Delaying Marriage: Here’s Why It’s the Wrong Move

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Defining Decade" by Meg Jay. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Is delaying marriage a bad idea? Why do so many people delay marriage?

Delaying marriage is more common than you might think. Especially today, young people delay marriage due to fear of a possible divorce.

Read more about delaying marriage and what it means.

Delaying Marriage to Prevent Divorce: Don’t Do It

Young adults today are putting off marriage not only because of the societal expectation to but also because of a fear of failure. Divorce looms large in the minds of today’s twenty-somethings. About half of all young adults are children of divorce, and the other half knows someone who is. Everyone acknowledges how difficult divorce can be and how negatively it can affect the lives of any children involved, and everyone wants—rightly so—to avoid that fate. 

People have concluded that delaying marriage is a good way to lessen the risk of eventual divorce. They believe waiting until they are more mature and settled in their careers will prevent them from marrying someone they’ll later grow apart from. However, delayed marriage is not the protective element that people imagine it to be. Although marriages between very young partners (especially teens) have high rates of divorce, after age 25 the divorce rate stabilizes at around 40 percent.

Additionally, putting off marriage creates other difficulties and risks:

  • As the pool of available singles decreases, the quality of those available may also decrease. 
  • While older spouses may be more mature, they also may be more set in their ways and have a more cynical view of love, making it more difficult to establish a healthy and lasting marriage in the first place. 
  • Delaying marriage exposes you to the risk that at age thirty, you’ll feel the pressure reverse immediately. At thirty, marriage turns from something we’ll get around to someday to something we wish was happening right now. At that point, people start looking for any partner, rather than the right partner.

Now that you know why delaying marriage can be bad, you can consider it when looking for a life partner.

Delaying Marriage: Here’s Why It’s the Wrong Move

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Meg Jay's "The Defining Decade" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full The Defining Decade summary:

  • Why the twenties are your most important decade
  • How you were fooled into thinking it was an extended period of youth and freedom
  • Why you should use this decade to find personal and professional success

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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