What If I’m Not Married before 40?

silo girlsunHow do you know what is the best time in your life plans to get mar­ried? Many cou­ples come to mar­riage ther­a­py explor­ing this cru­cial ques­tion. Is this part­ner the right choice? Many peo­ple are ready to get mar­ried, but are not pre­pared to stay mar­ried. What’s the dif­fer­ence? Get­ting mar­ried is the romance and the shar­ing of your life up to that point. You are attract­ed to each oth­er, and as my moth­er used to say, “He (or she) is a good catch.” Stay­ing mar­ried is where cou­ple coun­sel­ing can help. Do you have the skills to move thor­ough the ups and downs of life; how do you make major deci­sions togeth­er; what about the first (sec­ond and third) huge fight? The medi­an age of women and men get­ting mar­ried for the first time is now 27 and 29, respec­tive­ly. That com­pares to a medi­an age of 20 for women and 23 for men in 1960, accord­ing to the Pew Research Cen­ter.

One woman didn’t mar­ry until she was near­ly fifty years old. She was social, had her own busi­ness, with a ami­ca­ble per­son­al­i­ty. Acquain­tances asked, “How come you have nev­er mar­ried?” She rebuffed, “Just lucky, I guess.” She lat­er found a com­pat­i­ble man and stayed mar­ried.

ceremonyOf course, not all late-life mar­riages are first mar­riages. About 53 per­cent of Amer­i­cans ages 55 and old­er are remar­ried — in oth­er words, on their sec­ond or third mar­riage. Sev­er­al things to con­sid­er for lat­er mar­riages are how to merge your finances, the advan­tages of a pre-nup­tial agree­ment, and how to pro­tect the assets for chil­dren of a for­mer mar­riage. The more trans­par­ent you can be about your finances and oblig­a­tions to oth­ers (for­mer fam­i­ly mem­bers or busi­ness part­ners), the bet­ter you can make deci­sions with a new spouse.

One exem­plary mod­el of a late mar­riage leapt out at me from the pages of his­to­ry. Mar­garet Fell, a wid­ow mar­ried George Fox in 1669 when she was 55 years old and he was 45 years old. Their mar­riage was based on equal­i­ty and they had a Chris­t­ian wed­ding with­out the need of a min­is­ter. Both found­ed the nascent Quak­er move­ment in Britain in the late sev­en­teenth cen­tu­ry. Mar­garet had eight chil­dren, most of them grown when she and George were engaged. George went to each of the chil­dren to seek their approval before mar­ry­ing Mar­garet, part­ly to clar­i­fy that he was not seek­ing to inher­it any of the Fell prop­er­ty. The cou­ple went through many hard­ships, and through­out rough trav­el and some impris­on­ments, wrote ten­der let­ters to each oth­er.

When is the right time to get mar­ried? Choose wise­ly and you will receive end­less rich­es.

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