Wedding bells ring later in life

By Sara Story - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Americans are waiting longer than ever before to tie the knot. The most recent census report shows men and women are putting off marriage until they are nearly 30.

It's a modern fairy tale. Kaila Bell plans to go to law school. Jermahl Battee has a business degree and wants to open his own business. the young couple says marriage is on their to-do list, but not in the immediate future. "Before, it was the guy gets the job and the woman stays at home and takes care of everything. It's really changed now, because the woman can have a dominant role now," said Bell.

Bell and Battee's relationship mirrors a trend reflected in the most recent census report. Americans are waiting to get married. The national survey shows the average man gets married for the first time when he's 28 and women get married for the first time at age 26. Just ten years ago, men married at age 26 and women at age 25. "I think it is a societal shift as we become more of a technology-based society, requiring people to have a higher level of education," said Wade French, a marriage counselor in Tyler. French also believes young couples are learning from mistakes their parents made. As divorce rates skyrocket, couples are putting off marriage.

"A lot of these folks, as a consequence of that experience, do not want to put themselves through a divorce, nor do they want to put their children through one. So, they are a little more careful," said French. Battee added, "I saw that at a younger age, they [my parents] struggled with a lot of things, getting married early. I don't want to put myself in that situation. I would rather be more established at an older age."

As people wait to tie the knot, love experts say the days getting married young will be an exception to the rule.

The census report also shows that the number of adults who are married has declined, from 57% to 54% of Americans. Marriage counselors believe these trends will ultimately lower the divorce rate.

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