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Kristen Houghton

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Marrying Older -- Wiser And Happier

Posted: 08/19/11 12:37 PM ET

There are advantages to marrying later. You are more confident in your choices and less likely to simply accept life as it comes. Education and being a part of the workforce gives you the ability to be a strong decision maker and create a life from a good solid foundation. You have had the opportunity to get to know who you are and what you want.

According to the joint studies statistics from the U.S. and Great Britain, the average age of first time brides and grooms is getting older. Today's couples are choosing to marry later than past couples. The average age range is thirty to forty-two for some first-timers. A big difference from just twenty years ago, when the average age span was somewhere in your twenties.

There are solid reasons for this trend of older brides and grooms.

Advanced education.
Getting a college degree is no longer seen as the end of a man or woman's formal education. Unlike generations past, where post-grad education was something you did after marriage, if at all, both men and women want to obtain post-graduate degrees or specialized certifications before settling down.

Financial security.
People in their early thirties and forties are making quite sure of their own financial future before committing to a legal relationship. They are seeking mates who are as financially solvent as they are and who can bring this type of security to the marriage table.

Finding out who you are and what you really want, one of which is ownership of property.
Paying rent for an apartment is no longer desirable. Owning real estate, a co-op, townhouse, condo or house is almost a necessity.

The travel bug.
Europe, South America and world tours are big on their agenda. Part of a generation which grew up seeing the world on TV, they want to experience different cultures and traditions.

Having children later.
As far as starting a family, with advances in fertility available, couples who do want children can afford to marry later and let their biological clocks tick a bit longer. And afford seems to be the correct word here. An overwhelming majority of those interviewed in Great Britain said they wouldn't have children unless they could afford to have them. Less than twenty years ago, most couples said they "would somehow cope" if they started a family before they were financially ready.

Or deciding not to be parents.
Becoming parents is not a driving force for the older couple, marriage is the primary issue. Many studies have shown that the arrival of the first baby in younger marriages commonly has the effect of pushing the mother and father farther apart, and bringing stress to the marriage. Choosing not to be parents is something that older spouses may not want or need. Satisfaction in job, marital union and personal achievement of goals seem to be prime for the older couple.

Marrying "older" may be good for your health as well as your finances.
Rather than luck and love, the most common reasons older couples give for their marital success are commitment, financial security, good health and a friendly companionship. They define their marriages as a creation that takes work, dedication and commitment (to each other and to the institution of marriage). The happiest couples are friends who share lives and are compatible in interests and values.

The general level of happiness in older marriages increases with the years they are together. Compared to couples who marry in their twenties, those who married significantly later report less work-related stress, less marital conflict and more couple interaction and satisfaction.

A calmer, happier life.
Men and women will not marry someone who has violent outbursts or tendencies. Older spouses are less likely to commit domestic violence because they are more invested in their spouses' well-being, and more integrated into a social network of friends and extended family.

Also noted was the lack of "in-law" problems. With age comes not only wisdom but a certain acceptance of other people and their foibles. You are comfortable in your own skin, confident in your opinions and ideals and not as likely to be "told what to do."

Religion is not an issue.
Older couples have a tolerance for what others believe and this is a happy medium in a marriage. In fact, women and men in their thirties and forties are more likely to opt for a non-sectarian ceremony than younger couples. Religious differences are not an issue that can cause arguments, hurt feelings, or threaten the union. Many couples of different religious backgrounds complement each other's varied beliefs.

All in all, the idea of marriage has changed dramatically but there is still one major priority for any marriage. Being aware of what is best for your own growth and happiness and finding someone with whom you want to share it all can work for all marriages.

© 2011 Kristen Houghton

To read more from Kristen Houghton, peruse her articles at KristenHoughton.com and visit her Keys to Happiness blog. You may email her at kch@kristenhoughton.com. Read the book critics call "sane and savvy advice for all a must-read," ranked in the top-selling 100 books of 2011 by Tower.com "And Then I'll Be Happy! Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness and Put Your Own Life First."

 
 
 

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