5 Signs You're Ready To Get Married In Your 20s

mbg Contributor By Sheryl Paul, M.A.
mbg Contributor
Sheryl Paul, M.A., has guided thousands of people worldwide through her private practice, her best-selling books, her e-courses, and her website. She has her master's in Psychology Counseling from the Pacifica Graduate Institute, and is the author of The Wisdom of Anxiety: How Worry and Intrusive Thoughts Are Gifts to Help You Heal.

There is no best age to get married that applies to everyone. You're never too old for it, and while it's very possible to get married before you're ready, it's often not necessarily because you're too young to marry. I'm continually amazed by the wisdom I see in certain young people today, which has led me to believe that marriage readiness based not on chronological age but true wisdom. Here's how to know if getting married in your 20s is a good idea for you.

The pros and cons of getting married young.

Considering the fact that about half of all marriages still end in divorce, it's certainly worth being cautious before you seal the deal on something that will be very emotionally and financially difficult to untangle yourself from later on. Generally speaking, there is rarely any reason to rush to get married. If you've found the person you're going to be with forever, there's no real difference between tying the knot now and tying the knot five years from now. You'll still be together and in love five years from now anyway, right?

That said, there are some benefits to getting married young. Yes, you may not possess a certain emotional or psychological maturity that can only grow with age. But you also avoid becoming too attached to things having to be exactly as you've expected them to be. In other words, if you haven't had time to develop your own routines and mindsets by living alone or with friends, it's going to be easier to develop the skill of compromise so necessary to a healthy marriage. If getting married young worked for our grandparents' generation, why wouldn't it work for us?

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Signs that you're ready to get married.

If you're in a committed relationship and wondering if you're old enough to get married, forget age and consider whether the following apply to you. These are signs that you're ready for marriage, whether you're getting married at 20 or 60:

1. You understand the difference between real love and infatuation.

When you're infatuated, you expect to feel in love all of the time. You expect your partner to be flawless, and you expect the "in love" feelings to last forever. This isn't reality, and if you're addicted to highs of the infatuation stage, you're probably not ready for marriage.

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2. You're ready to grieve the end of being single.

You're ready to let go of first dates, first kisses, the thrill of the chase. You're ready to let go of every other possible partner. You understand what it means to commit to one person for a lifetime. This is difficult at any age, but it requires particular attention if you haven't had much experience in the dating realm to begin with. And it's essential that you take time to acknowledge and grieve that you're saying goodbye to a stage of life.

3. Your reason for getting married has nothing to do with trying to feel secure, accomplished, successful, or free.

You understand that it's not your partner's job to fulfill you, complete you, rescue you, or make you feel alive. Marriage is not, as our culture suggests, meant to provide you with the answer to all of your problems. If you're marrying with the hope that marriage will fix your problems, it's best to wait and attend to your problems on your own first.

Additionally, if you're marrying to get away from your parents or to bypass religious restrictions on sex, it's better to wait. Marriage is not an escape hatch; it's the biggest commitment you'll ever make aside from having a child, and it's essential to be truly ready and not just running from something else.

A healthy marriage requires that two healthy, whole people come together to learn and grow their capacity to give and receive love. One truth about marriage: You should feel just as secure, accomplished, successful, and free whether or not you're married. You should feel fulfilled and complete, with or without your partner.

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4. You have a healthy way of handling conflict.

You and your partner can easily talk about difficult subjects. You may fight occasionally (that's normal), but you are always respectful of each other and can ultimately arrive at a healthy compromise. Lack of communication can erode relationships over time, no matter how in love you feel.

5. You are aligned in terms of core values.

You don't have to enjoy the same hobbies or interests to have a healthy marriage, but you do have to be on the same page regarding religion, having children, money, and spending time with family. You don't even have to share the same religion or have the same money style, but you do need to know how you'll handle future issues on these essential values.

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The bottom line.

Sit with the above five items. Discuss them with your partner. If you're ready for marriage, the answer will come to you.

Remember, maturity is often less a function of age as it is about having a certain wisdom and willingness to take responsibility. Certain people possess these qualities at a young age, and certain others never attain them at all.

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Sheryl Paul, M.A.
Sheryl Paul, M.A.
Sheryl Paul, M.A., has guided thousands of people worldwide through her private practice, her...
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