Have sex, but save marriage

Allison Pritchard

Back in the day, young people went to college in expectation of finding a suitable husband or wife. Now, people realize that marrying young may not always turn out as a blissful success.

This isn’t the ’20s, ladies and gentlemen. We know that many high school sweethearts who marry end up divorced. Numerous Web sites and books give different statistics when it comes to divorce rates. One common factor they share, however, is that the younger people are when they get married, the more likely they are to divorce.

According to a 2002 analysis of the National Survey of Family Growth, half of marriages for women under the age of 18 end in divorce within 10 years. The divorce rate drops to 24 percent for those married at age 24 or older. The high divorce rate for those who marry young may have to do with lack of life experience, financial problems or just incompatibility, among many factors.

The idea that 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce is misleading. If 50 percent of marriages end, this means the same person could marry and divorce 10 times, and 10 couples could get married and never divorce. The 50 percent rate has to do with marriages, not individual persons.

Statistically, some factors can decrease a chance of divorce, such as going to college, having an annual income more than $50,000, having a baby seven or more months after marriage, marrying after 25, having parents who aren’t divorced and others, according to the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University.

The somewhat surprising trend these days seems to be to that people do usually get married at an older age. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median age an American woman gets married at is 25 and a man at 27.

People who marry later have more time to “figure things out” before being saddled with the stress of a partner, children and other adult responsibilities. Older people usually have better communication skills with their partners because they have had more life experiences behind them. Older couples also usually have more money, more education, more confidence and more problem-fixing skills.

People from our grandparents’ generation have a decreased divorce rate. Life has thrown many more obstacles and expectations to newer generations. Widespread college education, on-the-job demands, intensive use of technology and other new-fangled problems only add to stress.

A lifetime commitment isn’t something to jump into. Take some time to explore some other people or life experiences. People change. My grandma always said to date as many people as possible, and I don’t think she was telling me to be a slut. Youth gives us the time to try people out.

We aren’t expected to graduate, get married and settle down. These days we can have booming careers, home lives, extracurricular lives, adventures, friends and lovers. We need to allow room for growth and exploration. College is a time to try relationships. Give it your all, and see what happens. If it isn’t making you happy anymore, try out someone else.

We don’t have to figure everything out right away anymore. There’s time to change your mind. Find what makes you happiest and go with it.

Allison Pritchard is a senior electronic media production major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].