The Best Age to Get Married

In Advice and Encouragement, Dating, Marriage by Debra Fileta13 Comments

I once heard about a wedding that was performed for a man and woman in their 90’s.  With a combined age of 193, they had been dating — uh sorry, “courting”– for 18 years before deciding to tie the knot.  That’s a seriously long time to plan a wedding!

On the other hand of the spectrum, a couple years ago when Duck Dynasty’s John Luke announced his engagement just around his 19th birthday, it caused a ripple effect of opinions all across the internet. 

When it comes to getting married and taking that life-long step of commitment before God, what’s the right age?

Everyone seems to have an opinion about the best age to get married.  We can all admit that there are obvious extremes like the situations above. But on a less extreme note there are a lot of articles going around with thoughts and ideas on what age you should or shouldn’t be before you decide to say “I do”.  While some are adamant that getting married young is the way to go, others make the case for getting married when you’re older and wiser.

From taming sexual desires, to establishing financial stability, to simply just needing to “grow up”, the reasons presented for when a person should get married are causing a lot of discussion and even some controversy in this hot button topic.

I’ve  been asked by numerous publications to address my personal opinion on topic of the “best age to get married”.  But so far-I have kinda kept my thoughts to myself.  I think part of the problem with this entire discussion is that most of us speak based on our own experiences, assuming that what worked for us will work for others.  But life’s just not that cut and dry all the time–is it?

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. 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.

As a professional counselor, I have worked with thousands of individuals and couples, and one pattern that has emerged is simply this: life can look a whole lot different from one person to the next.  I’ve seen 18 year olds with the maturity and wisdom of 50 year olds, and I’ve met 40 year olds who are still stuck in the emotional IQ of a the teen years.  Granted, our health and maturity in life may be given more time to develop the older we get–but I think it’s less about age and more about what we do with the time we’ve been given.

Being ready for love means that we’ve taken the time to look inward– focusing on where we come from, who we are, and where we’re going, even while standing alone.  Here’s a detailed post I wrote about what it means to get yourself ready for love (and then take the free “Are You Ready for Love” quiz that goes along with it!)

Secondly, the perfect age to get married has little to do with your plans, and so much more to do with God’s plans.  Try presenting the “case to get married young” to a 48 year old who has never had the opportunity to say ‘I do’.  Life isn’t always that simple. Sometimes, the plans we have for our life are shattered into a billion pieces as days, months, and years move us away from our personal time frames, goals and agendas.

Life happens, and while we may WANT to get married young, or even not get married at all, sometimes, our personal plans don’t line up with God’s plans.  

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.  I look back at all the times in my life when God’s plans trumped mine and I am so thankful that they did.  He knew better than me about so many things. And had I known what He knew…I would have totally agreed with Him.

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 and one thing alone: to love others, and to love ourselves, and to love Him above all else.

The most successful marriages I’ve seen have so little to do with age and so much to do with the evidence of God’s incredible power at work in their lives.  And thankfully, that’s something you can never put a number on.

Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. Her newest book, Choosing Marriage, is set to be released in the Summer of 2018! You may also recognize her voice from her 200+ articles at Relevant Magazine, Crosswalk.com, and all over the web! She’s the creator of this True Love Dates Blog, reaching millions of people with the message that healthy people make healthy relationships!  Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter or book a session with her today!

Additional Resources:

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Want to know how to attract and keep the right relationship? Check out my book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life! Plus, read the Top 25 Dating Questions of All-Time answered in Section 4!!

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13 Comments on "The Best Age to Get Married"

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Jayla
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“sometimes, our personal plans don’t line up with God’s plans. ” I totally agree with this. Unfortunately, most times our plans don’t line up with Gods plans, and we don’t desire the things for ourselves that God desires for us. I believe that is the root of many peoples problems. Once we begin to be on one accord with God, and what he wants for us, and what God wants, is the same thing we want for ourselves, then our lives our much better, happier, joyful, and fulfilling.

