Love is in the air. Love does not fail. Love is always the answer. What bigger manifestation of love between lovers than marriage? Marriage is the ideal, the end goal for most people’s romantic endeavors. Though admittedly there are some who do not desire this union, for those whom marriage is a heart’s desire the question becomes ‘when is the right time to get married?’
Too young at 18
In most countries you can legally get married at 18. Though historically women were inclined to get married at 18 or younger, legislation against child brides has curbed this trend.
Too old at 30
In most cultures, being un-wedded at this age earns you the title – spinster. In China they even have a word for this – ‘Sheng Nu,’ which means left over women. It is a time when you begin to be classified as “women of a certain age”. Concerns of your biological clock begin to be raised.
In our ever evolving society there is no-one-size-fits-all for when to get married. Here are 4 questions that will help you figure out if the time is right for you.
Why do you want to get married?
Marriage is a lifetime commitment, one that in an ideal situation is only terminated by death of either party. Hence it is of vital importance that you understand why you want to get married. Getting married because you are afraid of being alone, running out of time or any fear-based reason is a red flag; stop and reconsider. Never make a decision from a place of desperation and this is particularly true when it comes to marriage.
To whom do you want to get married to?
Studies have shown that who you marry influences how successful, how happy and even how long you live. Just think Michelle and Barack Obama, Jay Z & Beyoncé or on the other side Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown. Ideally you want to marry someone you love and respect. Find someone whose values, dreams and ambitions align with yours.
What is the state of your finances?
Most marriage problems tend to be financial therefore marriage is not a financial plan. Studies have found that most marriages fail because of money issues. In most cultures marriage comes with an immediate cost of the wedding and in the African context, the modern wedding identified as ‘white wedding’ and the traditional wedding. Can you afford to have both weddings? Can you afford to find accommodation and a decent life together? These are real questions that need to be addressed. Financial independence and stability speak to a healthy relationship, a trait that is great in all unions.
Are you ready?
This might seem like a redundant question but it is one that should be asked. Are you ready for this life change? Are you ready to put in the necessary work? Are you ready to share your life with someone else? Do you feel ready to rise up to the level that marriage will ask of you?
These questions are merely guiding questions, deeper and more personal questions should be explored. When done right marriage can be a beautiful thing, however, when done wrong it can be a nightmare. There is no denying that in either scenario it is a life-changing event. There is no one right or wrong age to get married. Some people get married multiple times in their lifetime and some do not even get married at all. When it comes to deciding when to get married, this is one decision where you should listen to your intuition. For those on the fence, you might want to get a long engagement but whatever you do take your time. No one has ever died from taking their time but many have perished from bad marriages.
By Kudakwashe Khuleya