Traditionally, for Malay families, early marriages is encouraged with the excuse of preventing pre-marital sex and parenting children as soon as possible.
However, I got married at 34, which is a little later than the statistical average in Malaysia, which is around 26 to 28 years of age.
I did not plan to get married in my 30s, nor am I partaking in a modern hipster millennial movement to marry later to make a social statement. My wife & I simply did not find anyone that were the best match for us until we met each other.
Sounds corny, but we just let it come naturally until we met each other and things made a lot of sense.
After the dust settled after the wedding, here’s why I think it’s better to get married in my 30s compared to if I were to do it in my 20s:
Note that this article is my opinion on this subject.
Pros #1: Developed Character
This is a big one, at around 30 years of age, even if you don’t have your life figured out (let’s be honest, who has), you’d at the very least have a somewhat developed character compared to when you were in your 20s.
A developed character, to me, means:
- You have shaped your own style and personality.
- You know who and what to prioritize.
- You know what you’re good at & roughly what you want out of life.
- Know what you don’t want.
It’s hard to think if I were to get married in my 20s because I don’t even know who I am at that age. I can’t imagine adding the responsibility of a spouse & kid on top of still figuring out who I am.
I respect those who did get married in their 20s and grew together as a family.
Pros #2: More Disposable Income
If you stuck to the same career from graduation, chances are, you’d probably be mid to upper level management by the time you hit your 30s.
Being good at what you do, and progressing up your career often means that you typically would earn enough to have disposable income and savings.
The first thing that my wife and I noticed, is that we both had enough savings to pay for our wedding gifts for one another without going into debt or borrowing from family members:
- Gifts for one another (hadiah hantaran).
- Wang hantaran (dowry) for my wife.
- All the rings to my wife (cincin merisik, cincin tunang, and cincin kahwin).
I wouldn’t be able to afford most of the stuff I did during our wedding if it weren’t for consistent savings and some attempts in investing & running a business in my 20s.
Pros #3: Housing & Car Sorted
I bought a small studio apartment in Kuala Lumpur while I was still working as an engineer.
When COVID-19 broke out and all hell broke loose, my Airbnb business collapsed & I decided to stay in it because it was hard to sell or rent out.
Things worked out well for my wife & I, as we decided to stay in the studio for our first 1 or 2 years of marriage until we have kids (hopefully), and need to move in to somewhere bigger.
I decided to invest around RM15,000 for a small renovation job to spruce the place up for her to move into my apartment in comfort. All she had to do was to pack her stuff in a bag and move in.
In comparison, if we were to get married in our 20s, we might not have a place of our own, and would most likely have to stay with one of our parents, or have to rent a place close to where both of us work until we figured out where to live together.
We both also have our own car to go to work. Most Malaysian families need 2 cars because husband & wife work in separate locations. For most new families, this means, they may already have 1 car, but they need to buy another one.
But in our case, we both already have our own cars, so there’s no more added expenses for living together.
We both are very grateful that our home & transportation were sorted.
Pros #4: Better Wedding Gifts From Friends
This is my favorite. If you get married in your 30s, chances are, your circle of friends are also in their 30s and somewhat financially stable as well.
What this means is, you’d generally get higher quality and well-thought-out wedding gifts.
Here are some that we absolutely love & appreciate:
- Robot vacuum
- Coffee machine
- Cast iron pans
- Fancy dining wear & chopping boards
- Decorative luxury vase
- Food processors
- Pressure cooker
These are stuff that we originally thought we didn’t need, but after owning and using it, we learned to appreciate how it improved our quality of life.
I remembered during my 20s, I had to buy a wedding gift for my friend who was the same age, but I had no idea what to get him, nor did I have enough disposable income.
I wasn’t alone. After the wedding, my friend told me that he got 4 toasters and 3 cheap irons as last-minute wedding gifts from our circle of friends who were clueless like me.
Con of Getting Married in Later than 20s
There’s only 1 con that I can think of for marrying late in life, but it’s a big one.
I am no doctor, but biologically speaking, women tend to be less fertile the older they get.
So if both of you want to have kids, you’d have to factor the possibility of a slightly lower chance of conceiving.
Have a serious chat with your partner-to-be and consult a professional on the possibility of in-vitro fertilization, egg cryo-preservation, or surrogate pregnancies.
Overall, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting married later in your 30s than the Malaysian statistical average.
Despite what your parents may say, ultimately, getting married is YOUR choice. It’s better to take it easy and find someone you’re most compatible with rather than rushing into a marriage due to societal pressure with someone you’re not compatible with.
In fact, I’d recommend all of my friends to get married after they hit their 30s for all the reasons I listed above.
For more stories like this, read: How I Got Laid Off Twice.
Disclaimer: In Real Life is a platform for everyday people to share their experiences and voices. All articles are personal stories and do not necessarily echo In Real Life’s sentiments.
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