Earlier this month, Linda Gellman Levin, M.A., wrote Marrying Later Pros and Cons, about the benefits and costs of marrying younger or later in life. For instance women who marry in their mid and later 20’s, typically earn a higher salary and tend to be happier in life and with their mates. However, these same women may have difficulty conceiving and may experience more difficulty compromising, as they have been able to control their own fate and desires.
These statistical trends inspired me to share some personal and professional perspectives gained from our 40 plus years of a vibrant, happy marriage along with working with thousands of individuals and couples as a psychologist and life coach. My husband and I met when we were in college. I was 23 and Greg was 25 when we married. Ours is a success story because we are both evolving to be our best selves and experience our genuine feelings of love, appreciation, admiration, respect, playfulness, and even our dissatisfactions.
Each individual is different, and the most important indicators of a healthy marriage is your capacity for emotional well-being and your ability to have an open, loving, intimate relationship with your significant other. However, I am biased toward waiting later in life, because it is highly unlikely for a woman and man in their early twenties to have that emotional maturity to feel secure and confident about themselves.
Think about your experiences dating in high school and college. Who were you attracted to at that time? Was the attraction towards someone who was handsome and popular? Perhaps it was a person with a fun loving personality, one who could make you laugh and keep you intrigued about almost anything he said or did. Almost all of us were ripe for infatuation during those late teen and early “adult” years.
Now that you’re older, you are probably still drawn to physical attraction yet with the additional priority that this person can be your “soul mate.” This special individual is one that can cherish you, knows how to take care of you emotionally and physically, remains faithful, has a stable financial future, and in the way of the modern world, be able to assist you with housework and taking care of children. In other words, you are looking for Mr. Right who holds the many qualities that you so desire in your ideal mate…and it is difficult to find someone so emotionally stable with these life skills in your early or mid twenties.
Emotional wellness refers to being your best self. This means that you are in touch with your thoughts, feelings, and you know how to appreciate, nurture and love yourself. You feel secure within yourself, confident without being self-absorbed and arrogant. You know how to give and receive love from men and women and treat others with respect. It is noteworthy that as you become emotionally healthier, you attract and are drawn to those who are emotionally healthy. The end result of this emotional wellness will be reflected in your actions and on to your partner.
A loving relationship that can last a lifetime is dependent on how well you can be truly intimate. This means that you mutually show your real self by honestly communicating your feelings, needs, and desires. It means loving each other enough to work out win-win solutions. As you can see, the ways you treat yourself, your partner, and the ways you fully communicate are learned and developed over time. If you’re creating your best self and you have a loving, intimate relationship with yourself as well as your partner, then the answer is “YES!” You are the right age, and the time is right for marriage.