What is the Best Age to Get Married? (and stay that way!)

For my first marriage, I got married just before I turned 21. I know, in retrospect, that was way too young, so I began to wonder what is the best age to get married?

While the current average ages to get married are 29.8 for men and 27.8 for women, the best age to get married and not get divorced is between the ages of 28-32. By contrast, the absolute worst ages to get married, in terms of impacting the divorce rate, are ages 20-24.

But there’s a lot more to know about average ages for engagements and marriages. We’ll also examine the worst ages that more often than not lead to divorce.

So let’s dive in!

For more great marriage statistics, also make sure to check out my 15 Surprising Marriage Statistics by Age Group (click to see my complete list). 

What is the average age to get married in 2018?

According to the US Census Bureau, the average age

to get married in the United States is  29.8 for men and 27.8 for women.

That’s a 10% increase over the rates from 2003.

So what does that tell us? Right out of the gate, it tells us that millennials are waiting longer to get married than Generation X and Baby Boomers.

It also tells us that men are slightly older than women when they get married the first time.

If we go back in time a little further, we see that in 1978 a whopping 59% of young adults (18-34) were married compared to only 29% today. So 30% fewer adults under age 34 are choosing to get married in this day and age.

Another interesting takeaway is that 54% of young adults up to age 24 are still living at home, which explains the delay in getting married compared to previous generations.

Of course, different states see different trends compared to the nationwide average, so here are some of the most notable exceptions for certain states in the US.

  • Washington DC sees both sexes waiting until age 30 to marry
  • Idaho, Oklahoma, and Kansas sees ’em starting young, at ages 27 for men and 25 for women
  • Utah sees the youngest averages with 26.2 for men and 24.2 for women

So if you’re anywhere around age 30, just know you’re right in the target for the age most people are getting married these days.

For more great marriage statistics, also make sure to check out my 17 Astonishing Infidelity Recovery Statistics (click to see my complete list).

What is the best age to get married?

Generally speaking, the ideal age to get married is slightly higher than the average ages are.

As we discussed, the average ages for men and women to get married are 29.8 for men and 27.8 for women. By contrast, the best ages to get married and not find yourself divorced is between the ages of 28-32.

To be specific, the ideal age for a man to get married and not get divorced is 35. For women, that ideal age to get married and stay that way is age 30.

By comparison, ages 20-24 have the highest rates of divorce of between 35-40%.

So the immediate takeaway away is don’t be in a hurry to marry if you’re under 30. And if you’re under 25, DON’T GET MARRIED.

Date, get engaged, figure out how life works, but if you are between 20-24 and want to get married, you have upwards of a 40% chance of getting divorced.

But even waiting until age 23 reduces divorce rates by 50% from what they are for 20-year-olds.

The make that story worse, if you think you’ll just get it right the 2nd time around, 2nd marriages end in divorce a whopping 60% of the time.

Marriage IS hard work, so don’t go into marriage expecting it to be easy.

Even if your dating life was smooth sailing, once careers, life, in-laws and especially kids come into the picture, things have a way of getting complicated. But I wrote this article which breaks down not only why it’s hard, but also why it’s so worth it.

But the big surprise I discovered in writing that post was how much longer happily married couples live compared to divorced or single people.

What is a good age to get engaged?

We know from the statistics reviewed elsewhere in this post that dating for a minimum of 3 years produces the best results in terms of how long couples remain married.

Then we also know that for men, the ideal age to get married and not get divorced is age 35 and for women, it’s age 30. But anywhere in the 28-32 age range does produce great results in terms of couples staying together.

We also know that, according to The Knot, couples date between 1-2 years before getting engaged.

So, if we do some math, that tells us the following in terms of the ideal age to get engaged:

  • A man marrying at age 35, would ideally start dating his would-be spouse at age 32
  • That same man would then get engaged between age 33-34
  • A man marrying at age 30, would ideally start dating her would-be spouse at age 27
  • That same woman would then get engaged between age 28-29

So to sum up, the ideal age to get engaged is between ages 28-33 with an overall ideal length of dating and engagement being 3 years.

Is 23 a good age to get married?

23 is the absolute youngest age you should get married.

Generally speaking ages 20-24 are the absolute worst ages to get married and not end up divorced. The longer you wait from those ages, the more your chances improve.

But age 23 does see a 50% improvement in divorce rates over 20-year-olds.

But we know scientifically, that between ages 28-32 are the ideal average ages to get married, so while it’s perfectly fine to date, and get engaged, to give your relationship the best chance of success, don’t be in a hurry.

Beyond getting married too young, you’ll also want to avoid the Top 3 Reasons for Divorce (click to read my article that breaks them down). See if you aren’t as surprised as I was to see what reason #2 was.

How long should you date before marriage?

Well, the answer here is probably longer than my wife and I waited.

My wife (#2) and I met and started dating in October 2005 and got married in August 2006. So we dated for a total of 10 months, and we weren’t 100% together for all of that.

But here we are, very happily married, many years later.

According to a University of Texas study, 25 months is the best length of time to date before marriage and stay happily married. That study examined 168 couples over a 14 year period.

Emory University backed up those findings with their own study of 3,000 couples.

They found that:

  • Couples who dated 3 or more years had divorce rates 39% lower than average
  • Couples who dated 2 years were 20% less likely to marry

So what that tells us is that you ideally want to date for 2-3 years before tying the knot.

One question that comes up all the time when dating is this person “the one”?

People sometimes drive themselves crazy trying to figure out if the person they are in a relationship with is their soulmate. If you’re questioning that too, you’ll want to check out this article I wrote that breaks down the soulmate signs coincidences.

Most importantly, you can read the difference between a soulmate and a twin flame, as a twin flame is definitely NOT someone you’d want to marry.

Final Thoughts

In this article, I took a look at marriage ages and trends.

We explored the average ages people get married and compared that to previous generations. We also looked at how the age we get married impacts divorce rates.

In the end, we determined that while the average age to get married is 29.8 for men and 27.8 for women, the BEST age to get married is 28-32.

What age did you (or will you) get married?

To get your marriage off to the right track, make sure and check out my Marriage Resource Page (just click to see it on my site)

That’s a page on my website reserved for the very best tools, guides, products, and programs designed to make marriage a little easier. If it’s helpful for marriage and I know about it, you can bet it will be on that page!

Jeff Campbell

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