Apparently, there is only a tiny window for a woman to marry that's considered the "right time."
This is because younger women in their 20s feel pressured by parents and friends to focus on education and career first. The idea is to establish yourself in the world BEFORE being "distracted" by love. Looking for a husband in your 20s apparently throws you back into a 1950s "white picket fence" mentality (which is now considered practically taboo and flies in the face of feminist ideals).
On the other hand, a woman of 35 suddenly wakes up to hear her biological clock ticking and feels pressure to find a husband (and fast!). As her eggs age minute-by-minute, friends and family mention the horrible "man shortage" and the shrinking potential for achieving marriage bliss at her "advanced age."
If the consensus is that a woman should stay single in her 20s, yet marry AND have children by her mid 30s, that is a small five-year time frame.
As a dating coach for women, I consider this "social wisdom" a sorry state and the absolutely wrong way to approach finding the right romantic partner.
To adhere to these social standards, women in their 20s often toss away perfectly good matches because they are not ready to settle down. Then, as they approach their 30s, the stress of finding a suitable partner in a hurry gives rise to complaints about a lack of "good men." This lament grows ever louder as women approach 40 and beyond.
Lori Gottlieb, author of Marry Him: the Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, admits to having lived through this herself. A few great guys got kicked to the curb with her thinking she could find many more wonderful men. She believed she had plenty of time. But panic set in as she neared 40 and she decided to have a baby on her own rather than miss out on her fertility.
I've read Lori's book and she isn't encouraging women to settle. Instead, she suggests women recognize the qualities of a good partner and consider a wider range of options. She also bares her soul regarding the false assumptions that sadly kept her single.
From discounting men because she had plenty of time, to feeling most men weren't good enough, Lori kept herself single for two and a half decades. She finally got serious, hired a dating coach, and fell in love. (I love a happy ending!)
So, when is the right time for a woman to get married?
The answer—when she finds the right man!
The best thing you can do when looking for love is honor a great match when you're lucky enough to find one. According to the US census, the average age a woman gets hitched is 26, and 28 for men (in 2012). Whether you are younger or older is not what matters; that is just statistical data.
What does matter regarding your decision to marry and the timing? Here's a good checklist to reflect on:
Do you love each other?
Do you respect each other?
Do you have fun together?
Does he treat you well?
Do you have similar values?
Do want the same things out of life?
Are you compatible?
These questions are a great start for determining if you have found the romantic partner you want to spend your life with. Of course, as a single woman you may have other considerations as well.
My advice as a dating coach is not to toss a good man aside simply because of timing. When you find the right guy who makes your heart melt, treats you well, and is there for you ... go for it!
If you or someone you know is struggling to find love, I am ready to help with expert dating advice and coaching. You can get more tips by downloading my FREE book 5 Big Turnoffs That Drive Men Away. And if you want to ask me questions directly, join the Inner Circle and call in on the first Monday of the month. My goal is to help you find love with the right man as quickly as possible and avoid the many potential pitfalls along the way.