Q: WHAT IS THE RIGHT AGE TO GET MARRIED?
A: Twenty-three . . . because you know the person FOREVER by then. ~ Camille, age 10
I married for the first time a month after my 40th birthday.
Only rarely do I think I would have liked to have married sooner.
Like when a group of us celebrated another couple’s 55th anniversary. The wife was only 20 years older than I and must have been around 18 when they wed. I thought we can stay married that long, too, Lord, just leave us here until I turn 96 (and he turns 107).
I guess I was in a competitive mood. And to have known my husband and grown in relationship with him from early adulthood would have been an adventure.
Nevertheless, I know there are real benefits to marrying for the first time, at a later, less conventional age ~ and here are the major ones I’ve experienced:
6 BENEFITS OF MARRIAGE AFTER 40
1. Maturity. Maybe the most obvious benefit is the maturity gained in the years leading to marriage. Both of you enter the relationship “fully cooked.” Yes, you’ve each lived on your own and have formed one or two (or more!) irritating habits. But awareness of your own limitations helps you keep both sanity and temper in check when your sweetheart, once again, does “that thing” that makes absolutely no sense. Each of us knew how different we were before we wed and were willing to adapt. And we’ve succeeded. For the most part.
2. Freedom from the What-Ifs. Neither spouse has to live nagged by “I should have done X when I had the chance” or “Now that I’m settled down, I can’t do X” types of thoughts. You’ve had ample time to explore and pursue interests, with no one to account to. I took full advantage of my season as a single to roam the streets of Madrid after dark, snorkel in Bermuda, and frequent as many cafés and galleries a few days in Florence or wherever would allow. Now my main interest is a person, to whom I can fully commit, no looking back.
3. Greater Satisfaction. You’ve lived long enough to have met a lot of people, some with good character, some not so good. A few were sweet, but none of them was the one. Until this one, your very own “NEO.” You’ve stuck your hand as far into the popcorn box as far as it will go and have finally come away with the prize. You know it deep down. It’s a good feeling.
4. Both Leaving and Cleaving are Easier. By the time you’re 40 – I HOPE – you’ve lived on your own for many years, financially independent of your parents. You’ve established healthy boundaries and your folks respect you enough not to meddle. You’re not easily influenced by them or other family members and are confident in making your own decisions. And when you have a problem, nobody runs home to the Mamas or the Papas. You work it out. (It happens that the temptation for parental interference has never been a factor in our marriage since both sets of our parents had passed away by the time we got married). Still, each of us had lived on our own since our early 20‘s. So I’ve never had to hear L. go on about how his mother used to prepare the stuffing, or anything else, for Christmas. He doesn’t even remember.
5. Greater Appreciation. You get real glad when something you’ve waited for a long time finally arrives. You recognize how special the other is and are less likely to take him for granted. And if you combine the experience of waiting with prayer, you change for the better in the process. L. says that he waited 18 years for me to come along after he first prayed for a wife. I say those years tenderized him. Few men are more patient than he. (He’s reading this part over my shoulder now, saying “Amen.”)
6. Freedom of Movement. You don’t have the work and challenge of young kids, limiting what you can do and where you can do it. “Settled down” never has to mean “strapped in.” (Review Benefit 2.)
Want more about marriage? Check out this post.
What other benefits of marrying “late” can YOU think of?
Featured image, Любовь и верность. Обручальные кольца, by konoplizkaya; Surprise by wtl photography.
Awesome post. I loved when you said:”You recognize how special the other is and are less likely to take him for granted. And if you combine the experience of waiting with prayer, you change for the better in the process “, I believe that it is key because prayer is such a powerful thing in any situation. Also the whole concept of greater satisfaction is something that one can apply to other relationships, because, truly truly when you have dealt with phonies, and just people who are dead wrong, you do value the relationship a gazillion times more. I thought it was cool how you used the whole concept of sticking your hand as far into the popcorn box, because it truly is that way . To answer your question of what other benefits of marrying later than usual, I really can’t think of any more, because you said all the ones that I would have thought of,lol, this is so awesome, I’m getting ready to read the other posts. I think I just picked up an addiction.lol
Thanks, Grace ~ I’m looking forward to seeing you two celebrate YOUR first anniversary next year!
Great post, Melodie. Christine and I married at 23 and 22 and boy have we learned a lot about each other along the way. It’s a miracle we’re still together actually, since we’ve both changed so much.
Some days I wish we had been older before we married. Maybe it would have been easier. 🙂
Sounds like you’re having that “growing in” kind of marriage adventure described as desirable at the beginning of my post, Justin. Funny how the grass, no matter what, still seems greener sometimes . . !
Mel, I agree with your assessments for the most part. I married early on when I was unfortunately too young & stupid to realize the serious commitment that marriage was/is. Now that I’m older & more mature I appreciate it & life so much more.
Yes, greater maturity is a boon whether for the first or second-time around.
aloha mel… you’re a wonderful writer and i enjoyed reading your blog! as one who married late in life as well, i honestly don’t know which age would have been best. a marriage relationship goes through a storming phase to work out the kinks. it took us 8 years, cancer, and the grace of God to breathe life back into our relationship. we are now in our 11th year and God has anchored our marriage and we have found it easier to relate and enjoy each other… God bless you! wendy in hawaii
Aloha nui loa, Wendy ~
And thank you! I so appreciate you sharing how God brought you through all kinds of chaos to a stronger, “can’t-touch-this” kind of relationship. Great to hear you’re now enjoying the benefit of “greater appreciation” of your hubbie to the max!
May God continue to prosper you both in every way (3 John 1:2)!
Such an interesting perspective! I’m one of those that married at 18. Literally, 18. (My husband was 22.) I don’t think it was the easiest way to do it, but God taught us so much, and we have no regrets. I think that marriage is best whenever God opens the door to the right relationship.
Sounds like you’re having that “growing-up-together-in-love” marriage experience I wrote about at the beginning of my post. Wonderful – and yes, God is the best Matchmaker.