More articles by

Dr D Narayana Reddy
Dr D Narayana Reddy


I do! But when?


A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research in the US found married as well as live-in couples to be happier in the stressful mid-life years in comparison to singles. The study showed that this happiness factor boiled down to the friendship and understanding between the partners that ultimately helped them overcome difficulties and lead life with a sense of satisfaction. Singles reported less life satisfaction as they did not have a companion to share their burdens.

The trend today in society is modernisation and independent thinking. Young men and women are beginning to take decisions about their education, career and marriage. Even arranged marriages have begun to incorporate the ideas of dating and compatibility. With the focus now on financial stability, stable careers and finding the right partner, the age of marriage is being stretched further each passing year. What are the implications of such a decision?

The age at which to marry must be made with a careful consideration of biological, psychological as well as social factors. A natural steroid hormone, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) that is produced in the adrenal glands and in the brain is known as the mother of all sex hormones. Studies have found DHEA to show positive results in relieving menopause symptoms as well as increase and improve the sex lives of women. The impact of this hormone peaks between 20 and 30 years and is found to decrease with age. So, irrespective of the choices one makes about career or marriage, the body has a sexual path that is more or less fixed. Decisions about delaying marriage, therefore, need to be made with considerable thought.

It may be argued that late marriages are beneficial to today’s youngsters. They can thus focus completely on their education and career. More number of women thus complete their education making them equal companions and decision-makers. The flip side is that individuals who peaked in their financial lives at a younger age will find it difficult to devote their later years to their love life.

Individuals who choose to marry late need to be aware of the fallout of such a decision. Couples who marry past their sexual peak years may have difficulties with their love lives. A marriage void of sex can create intimacy and bonding issues. Issues of individuality and perhaps a life with multiple sexual partners can become increasingly difficult to manage. Left unaddressed, these issues can lead to loneliness, insecurity and anger leading to infidelity, separation and divorce. Late marriage has a higher risk of late pregnancies, infertility, ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages and abnormalities. Even if childbearing is not a problem, late parenthood can be if issues like family bonding and generation gap surface.

Each individual must choose a suitable lifestyle after substantial evaluation. For example, a highly driven businessperson who has the potential to build a multi-crore industry and puts in 16 hours of work a day may resent marriage at age 25 as marriage may curb his dreams. If he continues to devote all his time to work, his new bride may be disappointed. Marriage, thus, may be a bad decision for both. A relationship involves two lives and all the accompanying complexities. An individual who is given the freedom to chose when to marry should carefully weigh all the consequences. Satisfaction in life follows when after such consideration one becomes ready to stand up for one’s decisions.

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The Week

Topics : #health

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