Marrying Too Early

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Elizabeth Suggs

Everyone talks about it. Once high school’s out and college starts up, there’s always someone new getting married. These are fresh adults. They want to do the best adult thing: Marriage. Why do this to yourself? Why risk a divorce? Why not wait?

For those affiliated with a religion that preaches abstinence before marriage: I get it. We, as humans, are designed to want to have sex. Getting married means satisfying a biological need. Without it, our species could not survive. That does not, however, mean you need to make your life harder.

Even if it has nothing to do with sex, a marriage will only last with enough thought and will behind it. If all you’re thinking about are your hormones, then you’re out of luck.

There are people out there that know each other for a month, fall in love, get married and are still happily married. It’s possible to have that relationship, but it’s not realistic to believe that’s where every relationship will go.

It’s not wrong to assume marriage can’t be good for you. A marriage, no matter the age, can be good for your health.

According to The Benefits from Marriage and Religion in the United States: A Comparative Analysis from the National Institute of Health, marriage can increase lifespan, help individuals recover from illnesses faster and have better mental health.

So, speeding up a relationship isn’t necessarily bad, right?

On the contrary to that, a rushed marriage between two (or more) parties could, according to a U.S. study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, have a more detrimental effect to your heart health.

Ted Huston, leading researcher on transitions in relationships, marriage and parenthood, created a long-term study called the PAIR project. In the PAIR project, Huston follows men and women through courting and marriage. In the study, he found those who were the happiest married waited over two years to get married.

This isn’t to say those who wait are divorce-free; it just may lighten the statistics. According to a CDC estimate, roughly 50 percent of all marriages have ended in divorce.

In the same study, it also addressed cohabitation and the likelihood of divorce after living together for some time. The reason to this is because of various unmet expectations including, but not limited to: race, sex, socioeconomic status and ethnicity. It is noted, however, that divorce after cohabitation has “weakened” recently because the likelihood of divorce for those who cohabited before marriage is less apparent.

Divorce doesn’t have to be a bad thing. However, by waiting, cohabiting before, and understanding where you stand as a person there could more likely be a happily ever after.