The perfect age to get married, according to science
Science is here to save the day... or at least help you make some crucial life decisions.
Tying the knot is a big step and timing seems to be one of the people's biggest concerns.
I mean, have you ever encountered one of those desperate girls who are out-husband-hunting just because the clock is ticking? It happens.
And before you get all judgy, can you really blame them? Women are constantly told that their eggs have an expiration date and that all the “good” men will be gone if they wait too long to find one.
Here is the perfect age to get married, according to science.
Working together to find the best age to get married, math and science have come up with the “37 percent” rule. According to this algorithm, the best age to walk down the aisle is 26.
There you have it. Now, you no longer have to fumble around wondering if it’s now or never. Getting hitched at 26 is apparently ideal.
The number comes from the Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions, which was written by journalist Brian Christian and cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths. According to their book, people make the best decisions after screening 37 percent of the options.
They use the example of screening job applicants and argue that after looking through 37 percent of the people who applied, it would make sense to choose a candidate who was qualified without looking any further.
The authors of the study say that it’s at this point where the reviewers of the applicants have enough information to make a good choice, but not too much that they will get weighed down by indecision.
This duo goes even further, saying that this rule works for picking out a partner. The range during which people typically look for love is between 18-40 and the 37 percent mark is — you guessed it — 26.
It’s after this, the quality of the options begins to go down. Womp womp.
However, many experts seem to be in agreement that late 20s is the sweet spot for getting married. Psychologist Wyatt Fisher says that the reason this time in your life is so ideal for settling down is because it is at the point at which you have already completed your education and started a career.
Clinical social worker Kelsey Torgerson says it's crucial to at least wait until the human brain is fully developed to find a life mate, which isn't until age 25.
She says, “I believe it’s best to wait until this marker. It’s also important to experience stressors with your partner that you overcome, so if you have a high school sweetheart, you should see how you two handle college, long distance, studying abroad, or getting two jobs. You want to know that you have the conflict management strategies in place for a healthy, successful marriage down the road.”
Relationship therapist, Weena Cullins, thinks the magic number is actually 28.
As she explains, “In my clinical experience, I’ve found that the best age to get married for women in the U.S. is 28. At age 28, my soon-to-be brides exhibit self-awareness and confidence in their choice of a mate. Most 28-year-olds have had the time to successfully explore who they are on a personal and professional level, discover the qualities they desire most in a life partner, and learn from mistakes they made in previous relationships. You’ve had time to get settled in a career, experience college, and graduate school if that’s your preferred path, or simply live independently before combining your life.”
And for men, Cullins thinks the magic number is 32:
“Waiting until age 32 affords men an opportunity to get settled into a career and potentially pursue professional advancement before tying the knot. It also gives them an opportunity to develop socially and emotionally through living on their own and dating. By 32, many men have spent enough time on the social scene to be able to make an informed decision about entering into married life. They also tend to have a sober perspective about having children and their role in co-parenting. This benefits the overall health of the relationship.”
So, if you are 25 and still single, don’t freak out. Likewise, if you're 36 and still single, don’t lose hope. While this whole thing seems pretty legit when backed by science and math, there is still no sure way of knowing the secret age to have a successful marriage.
It’s all relative folks, but it still doesn’t hurt to have something on to base this wide and confusing world of love on.
Shannon Ullman is a writer who focuses on travel and adventure, women's health, pop culture, and relationships. Her work has appeared in Huffington Post, MSN, and Matador Network.