How do you go about finding a mate? How we answer that question may depend on our culture and our time in history. In America it is assumed that a person will date a number of people, starting in high school or soon after, before making a decision. It’s assumed that a person needs to get know different kinds of people so that they can figure out with whom they can find the best match. Over the course of time, they might meet someone they feel comfortable with and wish to commit the rest of their lives. Although some couples create pre-nuptial agreements protecting assets they bring into a marriage, that rarely happens the first time around. For one thing they often bring very few assets into the relationship, and the romantic vision has yet to be tainted by broken relationships.
The age at which marriage first occurs is getting later every year. Over the past thirty years the median age at which couples get married has increased from 24.7 for males and 22.0 for women to 28.2 and 26.1 in 2010. That might not seem like a lot at first glance, but a lot happens in four years time. One of the differences between that earlier day and today is that there is a growing trend, especially among women, to first get established in the work force and then begin looking to settle down, get married, and perhaps have children.