Too Risky to Wed in Your 20s? Not if You Avoid Cohabiting First

Research shows that marrying young without ever having lived together with a partner makes for some of the lowest divorce rates

A marriage proposal in lower Manhattan, November 2021.PHOTO: VLAD LETO


Brad Wilcox and Lyman Stone

Feb. 5, 2022

It’s now marriage proposal season—the time between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day when nearly 40% of couples decide to get engaged. The holidays tend to put people in mind of marriage. So what’s the best age to put a ring on it?

It’s a question that weighs especially heavily on educated women, who find themselves caught between their career ambitions and pressure to settle down and start a family. The conventional wisdom is that they should get launched professionally in their 20s and wait until 30 or after to marry. Then they can establish themselves as independent adults before finding and pairing with an equally successful partner. This strategy is also supposed to maximize their odds of a lasting bond because the conventional wisdom also holds that early marriage increases the risk of divorce.


2 replies

  1. If they can co-habit together and careers, etc., don’t seem to get in the way, then why shouldn’t they get married instead?!

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