According to a new report by the University of Virginia National Marriage Project called “Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America,” the age at which men and women marry is now at the highest of all time —27 for women, and 29 for men.
The report revealed that Americans of all classes are postponing marriage to their late twenties and thirties for two main reasons, one economic and the other cultural.
Ninety-one percent of young adults believe that they must be completely financially independent to be ready for marriage.
The report also mentioned that culturally, young adults have come to see marriage as a “capstone” rather than a “cornerstone”— something they do after they have all their other ducks in a row, rather than a foundation for launching into adulthood and parenthood.
The only question is: what if by the time they do have ‘all their ducks in a row,’ they have also lost the chances of meeting the right person and perhaps even gone past the biological time frame of birth-giving, for both males and females?
Hellen Chen, marital expert and bestselling author, whose recent book “The Matchmaker of the Century” became a bestseller in marriage and relationship books on Barnes and Noble, has a first-hand experience with men and women who would like to have children but missed the chances when they were younger.
Having developed the reputation of assisting those who have the least chance to find a right match to actually tie the knot, the unorthodox matchmaker said, “I get approached by individuals who are in their late 30s and 40s and even 50s. They are stable in their career and have the looks and the money. But they could not find a suitable match and many of them would like to have children.” said Chen.
Alice H, a media executive who has sought Chen’s help, is a typical example of a highly successful professional. She has been a dedicated worker in her career and has gone in and out of dating relationships. Now reaching 40, she would like to get married and have children. However, despite good looks and financial stability, she never thinks she would end up not having any prospects.
An established dentist Dr Ken approached Chen for finding a match. He would like to get married and have children. The only one strike against him: he is in his 50s. The eligible women who would fall in love with this quiet and shy doctor would have to be 10 years or more younger than him to bear children.
In an interview from her home in Los Angeles, Chen talks about timing and age. “You cannot be 20 or 30 twice. Timing plays a role in career and it also plays a big role in family. Putting families on the back burner tend to let it be forgotten. We cannot turn back the clock in lost time.”
About the notion that it is better to wait to have more money before embarking onto marriage, Chen explained, “People think that having no money means they should not marry. But family math is different. One plus one is always more than two. When you marry and then work together and produce together, you can create more economic stability and growth.”
Even for divorcees who had stepped back into marriage again, Chen witnessed that simply by having the marriage foundation drove them positively in their careers, no matter how established they were already in their careers.
“The power of love is great. ” Chen smiled. “If hardworking individuals could spend part of their time to take care of love matters like marriage, they will do much better in all aspects of life – career, personal development and having a family future to look forward to.”
To assist working professionals to learn about balancing career and family, Chen started a “Love You Forever” campaign.