As your Facebook feed starts popping up more engagement announcements with classmates, batchmates and colleagues dressed in fanciful creations, posing with the solitaire on their fingers, the thought starts creeping in – What is the best age for an Indian girl to get married? Is it right after college before 25, or after gaining some work experience, probably at 30?
Let’s try and figure this out. We will round up some popular opinion, statistics, and some personal experiences to reach a conclusion. The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) released an interesting report in 2019. It states that 22.1 years is the average age for a girl’s marriage in India. This means that by the time a girl reaches the legally-marriageable age of 18 years, she probably has to get prepared mentally.
In some communities, a man may find himself betrothed to a teenage girl. Others may find their partners themselves, or marry quickly as per the family’s instruction.
However, with the rise in education, easy access to information and urbanisation, there has been a gradual change in the thought process which has led to the birth of ‘New age of marriage.’
The New Age of Marriage
A modern Indian woman – who is she? A contemporary mindset defines her in a certain way. She is someone who has her own preferences. Pursuing a career is an active choice she makes. She has a sense of personal fulfilment. The bench-mark age of 30 years makes enough time to get an education for most people. By then, one can lay the foundation of a steady career for the future. These are the parameters one would think suffice the decision-making process, but there’s travelling, or personal financial goals, or the need to find a partner who understands the lifestyle and ambitions of the young Indian woman. There are so many personal parameters already in place. They affect the timing of a woman’s marriage.
Hence, the answer is – it varies. There is no right answer, just as there is no wrong answer either. We set our ideals in college – a basic roadmap of where we’ll be in 10 years time. But then the 30th birthday looms closer, and the alarm bells start ringing in our ears.
This general panic turns up at significant birthdays. The pressure of marrying at the right age can overshadow important life events. Our priorities vary greatly, and we often forget this when it comes to marriage. Eligibility for marriage is not to be measured by the same yardstick. In fact, this is not just applicable to women, but men too.
So When is the Right Time?
A young girl may decide that a life of domesticity and motherhood would fulfil her personal dreams and ambitions. In that case, even the age of 19 years is an acceptable age to get married.
Similarly, a woman may wish for a large family of her own. For this, she may want to marry early and raise children in her prime. Such a couple would have more energy and time to spend with their kids. Another advantage is the relatively smaller generation-gap between the parents and children. However, it is challenging to raise kids without financial stability. Most people in their twenties don’t have stable careers.
A strong career graph may be a priority for another woman. For her, marriage goes on the backseat of her life.
In this case, one may choose to marry between the age of 28-32 years, while also pursuing a career. Or perhaps a woman may choose to reduce her workload and focus on being a homemaker for a few years. These decisions are very independent in nature, but when it comes to marriage, every choice can be subject to questioning.
This brings us back to the threat of turning 30. A man can be an eligible bachelor beyond 30 years of age. A woman does not enjoy the same relaxation for her age. There’s no denying this fact.
This is the most common age-bracket for marriage in urban India, particularly for women. Rural India poses its own set of challenges, and early marriages are certainly more common in a more rural set-up.
There is a Lot to Consider
There are different scenarios that a young woman may find herself in. The best age-bracket for marriage is a personal choice. To answer simply, anyone – man or woman – should get married when they feel they are ready. But the reality is far from simple. Society follows a set of social norms and traditions. It is led by a sense of judgement within the community. This unspoken code makes women question their true feelings about getting married.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely that of the author and not of DusBus.