It's sort of an odd coincidence: Most everyone in my mom's family (her mom, her sisters...) got married when they were 22. And although I haven't given much thought to is the age I'd like to be when I tie that knot, I did find myself going though a bit of self-doubt when I turned 22.

Then, when my best friend got married a few years ago, I found myself bringing out the old metaphorical yardstick yet again. It's not that I actually wanted to get married right then; I just wondered if I should be. With so many of my peers marrying in their mid- and late-20s, the whole subject of marriage was hard to ignore.

"The peer pressure to marry doesn’t necessarily suggest a problem with marriage itself, but a lack of other cultural models," says psychologist Lyla Cicero. "This results in a lot of people choosing marital and family structures by default rather than by intention -- a kind of compulsory monogamy."
And, as it turns out, the mid-20s is the perfect time to get married, at least according to new research. Having higher education, financial security and a firm sense of your goals and values in your mid-20s make for a perfect marriage recipe -- and lower the chances of going down the divorce path.

But honestly? I don't want to get married until I'm ready, not when my peers or society think I should be ready. I think a lot of women -- and men -- feel this way too. Marriage, at the core, is such an individual thing. It can't be placed on some sort of arbitrary time table, full of neat little boxes of steps to check off. It's something you have to feel in your heart instead of calculate in your head.

So, I'm curious, friends: Are you married? How old were you when you got married? Did you feel any of that peer pressure? Would you do things differently now if you had the chance? If you're not married, do you envision yourself being married by a certain age? xoxo

[Photos by superbomba and Rachel Thurston]


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