What Is the Best Age to Find a Husband

Phoebe Maltz Bovy, writing for The Atlantic, makes an excellent point:

A young woman hears from friends and family that she needs to focus on her career or education, not some guy. She is warned of certain dangers: unsolicited male attention; unintended pregnancy, as if intended pregnancy were also a thing; and the desire hardwired into all straight men to turn their girlfriends into 1950’s housewives. To entertain the possibility of it being difficult to find a husband, to even utter the expression “find a husband,” is to regress to another era. And this advice is incredibly appealing, a rejection of the quaint notion that female heterosexuality is the desire not for men, but for a white picket fence.

And then, suddenly, the message shifts. A not-quite-as-young woman will learn that rather than having all the time in the world to start a family, her biological clock is about to strike midnight. That even if she doesn’t want children, she is now on the cusp of being too old to find a husband. Hasn’t she heard of the man shortage, which only gets worse with age? 40-year-old men can (as will be news to most 40-year-old men) date any 23-year-old they want. And those degrees, that burgeoning career? Maybe feminist dreams shall be realized, or maybe it was just an elaborate mating strategy, tailored for an era when the highest-status men demand women with educational backgrounds similar to their own.

Women are now asked to live by second-wave feminist principles, until, boom, they’re informed that they need a man no less than women ever did.

A woman’s desire to get married doesn’t involve societal judgment. A woman’s desire to have her own biological children doesn’t involve societal judgment. This is the realm of facts.

Bovy advocates for less judgment. Less judgment of women who choose to get married in their early 20’s, forgoing a career. Less judgment of women who choose to put off marriage until their early 40’s. Less judgment of women’s choices overall.

Amen.

The issue I have – and the reason I’m sharing this article with you – is that a woman’s desire to get married doesn’t involve societal judgment. A woman’s desire to have her own biological children doesn’t involve societal judgment. This is the realm of facts.

Fact: Women who get married under the age of 25 have a 75% divorce rate.

Fact: Women who choose not to get married until their late 30’s face a diminished pool of men, since 68% have been married by that time.

Fact: Many men in their late 30’s who want to have children are less likely to choose a woman of the same age. Not because those women aren’t incredible, but because he does not want to have to rush through a relationship, get engaged, move in, get married, and get pregnant, all within 2 years, only to discover that there’s a major drop in fertility after 40, and that they may not be able to have more than one child. It’s just as easy for him to choose a partner in her early to mid-30’s.

We don’t always have a choice in how our life goes, but that doesn’t mean we should be ignorant of the facts, either.

None of this involves judgment.

If you got married at the age of 23 and you and your husband are still together, wonderful.

If you had two kids after the age of 40 (like my wife did), you’re super lucky.

But let’s not pretend for one second that there aren’t better times to get married and have children.

College-educated couples over the age of 30 have a 20% divorce rate. So somewhere between the ages of 30-35, I think, would be considered optimal.

We don’t always have a choice in how our life goes, but that doesn’t mean we should be ignorant of the facts, either.