Julia Shaw has a profoundly silly column at Slate urging her fellow millenials to marry early rather than late. Why? I don’t know, really. The answer seems to be “because I did so,” though I can’t imagine why she thinks that’s a compelling argument.
Sometimes people delay marriage because they are searching for the perfect soul mate. But that view has it backward. Your spouse becomes your soul mate after you’ve made those vows to each other in front of God and the people who matter to you. You don’t marry someone because he’s your soul mate; he becomes your soul mate because you married him.
Do people seriously believe such melodramatic nonsense? Really? First of all, the notion that there’s a “perfect soul mate” for everyone, or anyone for that matter, is hyper-emotional bullshit; put down the Meg Ryan DVD and try to come to grips with reality just a little bit. But even if that were true for this particular couple, it certainly isn’t true for most others. As Amanda Marcotte points out, those who marry younger are more likely to get divorced. The reasons should be rather obvious.
Did you have a clue who you were at 21? Or 25? I sure didn’t. No one else I know did either. At 25, I was in a long-term relationship with someone I was so incompatible with that we might as well have belonged to two different species. Marrying her would have been a huge mistake (not because she’s a bad person or anything; she was just the wrong person for me, in every imaginable way). And no, we would not have become “soul mates” if only we’d gotten married.
Does that mean no one should ever get married young? No. But the chances of having a successful marriage go up considerably. And if you have children, starting later is also much better statistically than having kids at a young age. Again, the reasons are pretty obvious.