When should people marry?

jillu asks: When will I get married?

Hi jillu –


Well of course I’m just a dog, not a psychic, so I can’t give you any great knowledge about what day, month, or year you’ll get married.

But I can talk about when you should get married, and when you shouldn’t.

We hear every day about fights, separations, and divorces, that come from couples marrying when they weren’t quite ready.  So often young people are in a huge rush to get married, and my advice is to Hold Back!  People are changing so much, even in their 20’s, that I am hesitant to support anyone getting married before they’re 25 at least.  Sure, you might look back at your grandparents or great-grandparents and see that they married that young and stayed together for the rest of their lives – but things were different then.  There were fewer pressures driving couples apart, and much more societal pressure keeping them together (even if they were really unhappy).  Also, people are living longer today than ever before, and keeping healthy and youthful a lot longer too, so a marital contract today is intended to last into people’s 90’s or more, which wasn’t the case even 50 years ago.

(On the other hand, I met Handsome and got a license to stay with him when I was three months old, and we’re ecstatic together, so who am I to talk?!)

So when should you get married?  I’m not an expert, but here are some things I’d make sure of first:

a)    You are mature enough to know what you want in your life, and who you really are.

b)    The two of you have known each other long enough to know that you get along, even through difficult times.

c)    You have met and spent time with each other’s family and friends, and you’re okay with the idea of adopting them as your new family and friends.

d)    You know and really respect each other’s deepest values – including religious beliefs, politics, loves, fears, and attitudes toward fidelity and family.

e)    You also know and respect each other’s shallower values – how much TV you each watch, what music you like, what makes you laugh, how much you shop, favorite sports, books, magazines, clothes, etc.

f)      You have discussed what sort of home you would have together.

g)    You have discussed whether or not you want to have children, how many, and whether you’d adopt if you weren’t able to make them yourselves.  (This one is HUGE, by the way!)

h)    On that note, you’ve discussed pets!  If one of you wants three big dogs who stay inside, and the other just wants a Persian cat who stays outdoors, you’re going to have trouble living together!

i)      You have discussed your Finances – including showing each other what money and property you have, and how you would want to share or split it (separate or joint checking accounts, who keeps what part of their pay, etc.) (Along with the kid one, this is probably the one that causes the most tension)

j)      And last but far from least, you’re positive that you both really want to do this.  Marriage is a gigantic commitment, probably the largest you’ll ever make, and it should be entered only when you are absolutely sure you two want to stay together forever.  Handsome was watching a movie once where a couple is in a car accident on the way back from their wedding, and the husband gets paralyzed from the waist down.  If that happened, would you want to stay with him?  That’s a great thing to think about before you enter into this.

Okay, jillu, that’s the most I can do on this count.  So here’s my big wish for you:  That as soon as you feel mature enough to make this choice, someone will step into your life who offers you all the things I listed, and that you two are able to marry, and know forever that, however rough things get (and they always do), you made the right decision.  It’s that sureness that will get you through the firestorms of love and family.

All my best,




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