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Over 30: Expect a Divorce?

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One doctor says he can predict the outcome of a marriage based on the age of the couple.

A recent article written by martial therapist Dr. Andrew G. Marshall has gotten wives talking. In the story published in Saturday's Times of London, Dr. Marshall attests that women who marry in their 20s have a higher marital success rate than those who get hitched in their 30s. Why? For starters, he claims older women carry more baggage from previous relationships and in turn, blame their husbands for unresolved issues. Second, the more relationship experience a woman has, the higher her expectations, which can put pressure on having a "perfect" marriage. And finally, he says older women often want to get pregnant quickly, and the demands of parenthood too early can strain a new marriage. On the flipside, those who marry in their 20s start off with lower expectations, and "grow up together," making each other more tolerant of each other's faults.

Some ML staffers wed in their 20s and while others waited until their 30s. Here's our response to Dr. Marshall:
annie.jpg "I married when I was 26 and my husband was 33, but I didn't feel pressure to have kids right away. However, I think the longer you wait to get married, the higher your expectations may be. You might think, 'I've waited this long, I'm not going to settle now!' That said, I married the right guy when he came along. Overall, it matters less when you meet, as long as you're with the right person.'" -- Julie, mom of 2
jill.jpg "I got married when I was 26 and in the past eight years we have grown together and figured out life as a team. We still don't have children, but we've traveled all over the world, moved to different states, and had the ability to take more exciting chances together. We're supportive of each other and communicate much better than I imagine we would have if we wed in our 30s." -- Jennifer
julie.jpg "If I'd married any of the guys I was 'madly in love with' in my 20s, I'd be divorced by now! I wed in my late 30s after being with my boyfriend for ten years. If I had married him a decade prior, I'd be divorced now -- we were both too young and immature for the responsibilities of marriage. However, everyone is different and what works for some might not work for others." -- Melissa, mom of 1
jackie.jpg "I married my husband in my 20s and we are approaching 20 years of marriage -- I think that would be defined as success. And yet I've certainly wondered what it would have been like had I acquired more relationship experience before marrying my husband...." -- Jill, mom of 2
melissa.jpg "I got married when I was 32. On the one hand, I got to sow my wild oats before settling down, but I also think it had a negative effect: Exposing myself to different types of men made me aware of how great guys can be in many different ways. As a result, I'm a little hard on my husband because I expect him to have every wonderful trait I've ever come across in a man!" Annie, mom of 1
What do you think -- should people get married in their 20s or 30s?

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13 comments so far | Post a comment now
foxymama August 6, 2008, 6:24 PM

Get married when you love someone - there’s no right age, no perfect time and not always a happy ending. Hope for the best. Love your mate and enjoy building a life with them - at 20, 30 or 40.

Jane August 6, 2008, 10:16 PM

I don’t think people “should” get married at any particular age. Each person gets to decide what’s best for their life. There is also a huge difference between being 20 vs. 27. Personally, I believe early 20s you are still trying to figure yourself out and you really just aren’t as knowledgable about the world. I’m 22 and I definitely don’t feel ready for marriage. In my experience, couples in their 20s really aren’t ready, they just are eager to settle down. Not all, but most. They think love is a Cinderella fairytale and you live happily ever after. You need a chance to discover who you are before you become someone’s spouse and/or parent. Considering the fact that we are living well past the age of 80, what’s the rush? Do you really know at 20 if you wanna be with this person for the next 60-80 years? We always think we need to be married and have the perfect career before the age of 30, but I realize now how silly that is. Also, there is a 50% divorce rate, do people really need to rush into marriage or perhaps think things through?

J.S. August 6, 2008, 10:29 PM

By the way, studies repeatedly show that couples under 25 have a higher chance of divorce. So while this “martial therapist” is clearly bitter about women, you’re MORE likely to stay married past age 30. It’s funny how a man is trying to tell women how they will be past the age of 30. Apparently you are gonna be an impossible to please miserable woman once you celebrate your 30th birthday. Funny how he never mentions anything about men over 30. He also fails to acknowledge the growing trend of older women dating younger men. Maybe women over 30 just are satisfied with OLDER men, such as this complete moron. Also, to comment on Jill from the above article, being married for 20 years is most definitely not defined as success. I know a couple who just divorced after being married for over 30 years. They were also miserable for every one of those years. I can’t tell you how many couples I personally know who have been married for over 20 years that are completely unhappy in ther marriages. There’s no love, no sex, no joy, just total marital non-bliss. Religious and cultural reasons, financial security, and shame are just some of the reasons couples stay together despite unhappiness. I’m not saying this applies to you, but it is very wrong to say that a long marriage automatically equals a successful marriage.

Tess August 6, 2008, 11:58 PM

What if you don’t find anyone you wanna marry in your 20s? Should you just settle for the next guy who asks you on a date? Or give up what you turn 30 since there’s no hope for you. I guess his wife blames him for unresolved issues, but please do not assume all women over 30 are annoying and impossible to please. And what about men over 30? I guess they’re perfect so he doesn’t bother mentioning them.

