What is the Proper Age for Marriage?

early marriage is to be discouragedQ Dear Miss Abigail:

What do you consider a proper age for a woman to get married?


A Dear Considering:

So, my dear, you are thinking about taking the jump into eternal bliss. This is a very important decision for you to make, whatever age you are, so I’ve dug carefully through the books and found the following excerpt. Perhaps Dr. Bowman’s words will help you make up your mind.

1938: The Appropriate Age for Marriage

Many a young person faces the question as to the appropriate age for marriage. It is generally considered that the reckless and imprudent marry too early, while the educated and cultured marry too late. There is also a definite relationship between the age of marriage and subsequent happiness. The advantages of early marriage seem to be: First, it is easier to adjust to one another than when habits and ideas have become so well fixed. Second, it is often better for the children if the parents are reasonably young. This relates both to the greater ease for the woman in childbearing, and also the psychological adjustments between children and parents. Third, in case of the woman, increasing age lessens her chance of marrying.

The disadvantages of early marriage are: First, it may thwart the vocational or educational plans of the husband; second, it may handicap his earning power. To have a family dependent on him at the time he is struggling to get ahead in his vocation may keep him so tied down that he cannot acquire the means for self-improvement and advancement. Third, the qualities essential for a good mate are often not appreciated until the middle or later twenties. The young person is likely to mistake infatuation for love. It frequently happens that the person with whom he thinks he is in love at twenty will not attract him at all at the age of twenty-five when his judgment has become more mature. Fourth, when older, a person is more ready to settle down to the responsibilities of home life. Studies of marital happiness tend to show that there is a definite relationship between early marriage and subsequent unhappiness and divorce. . . .

[Studies] show conclusively that too early marriage is to be discouraged. It may be that men of 25 years, or above, and women of 22, or older, have acquired greater wisdom in choosing a suitable mate; it may be that they enter upon marriage more fully prepared, or that they are more ready to settle down to the responsibilities of home and family. Certainly, the age of marriage should be given serious consideration, and when one or both are younger than the ideal age, special preparation should be undertaken on their part and on the part of their parents, in order to offset some of the dangers of their immaturity.

Source: Bowman, Warren D. Home Builders of Tomorrow. Elgin, Ill.: The Elgin Press, 1938.
~ pp. 93-96 ~