There are a lot of factors that play into whether you and the person you are dating will make it down the aisle. A relationship’s survival can be determined by several factors: communication skills, teamwork, and even just sticking by each other during the low moments. One other consideration to take before tying the knot? Age.
“We are a society that had been conditioned to marry right after college, or, in some areas, right after high school,” says Audrey Hope, a celebrity relationship expert. “The culture has a map for us, and if we don’t follow the silent order, we feel that we are doing something wrong and will be left behind and ultimately alone in love.”
Some relationship experts will tell you that age as a number is less important than age as experience. However, according to April Davis, the founder of LUMA Luxury Matchmaking, “There isn't necessarily a best age to get married, but there definitely is a best time to get married. The best time to get married is when you feel comfortable and confident in your job and personal life. If you were to give yourself an exact age, you might find that you settle for whomever you're with at that age.”
For some, the best time to think about settling down is in your late 20s, when different parts of your life are likely to start making more sense and you feel more stable.
According to Wyatt Fisher, a licensed psychologist and the founder of ChristianCrush.com, getting married in your late 20s has its perks, since by that age you have had time to complete your education and get your career off the ground. Plus, Fisher says, by then you might be bored with the bar scene and the single lifestyle and feel eager to meet "the One."
From a neurological standpoint, Kelsey Torgerson, a licensed clinical social worker, says that waiting until your brain has fully developed (at age 25) is important. “I believe it’s best to wait until this marker,” she says. “It’s also important to experience stressors with your partner that you overcome, so if you have a high school sweetheart, you should see how you two handle college, long distance, studying abroad, or getting two jobs. You want to know that you have the conflict management strategies in place for a healthy, successful marriage down the road.”
But if you are looking for an exact number to hit before walking down the aisle, Weena Cullins, a licensed marriage, relationship, and family therapist who specializes in premarital and relationship counseling, has an answer: “In my clinical experience, I’ve found that the best age to get married for women in the U.S. is 28,” she says. How she got that number? “At age 28, my soon-to-be-brides exhibit self-awareness and confidence in their choice of a mate. Most 28-year-olds have had the time to successfully explore who they are on a personal and professional level, discover the qualities they desire most in a life partner, and learn from mistakes they made in previous relationships. You’ve had time to get settled in a career, experience college, and graduate school if that’s your preferred path, or simply live independently before combining your life.”
Cullins also says that 28-year-old women who are interested in starting a family also have a healthy level of readiness for becoming pregnant without feeling too much anxiety about their biological clock.
But when it comes to the best age for men to recite their vows, Cullins says it’s 32.
“Waiting until age 32 affords men an opportunity to get settled into a career and potentially pursue professional advancement before tying the knot,” says Cullins. “It also gives them an opportunity to develop socially and emotionally through living on their own and dating. By 32, many men have spent enough time on the social scene to be able to make an informed decision about entering into married life. They also tend to have a sober perspective about having children and their role in coparenting. This benefits the overall health of the relationship.”
Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of "All My Friends Are Engaged" and frequently wears old bridesmaids’ dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.