Marriage is a life-altering experience. Candidates looking to tie the knot should be mentally, psychologically and materially prepared before getting into this experience. But what is the right age to get hitched? The Observer polled a number of people for their perspectives on what they think the ideal age for marriage. A sizable 72 per cent of the respondents picked ages in the 25 – 32 years band. Taking the plunge can be “premature” if you’re younger than 25 – or “too late” if you’re older than 32, was the common refrain from the respondents.
“Looking at things from the groom’s standpoint, the stage of financially stability for men is usually reached when they are roughly 26 to 28 years,” said Abdulrahman, a marketing executive at a local automotive firm. “After all, the groom has to make sure he has financial resources to provide for his new bride, and the kids that will soon be part of the family. This will require investments, at the very minimum, in a house and other comforts of modern living. It’s imperative he has a stable job that earns him an income that will help him meet his aspirations. On top of these factors is the need for the groom to be mature enough to get married, given all of the responsibilities and obligations that come with married life.”
Marriage is a life-long commitment, the Muscat-based father of three emphasizes. “Thus, when you decide to tie the knot any time after 25 and before 32 years of age, you enjoy all the pleasures that bachelorship offers, such as travel, adventure, sports, and so on – pursuits that you may not have time for after marriage. But once you enter into wedlock, there’s no turning back! If you cannot commit to your relationship and the obligations that come with it, then it’s best you think twice before tying the knot.”
Ahmed al Siyabi, a psychologist, clarifies that there are lots of reasons why the late twenties and early thirties would make sense as a perfect time to start a lifelong relationship with your soul mate. At this age, both sides are old enough to understand if they really get along or are just infatuated with each other. At this age, they’ve already made significant life choices and taken on some responsibilities. And they may be just financially solvent enough to be able to contemplate supporting their significant other should the need arise, he points out.
The psychologist underscores the importance of financial stability in running a family. “One should not feel forced to get married because all their friends are married or feels shut out of the so-called ‘couples’ club’, or because their families insist on them getting married. The boy and girl must be ready to sacrifice happiness for the sake of each other.”
Besides, marriage can only be considered when the boy and girl feel they have reached a stage in their life they feel more confident and independent when having to take important personal decisions, without having to rely on their extended families. This sense of maturity will help underpin a strong and stable relationship, he noted.
On the other hand, there are people who insist that there is no ‘optimum age’ for marriage. Raya, a successful businesswoman, argues: “It is entirely up to the two parties looking to get married and living together for better or worse. I don’t believe in a right or wrong age for marriage. Of course, many people believe that girls should get married before they reach their 30s because of the ‘challenges’ of finding a good match if they are older. But I personally don’t buy that. One should get married when you are really prepared for marriage and only when you feel you’ve met your soul mate.”
For many young women, however, the time of marriage is dictated more by the perception – right or wrong – that men prefer to marry young girls. So it’s not surprising to find women taking all marriage proposals very seriously if they are not ready for marriage themselves. With society continuing to look unfavourably on single older women, young women gamely accept proposals for marriage even if they don’t believe they are mentally ready to tie the knot – squeamish about the possibility of being labeled as ‘maidens’ if they marry late.
Mai al Abria