Why To Wed In Your 30s, Ladies

Are you nearing 30 and feeling a sense of panic with each passing birthday and bridesmaid’s dress? Relax! Two authors explain why waiting to marry increases your odds of achieving long-term marital bliss.

By Chelsea Kaplan

o wedding or engagement ring by 30? No problem! According to Shannon Fox and Celeste Liversidge, coauthors of Last One Down the Aisle Wins, “statistics show that if you wait and marry closer to 30, your chances of having a healthy, long-lasting relationship more than double.” So, ladies, rather than spend your twenties hunting for the perfect mate, Fox and Liversidge recommend focusing your energies towards having the kinds of experiences that will help you fully develop into the person who will be completely ready to find The One when you turn 30. Below, we asked for their best tips on how to ready yourself to one day meet your real Mr. Right. Their answers might surprise you...

Why do you think so many women feel as though they HAVE to find a husband in their twenties? Are these thoughts based on common misconceptions?

There are three particularly common reasons why women rush to get married. The first one happens when a woman has seen a million of her friends get married and becomes obsessed with wondering, “When will it be me?” There’s nothing wrong with longing to be married, but the desire to satisfy that longing can often become the prime motivation for marrying someone. Women who think
When it comes to marriage, two halves definitely do not make a whole.
like this risk making the wedding itself their primary focus, and the guy and the marriage almost become secondary to achieving this goal... which is, of course, a recipe for disaster!

The second risk shows up when a woman’s biological clock starts ticking. Once it does, a woman can become so worried that she’s not going to be able to have babies if she waits for Mr. Right to show up that she’s willing to settle for Mr. Right Now and start trying immediately. And while it’s true that female fertility begins to decline at age 35, if you wait until your early thirties to marry, you’ve still got plenty of time to have babies.

Lastly, some women get married too young because they don’t want to deal with the harsh reality of supporting themselves financially — or don’t believe they can do so without help. Unfortunately, these women are robbing themselves of the chance to develop the confidence and self-respect that comes from knowing you can make it on your own. These same women fail to learn the skills needed to effectively manage their relationship with money.

Why is it a good idea to wait until after you’re 30 to try and find a husband?

The statistics clearly show that marrying someone when you’re too young puts increases the risk of that marriage ending in divorce. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, if you wait until after the age of 25 to get married, your chances of staying married more than double! The old “50 percent of marriages end in divorce” statistic is cut in half if you just wait a little while longer to take the plunge.

In your book, you write that a woman brings a different “self” into a marriage once she’s developed into a more “whole” person during her twenties. How so?

When it comes to marriage, two halves definitely do not make a whole. Taking the time to develop into your best, most complete individual self before you marry allows you to bring vital ingredients to the table; you are more confident, you know who you are (and more importantly, who you’re not), you have a better idea of what you need from a potential husband and what it means to be a good wife. You have control of your finances and aren’t overly needy or volatile. You’ve achieved a healthy separation from your family and won’t end up feeling resentful for the adventures or passions you wish you would’ve pursued during your younger, single years. In short, you are able to come into the marriage as an equal partner, because you’re a grown-up.

What should a woman know about her finances before getting married — and why are her twentysomething years the perfect time to figure all of that out?

Money is a huge, hot-button issue for women in addition to being one of the top three reasons people get divorced.
Your twenties are when you have ample free time to spend with the girls
People sometimes think that getting a handle on your finances means learning how to budget or finally starting that 401(k). But the truth is that — especially for women — money is an issue that is fraught with emotions. Your single years are the perfect time to develop a good personal relationship with money before it has the chance to become a destructive force in your marriage. When women let their feelings about money rule their actions, they increase the risk of making a poor decision when choosing who to marry. If you really believe that you need a man to take care of you, then you’ll be more likely to settle for the first guy who has the ability to wipe your debt slate clean and offer you financial stability.

You also write that a woman should work through any body image/confidence issues in her twenties before finding someone to marry. Can you explain this a little bit more?

Taking the time to develop a healthy body image before you settle down is crucial for a happy marriage and, particularly, for guaranteeing you’ll have a happy, healthy sex life. Of course, most women struggle to some extent with body image and body dissatisfaction, but if a woman doesn’t manage to get to a place of acceptance with her imperfect body before she marries, it can have devastating effects on her relationship with her husband. In fact, 67% of the men we surveyed reported that their wives’ negative body image caused serious issues in the marriage. Sex-related problems in the marriage are also amongst the top three reasons for divorce.

Can you discuss the importance of building a network of friends and mentors while you’re in your twenties and how it can make a woman better prepared for marriage in her thirties?

Often, women enter into marriage with the delusion that the husband should be their sole or main source of emotional intimacy or support. Well, we’re here to tell you: that is not how the typical guy is wired! You need girlfriends — the really good kind — to help you figure out what you want and need in life. They’ll be a constant source of support as you marry, have babies, watch in horror as your body changes, or when your daughter starts dating the town rebel. It’s a proven fact that women who enjoy solid, long-lasting relationships with other women are happier, less stressed and live longer as a result. Your twenties are when you have ample free time to spend with the girls, before you bring a husband or child into the mix. That’s why it’s also a great time to develop those lifelong friendships.

What types of adventures would you recommend that a woman try to pursue or experience in her twenties before getting married?

The possibilities are really endless — teaching in Japan, for example, or climbing Machu Picchu. But we encourage women to have regular day-to-day adventures in addition to chasing the big ones. That might mean finally taking that belly dancing class you’ve been wondering about or taking a new route home from’s all in the attitude. When you approach your life with a sense of adventure, you’re building confidence every time you challenge yourself and you’re less likely to find yourself 10 years down the road, saying: “I wish I’d tried _____________________________ when I had the chance.”

Chelsea Kaplan is deputy editor of and regularly appears as a guest on XM Radio’s “Broad Minded.” Her blog, “I’m Somebody’s Mother?” can be found at
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