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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