Best Age to Marry in Malawi

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What is the best age to marry in Malawi?

This is a trending question. Many Malawians ask this question on social media. It is also one of the questions that my friends and I discussed a lot when we were at college, years ago.

In all the discussions I have participated regards to this topic and from the responses I read on Facebook, I found none of them were based on research. And there is no one who suggested any specific age to marry in Malawi.

As a matter of fact the dominant response was that there is no best age to marry in Malawi. Everyone, marries at their choice age, and thus best for them.

With more and more people asking the same question, I realized that there are many people interested to know the best age to marry.

Hence, this post tempts to answer the old long question “What is the best age to marry?”  Is it 20 or 30? Let’s find explore.

According to sociological researcher Nicholas Wolfinger, the best age to get married is between 28 and 32. Marrying earlier before 28 or late after 32 years increases rates of divorce.

What, 28…? Yes, statistics from his research indicates that there is a relationship between the age of a person marries and the divorce rate. People who marry within the recommended age range are likely to stay longer in marriage that the others.

Of course, issues of divorce are complex such and there are many other factors.  Age is just one of them.

And so according to the findings rate of divorce for people who marry between 28 and 32 is 10%. At this age range, the rate of divorce is lowest compared to other ages.

Chances of a couple breaking up in the first five years of marriage are lowest within this age range because people are financially stable and understood themselves better. As a result, they are able to able to easily adapt to changes that lifestyle and habits.   

The divorce rate is highest among couples who marry in their teens (38%) while divorce rate for those who marry in the early twenties is 27%.

Among other reasons, people who marry before 28 are less prepared for marriage. It is hard for teens to easily find the best companion because they haven’t understood themselves better.

The teen stage is the time where youths are trying out things to understand their identities. Furthermore, many teens are financially insecure because they are either still school or unemployed.  

In 2017, Malawian bishops reported that there are increased divorce rates in Malawi because youths get married before they are prepared. This is not surprising since most youths in the country marry before the best age of 28-32.

Many Malawians below the age of 28 are in college and they are not financially stable.

Goldlocks Theory of Marriage and Late Marriages

Is late marriage the best?

Maybe it is, maybe it is not                                        

Well, according to Nicholas findings, people above 32 are not married material. The odds of divorce start to increase beyond 32 with an average of 5% for every year added.

Chances of divorce in the first five years of marriage for people who are 35 or above are 17%. This observation agrees with the old age “Goldlocks Theory of Marriage”

The theory states that when you marry too early, divorce rates are high, and so is the case when a person marries too late.

While divorce rates are high in early marriages due to lack of preparation for marriage and long-term relationship, marrying too late also has shortfalls.

Singles above years according to Nicholas, will have difficulties in adapting to new changes in lifestyle, habits, career, and hygiene required in marriage.  For this reason the changes for divorce increase by 5% for each more year from 35.

Reaching this far, I hope you know that the best age to marry in Malawi (and elsewhere) for both men and women is between 28- 32.

This, however, does not mean that people who wed at different ages than the above will always end into divorce. There are always exceptions.

Every relationship is unique. At the end of the day, everyone makes their own choices.

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