Cindy August 7, 2008, 6:41 AM

I think this article was written without much thought behind it. I got married at 26 and I’m divorced, and I have many friends who are in the same boat. Immaturity (on the guy’s part, mostly - sorry!!) is a big factor - they are still playing the part of bachelor, having one foot in the marriage and one foot in their past. I am now 40 and I LOVE being single. Maybe that’s the reason many marriages that start later fail as well - we all really do like our independence and have a difficult time bringing someone into our lives, but the societal pressure is on so we do it anyway. I once told a therapist that I felt so much pressure to get married in my 20s - my friends were all doing it, I’d “invested” 4 years already into the relationship, and of course, the proverbial biological clock was ticking. She said the best words I’d ever heard, and they took away my guilt: “Cindy, we all get married for the same reasons…. but some of us just get lucky with the one we marry.” It makes sense to me! We can marry someone who doesn’t seem like our perfect match, and we are with them forever; or, we can marry the most perfect man, and it all falls apart. I would love to be married again, but if it doesn’t happen, I’m so fortunate to have a wonderful life - with or without a husband.

Kate August 7, 2008, 10:49 AM

I think that studies like this are ridiculous and pointless. The results are so generic. Marriage is something SO personal and SO different for everyone. I think it’s foolish to generalize results of a study for an entire group of people. I got married 3 years ago when I was 22. I have a one-year-old now, and I’m the happiest I have ever been. It’s not always easy, but my husband and I believe that our marriage is a life-long commitment. We are very mature “for our age”, so there’s absolutely nothing wrong with us settling down - even though many of our old high school friends are still out being wild and partying. Marriage at 22 is not right for everyone, but for us it was.

There are so many factors that go into a lasting marriage that it’s impossible to make predictions like this study suggests. I think it’s a silly thing to get worked up over. Marry when you feel ready and when you meet the right person - whether you’re 20 or 60! I think that the important thing is being content with your life whether you have a man or not.

Jami August 7, 2008, 11:30 AM

I agree that this is a rediculous study. You can not tell others when it is right to get married by age. I got married when I was 25 and my husband was 27. I don’t believe that it is luck that marriages are successful. Marriage is a lot of work, and if both don’t work at the marriage it becomes unhappy. If you love each other you need to both give and compromise. When you work at making your life together a happy time then you will have a successful marriage. My husband and I have only been married for 6 years, but they have been great. We have 3 wonderful children, and have lived thru many surgeries that my husband has had to undergo. We have had our share of hard times, but we always knew that we were in it together no matter what. We laugh, cry, and pray together. I agree with Kate you need to be content with your life.

ziggi  August 7, 2008, 2:01 PM

I agree with what was said
how in the world can you generalize??
people mature at different ages
traditionally people married early and did not divorce because social protocol was different those days..
i married in my 30’s yes, because of pressure and i divorced
so perhaps there is something in the fact that those who marry young may and i stress may do so because they marry because they WANT to and not due to pressure of society or the biological clock
i think these researches are absurd and dangerous
i also think the number of years you are married means nothing
i was married 10 years and am still married but separate , those have been years of constant abuse emotional and physical ,and there are many others that stay married because it is easier than living on your own for many reasons
mainly social reasons and status
i dont love being a single parent but i love not being abused any more except by the court of law which for some reason bothers me but not the violent father of my children
men are given an easy way out,
what about men who marry young or old?
i would guess it depends
if you marry because you are desparate you will divorce at any age you should marry your best friend

Reina August 7, 2008, 4:19 PM

i was married when i was 16 and he 20 and we have been married for 7 years. we have 4 kids and are wanting more. so i agree with some of you it doesnt matter how old you are. if theres love there will most likely always will be. i think marriage only fails when you quit at it or in other cases like abuse.

Danny August 8, 2008, 2:19 PM

In response to ‘Ziggi’ I did marry my best friend. We were in our late 30’s. It was her second marriage and my first. I actually predicted the problems we could have and we resolved that we would face them together. However, when the time came to put our nose to the grindstone, she bailed. I don’t think all men are given the easy way out. My ex drained our bank account, took my car after she lost hers, and stole all of my possesions while I was visiting my family. She also obtained a divorce without my knowledge by mailing the documents to my house outside of the country when I was not there and claimed abandonment with the courts blessing. I’m not saying I had no faults, but clearly this was not what I expected from ‘mature adults’ who were both highly educated and had ‘good’ families as examples.

Carla Timol August 9, 2008, 10:36 AM

When love comes and hit you in the face, age is out of the picture. So get married for love not for lust or money.

Lori August 12, 2008, 6:59 PM

I think the age that you are when you get married doesn’t matter. A couple should get married when they both feel that they are mature enough to handle the responsibility, and that age varies for different people. There is a lot of compromise that has to take place in a marriage, you not only have to love each other, but you have to respect each other’s feelings too, some people learn this early, while it takes others a longer time, and then some never learn.

Ten Tees January 9, 2011, 11:04 AM

Interesting site! Enjoyable reading. There’s a point to make about shirts.

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