Eider de
Guest
As an almost 56 year young guy, divorced 10 years and fired up for the Lord, I have yet to fully grasp being ready for re-marriage. Endless books read, two ” WEEK End to REMEMBER” with two different girls on consecutive years says something. Not sure what yet, other than I want to get it right once and for all! I grow my hope, I remain painfully vulnerable and asking God for His perfect plan. Writing a sermon that shall be a book and play truly helps get the ache out. “THE ANGST OF AGAPE” true love WILL find me… Read more »
Shannon
Guest
What a great read! I used to think I wanted (maybe even needed) to be married and done having kids by the time I was 30. At 27 with no prospective suitor in sight, I’ve realized that likely won’t happen. I’ve also realized those desires came from what I thought other people would think of me if I didn’t live up to those standards. Now, I’ve realized God will bring the perfect man into my life when I’m ready – after I’ve had time to work on myself in my season of singleness and when I’m not seeking a relationship… Read more »
Liz
Guest
No. He won’t. The “perfect man” doesn’t exist. I was where you are at 27. It wasn’t until I let go of my list of all the things the guy needed to be (or what I thought he needed to be) and started actually doing the work of dating that I found someone. I had to let go of the idea of only virgins, of “no divorcees”, and of a lot of other things. I met my then-future hubby right after my 29th birthday. We were engaged by my 30th. But I had to actually be willing to put myself… Read more »
Shannon
Guest

As a single mom myself, I am fully aware that a “perfect man” doesn’t exist. Do I think that when I’m ready (meaning I’ve worked on myself and my relationship with God), the man I marry will be perfect for me? Absolutely.

I’m not naive enough to think there’s a “one” out there for me because Lord knows us imperfect humans would’ve screwed that ip by now. I do believe God has a perfect plan for my life that involves me finding a perfect (for me) man at just the right time.

Shay
Guest

Amen. Like that. God bless!!!

Hannah
Guest
Wow!! This comes right at the perfect time…. recently I’ve been wondering when will my time come? I’ve seen many friends, acquaintances and just random people everywhere in social media getting engaged, married and all that. Some of them are really young, like younger than me, and I’m 23. But then God reminds me sometimes is not that I’m not matured enough, or old enough, or wise enough or the ‘typical’ cliché answer ‘ready’ enough. Sometimes God has other plans, that’s it, for this season in my life He wants to be GLORIFIED in soooo many ways other than in… Read more »
T T
Guest
Thank you. Too frequently the church equates maturity and worth with marriage. As in, when you’re mature and worthy enough, then God will provide you with a spouse. So while I agree that there can be a mature 19yo or an immature 40yo, that may still have nothing to do with whether or not they’re married (I’ve known some pretty immature older, married people). I was considered mature for my age up to the point when I graduated from college as a single person – then suddenly I was considered immature and have been ever since. It was disorienting (also… Read more »
Mandy
Guest
I love what you say “Secondly, the perfect age to get married has little to do with your plans, and so much more to do with God’s plans.” I always dreamt I would be married by about 21 because that was when my Mom married but God quite clearly had other plans and at 39 I am still waiting. I just had to come to accept that sometimes our plans are not God’s plans and ultimately God knows better than I ever could. My two younger sisters got married at 20 and 23 a few months apart from one another… Read more »
Marysa
Guest
This article is written so well regarding a touchy subject. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and reminding us that our walks with the Lord can look different than our neighbors. You are so right in regard to how we have no place to say who is ready for marriage and who is not by merely relaying on age. I actually just got married! I am 24 years old and I had people question why I was getting married so young. However, in my heart I knew it was the perfect timing. Papa God had been preparing my heart for… Read more »
Rose
Guest

I don’t know.you are right about that it depends on the person. But generally, science says that our brain doesn’t achieve the full development until 25. While I ve seen 20,21 year old youngins get married ( I went to a Baptist college and it seemed like marriage was a prerequisite before they give you your degree lol) , I would personally say,if people can wait until at least 25,that would be great. Just an opinion but each to their own I guess.

Liz
Guest
I’m not a fan of this article; there is very little practical advice or encouragement here. Here’s the truth: If you want to go through the work of dating and relationships to find someone to marry, then you will. If you don’t, then you won’t. You can ask for God’s help in that, and He’ll do what He can…but He won’t force you to do anything. He won’t force you to not marry a jerk. He won’t plant Mr. Perfect-For-You in your lap either. That stuff takes digging and weeding and disaster dates and get-togethers and all sorts of exhausting… Read more »
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