Is 26 actually the perfect age to get married?
The average UK bride is now 30.8 when she says, “I do”, while the average groom is 32.7, according to wedding planning website Bridebook.co.uk. But are your 30s really the best time to get married? According to your mates, they may be, but according to maths, it might be better to settle down a bit earlier - at 26, to be precise. The reason is something that maths types call ‘the 37% theory’.
The 37% theory says that, basically, to make the best decisions, we need to screen a range of options in a limited amount of time. Say you want to buy a new car: you can’t keep looking forever, or the good ones you see first will be gone, and you’ll still be getting the bus when you could have wheels. But you don’t want to choose too quickly either – if you’ve only seen one car, how do you know the next one won’t be better? According to the 37% theory, by the time you’ve seen just over a third of the options, you’ve got enough information to make a good decision, and yes – that applies to choosing romantic partners, too.
Most of us are looking for a serious love partner between 18-40, so when you’re 37% through that stage, you’ll be 26. In theory, you should have dated enough people to know what you’re really looking for (and what you’re not), but you won’t be so picky that you go on looking forever. Admittedly, the 37% theory isn’t perfect when it comes to love – it assumes that we have a good understanding of what we want in a partner by 26, while we can still change a lot by 40. But whether we’ve met the right person or not, the 37% theory does reassure us that 26 is the age when we can have faith in our relationship decisions.
Whether you buy into the 37% theory or not, there are a lot of good reasons why getting to settle down around 26 comes with some other major relationship perks…
- It’s a good time to get happy: 2017 studies show that married people are happier than their single counterparts. What better time to live with a smile on your face than your roaring 20s?
- You’ll be with your best friend: Marrying your best friend results in even more happiness according to Huffington Post; you’ll spend every day with the person you love – and like – the best.
- You’re not too young: Divorce statistics are higher for couples under-25. Although you’re still young, you’ve had time to go to uni or college, play the dating game, hang out with friends and start your career.
- You’re marrying for love: According to Love to Know, older people marry because they’re tired of being single, want to start a family or feel under pressure to commit. At 26, your main motivation is love.
- You’re carrying less baggage: In your mid-20s, there’s less chance either of you has any significant life baggage to carry into the marriage.
- It’s Cash Smart!: Two pots of cash are better than one – and if you’re saving for a new home, car or to start a family, your combined income puts you in a stronger position.
- You’ll finish growing up together: At 26, you still have your whole lives ahead and as you mature, you can support each other throughout.
- There’s no rush to start a family: According to 2016 ONS figures, over half of all births in England and Wales were to mothers aged 30 and over. If you’re planning a family around the same time, you’ve got at least four fabulous years to prepare.
- There’s a good chance you’ll celebrate your golden wedding anniversary: After 50 years of marriage you’ll be a spritely 76. A great time for a huge party to celebrate your amazing love story!
It is time to head to the chapel!