Is There a 'Right' Age to Get Married?
Veronica Neffinger wrote her first poem at age seven and went on to study English in college, focusing on 18th century literature. When she is not listening to baseball games, enjoying the outdoors, or reading, she can be found mostly in Richmond, VA writing primarily about nature, nostalgia, faith, family, and Jane Austen.
- 2017 Sep 29
Is there a “right” age at which to get married? Although there is no magic number, if you pose this question to anyone, you will likely get a strong opinion. Perhaps in large part due to their personal experiences, people tend to be very adamant in their opinions regarding the right age to marry.
Perhaps you’ve experienced this personally. I know I have. I got married at the age of 23 and my husband was 24. At the time, I didn’t think this was that young to get married, but if I could receive a dime for every time someone said, “You got married so young!” or asked “Why did you get married so young?” I would probably be very wealthy right now.
And if I’m honest, I have asked people these kinds of questions myself--or at least thought them. Since I got married at 23, I’ve wondered at peoples’ decisions to marry at, say, 19, or, on the other end of the spectrum, to wait to get married till, say, 30. You can find a myriad of articles online arguing for getting married young and also waiting till you are older. Both sides make some good points.
The point is, though, that nearly everyone has an opinion on this subject and it’s easy to think your own way of planning your marriage is the right one. As Debra K. Fileta writes in her article “The Best Age to Get Married,” published at RelevantMagazine.com, however, we should recognize that the best age to get married will be different for each couple.
“So, I’ve put some thought into this, and I want to add to this conversation by saying that the perfect age to get married has nothing to do with the years you’ve lived, and everything to do with how you’ve lived them,” writes Fileta. “Call me crazy, but I don’t think you can quantify a person’s preparedness for marriage simply based on how many years they’ve been alive.”
Instead of looking at readiness for marriage from the perspective of age, we should instead focus on God’s timing and how that intertwines with the experiences and life outlook of the people involved.
Sometimes someone who is in their 30’s or 40’s may be mature, have a steady career and seem to be settled and perfectly ready for the commitment of marriage, and yet God’s timing may dictate a different path. Conversely, someone who is still in college may meet and marry his/her spouse before any of life’s other big questions may be answered--and this can be God’s timing too.
One good example of someone who seemed ready for marriage for years, yet did not marry till the age of 57 is the popular Christian radio host and speaker Nancy Leigh DeMoss. DeMoss is a mature Christian woman, yet God didn’t bring a husband into her life till she was older. Another example of someone who was married in a timeline that didn’t seem to conform to many peoples’ opinions about marriage is Duck Dynasty star John Luke Robertson. Robertson got married to wife Mary Kate McEacharn at the age of 19, before either John Luke or Mary Kate graduated from college. Instead, they embarked on the journey of school together.
Fileta makes a very simple point, yet one that we often fail to take to heart: “If you’re truly seeking God and living out His story for your life, I would venture to say that the perfect age to get married is exactly the age that you are when you get married.”
Fileta continues with these words of wisdom: “As Christians, I think we need to be really careful with the formulas and anecdotes that we offer people in the pursuit of the marriage because the truth is, God has never been one to conform to our cookie-cutter answers. He tends to crush the norms and shatter all our expectations, and I’m so glad He does–because our worlds can be so small when left to ourselves. At the end of the day, God’s Word calls us to one thing: to love others, ourselves and Him above all else.”
How about you? At what age did you get married and/or what do you think is a good measure of someone’s readiness for marriage?
Photo courtesy: Unsplash.com/Nathan Walker
Publication date: September 29, 2017
Veronica Neffinger is the editor of ChristianHeadlines.com