Most of us reach a point in our lives where we look around, and suddenly realise that all our mates are either engaged or married. We’ve been so busy racing along in our own lives that it hadn’t occurred to us to join the loved-up marriage club except for the annoying subtle (not subtle) clues that our mothers drop every time we’re over for the weekly family dinner. “Oh darling, did I tell you that Carol’s daughter got engaged in Bali last week? Apparently the proposal was divine and they’re planning on starting a family RIGHT away! Isn’t that wonderful? How are things with you and Tim?”(*Cue eye-roll).
Somewhere in our twenties, we cross over from being ‘single and ready to mingle’, or ‘girls about town’, to girls who are ‘getting long in the tooth’, or who will be ‘left on the shelf’. (As for the worst saying of all, ‘making an honest woman of her’, well that one can fuck right off).
So is there a right age for getting married, and if so, what is it? Is there too young, or too old? Too soon, or not soon enough?
Here in Aotearoa, the earliest age you can get married is 18. That’s without your parent’s permission, that is. Yup, you can head down the aisle at the ripe old age of 16 if Mum & Dad give you the thumbs up. Otherwise, you need to wait until you are old enough to vote to join Club Marriage. (Side note: thank god we aren’t in Iran. You can be married off at the tender age of nine if you meet Mr Right. Or in Equador, marriage is allowed from the age of twelve. Nice one, ladies! Sorry, I mean girls.)
Now, I’m not one to talk. I got married two days after my 23rd birthday after getting engaged at 21. Why, you ask? Was he my childhood sweetheart and we always knew we were Meant-For-Each-Other? Hell no. I got married to escape my Catholic parent’s judgment of shacking up with my boyfriend of barely three months because we were ‘living in sin’. Yay me.
There isn’t a 23-year old I’ve met who is ready for marriage. Spoiler alert: mine did not work out, and mostly because of the reason I just mentioned. IMHO, you’re simply not mature enough to consciously couple with another person in your teens or early twenties for the REST OF YOUR LIFE when you’re barely a quarter of the way through your total lifespan.
But the second time around? I was twenty-nine, had lived in several countries around the world, was on a great career trajectory, done lots of traveling and partying, and it just felt right.
So you’re probably thinking, ‘What difference does six years make between your first and second time getting married?’
I like to call it a woman’s Time of Reckoning. And it usually hits around the age of twenty-seven. I’m yet to meet a female who has not experienced this ‘reckoning’ in some way, shape or form. Basically, we seem to grow into our own skin around this age. We know what we want, we generally know where we’re headed, we’ve kissed enough frogs to know who we are into (or not), we’re more grounded, accepting, worldly, and well, we just GET it. It all starts to make sense.
So don’t feel the pressure to run down the aisle before you’re absolutely ready to, even if you made a blood oath promise to your bestie when you were nine that you would have a double wedding. If you’re under the age of twenty-seven, my advice to you is don’t go there. Not yet.
Because despite what your mum might think, you have plenty of time.Support Villainesse