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The benefits of marrying in your early 20s
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"It's become an article of faith in contemporary culture that you should put off marriage so you can focus on your education and career first. Consequently, the average marrying age for both men and women has increased significantly over the past 50 years," McKay wrote. - photo by Mandy Morgan
In a recent article on The Art of Manliness, Brett and Kate McKay shared some of the benefits from their marriage, taking note that it took place when they were 22 and 24, respectively, which is considered young by today's standards.

"It's become an article of faith in contemporary culture that you should put off marriage so you can focus on your education and career first. Consequently, the average marrying age for both men and women has increased significantly over the past 50 years," McKay wrote.

In 1960 the median age for a first marriage was 23 for men and 20 for women, while it is 29 and 27 now, wrote McKay.

He noted that researchers from the National Marriage Project found that "culturally, young adults have increasingly come to see marriage as a 'capstone' rather than a 'cornerstone' that is, something they do after they have all their ducks in a row, rather than a foundation for launching into adulthood and parenthood."

However, McKay and his wife list some benefits of marrying young that have been discovered through his and others' research and experience, some of which include:

  • "You (and those you date) will be carrying less baggage," McKay wrote.
  • "You're more likely to marry someone with whom you're highly compatible," he said, citing a study that supported his viewpoint.
  • You grow together before you are too deeply rooted in your own ideologies and independent lifestyles.
  • "You'll have an easier time having kids, increase their chances of being healthy and be better able to keep up with them," McKay wrote.
In an article for The New York Times, W. Bradford Wilcox elaborated on what Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote about marriage in his majority opinion legalizing same-sex marriage. "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family," Kennedy said.

Wilcox takes the same stance. Although marriage does not always play as significant a role in many people's lives today as it did in earlier years, it is, in general, the best type of relationship to bring out the best qualities in people, Wilcox said.

There are exceptions among unmarried couples or devoted friends, but on average, no other relationship is quite like marriage, Wilcox wrote. It has to do with marriage being marked by "a public, dramatic expression of commitment that functions to make each spouse underline their commitment to one another," he wrote.

"Married couples are significantly more likely to share their bodies, their money and their lives, compared to cohabiting and dating couples," Wilcox wrote. "Not surprisingly, married Americans enjoy markedly happier relationships than do their fellow citizens in other types of other relationships."

A study he refers to by Steven Nock from the University of Virginia, published by Family Issues, found that those in cohabiting relationships expressed lower levels of commitment to their relationships, along with lower levels of happiness and poorer relationships with parents, compared with married people.