I've been wanting to post this quote for a while, just as a gentle (OK, not so gentle) reminder…

After I wrote "Committed", people asked me all the time if I'd learned the secret to a happy marriage. My facetious answer is that there isn't any secret. (If there were one, clearly it would have leaked out long ago, because humans are notoriously bad at keeping secrets, right?) My self-depricating answer is that I AM THE LAST PERSON ANYONE SHOULD ASK, given the hours I've logged in divorce court. But my more thoughtful answer is that the very best hope you can have for a successful marriage (based on every statistical sociological study on earth) is to delay matrimony for as long as you can.

There are exceptions, of course. I know a few happily married people who tied the knot at around age 18. But they are EXCEPTIONS — truly exceptional exceptions, to be sure.

Because every shred of evidence out there points to the reality that the older you are when you get married, the happier your life is likely to be. The more education you have before you get married, the happier your life is likely to be. The later in life you have children, the happier your life is likely to be. The more engaged you are in the world outside of your home, the happier your life is likely to be. This is true for both sexes, but especially true for women.

You can see it in the charts — the divorce rate just dips and dips and dip as couples marry older and older and older. Your chances of getting divorced if you marry before the age of 20 are close to 80%. But then the divorce rate declines from there, lowering with every year. There is a giant industry of romantic misinformation out there misleading women into thinking that, if they aren't married by 30, something is wrong with them. Whereas the statistical reality is quite the opposite: 30 is just about the right age to maybe START thinking about marriage. Wait till you're 40, better still. The women who consistently report themselves happiest in their marriages, across the board, were older brides. I have a friend who just got married for the first time at 50, and I was delighted to inform her that her likelihood of ever divorcing is basically a statistical impossibility! (That made for a romantic wedding toast, no?)

So put off marriage, yes, but don't put off building your own life. Get your education. Follow your passions. Build a place for yourself in the world. Then find yourself a good partner, when you're smart enough to recognize what a good partner is. Because older is better, guys, when it comes to managing the complicated shoals of love and commitment. This is information I really could have used at age 24 (NOT THAT I WOULD HAVE LISTENED) and so I pass it on to you today, free of charge.

Good love to all, good luck to all…

via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall