriage would still have been an unqualified success had we married even at that younger age. That said, I would never advocate for a typical wedding age of 16, or even 21. Whatever the age, just make sure that both the brain and the heart are fully engaged when choosing a mate. It's the single most important decision you'll ever make.

  • theshadowknows Salt Lake, UT
    April 10, 2013 11:45 a.m.

    well.... you can say it takes the right person and the age doesn't matter...but there is a serious fallacy (and red herring) here, for sure. AT AGE 20...that might not be the right person. When they are older...more experienced and mature...then the likelihood of being the "right" person increases. I'm a lot better person than I was when I was young....and more capable of making a relationship work.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    April 10, 2013 10:55 a.m.

    You should marry someone WHEN you fall in love and have found the right person.

    Age is irrelevant.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    April 10, 2013 10:49 a.m.

    "The right time to marry is not a simple math equation with a clear answer." Certainly not for the individual, per se. But for society at large, statistics can help us better understand things.

    The personal and family aspects of marriage should not be viewed solely at the micro level. Let me explain.

    A problem we have both in the US, in the world, and even among supposedly fecund Mormons, is this. We are having too few children. Yes, even Mormons, are having too few babies.

    The US birthrate since the early 1970's, has been at a subreplacement level. Primarily the anchor babies, and a little more, from mostly illegal Latinos, largely from Mexico and Central America, has kept the US the closest of all advanced nations to exact replacement. But still, we've remained at subreplacement for about 40 years!

    Low and declining birthrates also caused the Great Depression. From 1910 to 1930, birthrates declined steeply. The US really didn't fully get out of the Great Depression until the post WWII 'baby boom'! And then, birthrates climbed as high as 377 babies born for every 200 adults. This is how to get out of economic depression!

  • KanataHal Ottawa, 00
    April 10, 2013 10:16 a.m.

    I agree with Sir Robin, that there are two questions here. "When should I marry", might be something that can be aided by statistics. "Whom should I marry", is something that an expert would never pretend to know. And since the two questions are intertwined in real life, the value of knowing when is not that helpful. I woud say though, that delaying marriage has a big downside for the offspring: less healthy genes and a bigger generation gap. It's maybe not a concern for just one generation, but if there are three or four generations in a row that marry late, it becomes a real problem.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    April 10, 2013 9:50 a.m.

    "Among those more likely to thrive married than single are young adults, mothers and fathers and men in general..." THRIVE is the key word. Those who get married and do things right do better, generally, from what I've observed, than do those who don't get married until they are older. The emotional nubility of young adults is better than those who are older. Also, parents, that is, those who have children, thrive better and more. This phrase from Genesis is, as I told my wife the other day, IMO, directed more specifically toward the male, and not just to people in general—

    "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." —
    Genesis 2:18 Studies show that women fare better emotionally (though not always well) after a divorce than men do. Both fare badly. But men even worse than women. Looking at me and my wife, I know I need her more than she needs me, emotionally. Hence, it is not a surprise to me that men, in general, as the report says, do better married. It is better for them emotionally and generally otherwise too.

  • Utah Native Farmington, UT
    April 10, 2013 9:46 a.m.

    Sometimes it all depends on the couple. My parents were both college grads when they married in their mid-twenties. They divorced after 20 years and eight children. My in-laws were married as teens still in high school. They're still together after 48 years. My spouse and I were in our early twenties when we wed, and after lots of hard work, sacrifice, and maturing, we've been married over 2 decades and our marriage has never been better. It's less about "finding the right marriage partner" and more about "making yourself the right marriage partner."

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    April 10, 2013 9:22 a.m.

    Maturity may or may not be a factor of age. I've known older people who are immature, and younger ones who are mature. I agree with 'Brave Sir Robin' that marrying the RIGHT person is most important. I was 26 when I married. But my wife was just 19.

    But I would have married at 21, if I had found then the right person.

    But how do we define "right"? Attractive to you, physically? It helps. Similar goals. Personalities that complement each other. And commitment to working things out, and staying married are also very important.

    One of my brother-in-laws gave me great advice. Get engaged as many times as you like. But marry only once! I was engaged twice, married once.

    As a society and as parents, we generally do a poor job of preparing young people both about and for marriage. We also do too much to prolong adolescence. I like to have fun more than most, on one hand. But I also think our society promotes silliness and "lightmindedness" way too much. We can enjoy ourselves. But we also need to learn to better prepare ourselves mentally, emotionally, and socially.

  • Kay K USA, UT
    April 10, 2013 9:11 a.m.

    Maturity does come with age, so I can see how young marriaged couples have a bigger chance of their marriages not working out. But I would like to add that, no matter what age, understanding that marriage is a huge commitment and isn't to be taken lightly is a critical part of a succesful marriage. I have a few friends who got married VERY young and have had many long, happy years. In my opintion, it all depends on the couple and their commitment, maturity, and standards.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    April 10, 2013 9:06 a.m.

    Science like this is a red herring. When you marry doesn't matter at all - WHO you marry is what matters.

    To put it another way, if you are married to the perfect person, would it matter if you had gotten married at 19 or 29 or 39? No. Likewise, if you chose the wrong person, would waiting a few years have made that person suddenly the right one? No. The reason teenage marriage divorce rates are so high isn't because of age, it's because of poor judgment and low self-esteem.

    My advice to anyone is to set high standards in what you want in a spouse, keep your eyes open, and when you truthfully and honestly can say you've found that person, marry him/her. Whether you're 21 or 31 when you find that person doesn't matter.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 10, 2013 8:33 a.m.

    Late enough that you can support the few kids you may or may not want to have, rather than struggle with a litter someone else wanted you to have.

  • DaveKnowsWhatsUp Bloomington, IN
    April 10, 2013 8:13 a.m.

    I don't think the age matters as much as other factors, such as depth of friendship, and time spent dating. Our Mormon culture of speed dating into eternal marriage doesn't exactly help in this endeavor (my opinion). Of course, age could be directly related to an individual's ability to make some of these decisions, but rushing into marriage after only a few months of knowing the person isn't exactly a recipe for success.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 10, 2013 7:01 a.m.

    Too bad the data is broken down by teens, 20's and 30's.

    Obviously a 21 year old is much different than a 28 year old.

    Hard to argue that there is a "right" age to marry or that we should all follow someones ideal scenario.

    People are different. What works for some would be a disaster for others. Pressuring others to marry at any age is selfish. Pressuring others to have kids or have more kids is also selfish.

    There is no "right" way to go through this life.

  • PA Rock Man Allentown, PA
    April 10, 2013 6:05 a.m.

    The summary to this article is slightly misleading, age matters not just for married teens years are past, but ALSO for those in their early 20's. There is still significantly higher divorce from those who marry between 20-23. There are probably a number of reasons for this and not enough room to discuss them here, but it suggests that mid 20's is the right time for most people to begin to marry.