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Is marrying later in life a problem?

middle age couple

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Marzena Devoud - published on 10/19/22

There are pros and cons to marriage later in life ... here's what one psychologist says about that.

Is getting married late a good or a bad idea? Is there an ideal age to get married?

For Camille Rochet, psychologist and couples therapist, the answer is “no.”

“Of course, they say that the big decisions of life are made before the age of 30. Yes, it may be easier, especially because women’s biological clock allows them to have children more easily at that age. But aside from that concern, I don’t think there’s an ideal age to get married. It’s a personal question,” she says.

Swiss psychologist Gisela Labouvie-Vief conducted a study of people over 45 years of age and it revealed, among other things, that age provides a greater capacity to create a happy relationship. 

According to Labouvie-Vief, people in their 40s and 50s are more capable of smoothly reconciling conflicts between their own needs and those of their spouses.

The fear of thinking outside the box disappears later in life; life experience makes us more flexible, more curious about others, and more authentic. All these traits inspire confidence and bring a large dose of serenity to a couple.

According to Labouvie-Vief, this potential for forming a lasting marriage comes from the fact that between the ages of 40 and 50, our emotional experience becomes deeper and more harmonious. It allows us to open up our inner life in a richer, more vivid, more attractive way … Isn’t this one of the keys to a happy life together?

Couples who marry late, and I know many of them, have waited so long for their life together and for starting their family that they’re prepared to give themselves to their spouse in an often extraordinary way. As they’ve been able to take advantage of their single life to realize some of their dreams, to acquire experiences, and to blossom, they become very generous in welcoming their spouse once the decision to marry has been made,” explains Camille Rochet.

This form of wise love, she continues, is possible because the two know each other well: “They’ve learned little by little to cultivate their ‘personal garden’ and are equally motivated to nurture the shared one of the couple,” she adds.

3 Tips for being ready to commit

Of course, there are real obstacles to late marriage. In particular, it can be a problem when both people are too settled in their former lives, characterized by a great deal of freedom. It isn’t always easy to give that up in favor of family responsibilities and constraints. With marriage, both people have to move on from their entrenched lives.

“The situation of mature couples has nothing to do with that of young couples who are starting their professional and social lives,” says the psychologist. Indeed, it’s not always easy to change jobs to join one’s spouse, or to give up one’s apartment to move in with the other. For some people, leaving the life they had before can be complicated. It requires real work to make the transition to a new life together. On top of that, the wounds accumulated during the years of single life can appear and weaken the couple.

How can you prepare for a late marriage? What are the attitudes you need to succeed in life together? Here are 3 tips from Camille Rochet:

Be ready to question everything

Many couples who get married late in life meet through social networks or dating sites, or within a wider circle. Consequently, there are often differences in background, environment, and culture between the two spouses, which can cause misunderstandings or disagreements, especially regarding the education of children. It’s essential to pay attention to these differences of opinion, to accept them and to manage them on a daily basis. Being ready to question yourself completely in order to welcome the other is essential to a successful marriage.

Be ready to accept not being biological parents

The woman’s biological clock is a real issue in late marriage. The chances of having children are less than for younger couples. This pressure can cause anxiety (fear of not having children) and/or suffering (realizing you can’t have children), which are difficult for a couple to manage. It’s important to talk about this before the wedding and to reach an understanding of how a couple can be fruitful in other ways.

Be prepared to adjust spiritually

In late marriages, both spouses arrive with their own faith life history. Each has grown in their spiritual life in their own way. Sometimes one has an intense prayer life, while the other is far from it, more in questioning and doubt. It’s important to reflect together on your differences and to see how to accept each other’s journey with flexibility. In this way you can adjust gently and connect spiritually while respecting the inner freedom of each person.

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