People who get married young are at higher risk of divorce: study

LETHBRIDGE – Marriage is a give and take relationship – words Heather and Paul Crápo live by every day.

She was just 17 years old and he was 19 when the young lovers first met.

“We started out as friends, talking and hanging out. One thing led to another, he asked me out on a date,” Heather said.

Two years later they tied the knot.

Married for almost a decade with two kids, the Crápos are still head over heels for each other. However, according to a new report, they might be the exception.

New research out of the University of Utah suggests the best age to get married is between 28 and 32. Those that marry younger are likely to get divorced, as they aren’t prepared for what comes after “I do.”

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Heather and Paul Crápo on their wedding day. DeLon Crápo submitted

“When you’re 18 to 20, you’re changing a lot. From year to year, you’re often a different person,” said professor Nicholas Wolfinger. “When you’re a little older, you know who you are, you know where you’re going, you’re more stable.”

Registered marriage and family therapist, Steven Thibodeau, notes age is important, but there are other things to consider.

“The successful marriage is built on a number of variables and factors,” he explained. “One of the critical factors is the level of maturity and the resources a couple has that they bring into a marriage.”

He said couples should also contemplate their readiness, commitment, ability to negotiate and their investment in the relationship – all things he believes will come with age.

“A person making a decision about a life at age 20 is less able to do that effectively than a person at age 28, because of their level of maturity,” he said.

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But the Crápos disagree.

“I believe it doesn’t matter how old you are; it’s how much commitment are you willing to put into your marriage,” said Heather.

“I think it might actually be an advantage to be a little younger and not have set yourself in life…To actually build it together, because then you’re a little more solid together,” added Paul.

They believe that solid relationship and dedication to their family is all that really matters.

Wolfinger’s research found those that marry in their late 30s and older are also more likely to get divorced.

For more information on his research on divorce and the Goldilocks theory of marriage, visit: “Getting married too early is risky, but so is getting married too late. Your late 20s and early 30s are just right.”


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