According to a recent Atlantic Monthly article, there is only a tiny window for a woman to get married at the “right time.” This is because younger women in their 20s feel pressured by parents and friends to focus on education and career. The intention is to get established before being distracted by love. The piece points out that looking for a husband in your 20s throws you back into the 1950s “picket fence” mentality that is considered nearly taboo and flies in the face of feminist ideals.
On the other hand a woman of 35 will suddenly wake up to hear her biological clock ticking and feel pressured to find a husband. As her eggs age minute-by-minute, friends and family mention the horrible “man shortage” and the shrinking potential for achieving wedded bliss.
If the consensus is a woman should stay single in her 20s, yet marry by her mid 30s to start producing offspring, that is a small five-year time frame. As a dating coach for women, I consider this social wisdom a sorry state and the wrong way to approach finding the right romantic partner.
To adhere to these social standards, women in their 20s often toss away perfectly good matches because they are “not ready” to settle down. Then, as they approach their 30s, the stress of finding a suitable partner in a hurry gives birth to complaints about a lack of “good men.” This lament grows ever louder as they approach 40 and beyond.
Lori Gottlieb, author of Marry Him: the Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough admits to having lived through this herself. A few great guys got kicked to the curb, with her thinking there would be many more wonderful men and plenty of time. Panic set as she closed in on 40 and she decided to have a baby on her own rather than miss out on her fertility.
I’ve read Lori’s book and she is actually not encouraging women to settle. Instead, she suggests women recognize the qualities of a good partner and consider a wider range of options. She also bares her soul regarding the false assumptions that sadly kept her single. From discounting men because she had plenty of time to feeling most men weren’t good enough, Lori kept herself single for two and a half decades.She finally got serious, hired adating coach and fell in love. (I love a happy ending!)
So what is the right time to get married for a woman? When she finds the right man! The best thing you can do when looking for love is to honor a great match when you are lucky to have connected with one. According to the US census, the average age a woman gets hitched is 26 and 28 for men (in 2012). Whether you are younger or older is not what matters — that is just statistical data.
What does matter regarding your decision to marry and the timing? Here’s a good check list to reflect on:
- Do you love each other?
- Do you respect each other?
- Do you have fun together?
- Does he treat you well?
- Do you have similar values?
- Do want the same things out of life?
- Are you compatible?
These questions are a great start for determining if you have found the romantic partner you want to spend your life with. Of course, as a single woman you may have other considerations as well.
My advice as a dating coach is not to toss a good man aside simply because of timing. When you find the right guy who makes your heart melt, treats you well and is there for you, go for it!