Regardless of religious beliefs, background, or ethnicity, everyone starts out their marriage full of hopes, dreams, and with the best of intentions. So, how then have we as a country arrived at our currently alarming divorce rate? The causes for divorce are far too many and varied to address in their entirety within this paper. This paper will focus on the contribution of marrying too young to the ever escalating divorce rate.
The divorce rate commonly quoted and accepted by the media of 50% is indeed alarming if not investigated and studied in depth. The perception that couples only stand a 50/50 chance of their marriage succeeding should they decide marry is nothing less than depressing, and understandably casts a long shadow of doubt and worry in the minds of young couples in love as they contemplate their futures. However, when considering the divorce rate, it is important to differentiate divorce rates between various age groups in order to get a clear understanding of the overall statistic.
While divorces are far too common, in all actuality, the divorce rate has dropped to its lowest rate since 1970 as people are waiting longer to get married, live together without marrying, or enter into prenuptial agreements. Divorce rates peaked at 5.3 per 1,000 within the population in 1981 (LOPATTO). However, further investigation shows that 40% of all divorces occurred among couples under 30 years of age. That is a staggering 38% increase since 1970 (YARROW). The issue lies not with the institution of marriage, but with the age and maturity level of those entering into it.
Statistics clearly demonstrate that marriages entered into between teens and couples in their early twenties have a much higher likelihood of ending in divorce than those entered into in the late twenties and early thirties. Marriage is definitely not something to be entered into lightly, particularly when one contemplates the high cost of failure; divorce.
The benefits of waiting for marriage until the late twenties or early thirties are many. The most obvious benefit of waiting is maturity. Emotional and intellectual maturity, a fundamental necessity for a successful marriage, comes with age and life experiences. A marriage entered into when one or both spouses are immature will undoubtedly suffer as the immature puts their needs ahead of their spouses, make poor decisions, and lack the ability to draw on previous life experiences to make decisions focused on their shared interests rather than their own personal interests.
Young couples in their teens or early twenties in general are just beginning their life’s journey and have not yet had the time to establish much in the way of resources. They’ve been taken care of financially for the past eighteen years by their parents and are just now beginning the process of acquiring an education or establishing their careers. Establishing a career or pursing higher education takes considerable time and effort;...