peer advice, support, inspiration

Q + A

Q:How old should you be when you get matched? I have a lot of friends who are getting matched or trying to get matched, and my parents have started asking me if there’s anyone I’m interested in. I feel like I’m mature and I think I’m ready to be in a relationship, but for some reason I’m hesitating. I feel pressure from my parents and all of my friends who are making the leap. What should I do?


Josh Swenson

Josh Swenson

Josh says…

Dear Reader:

Thanks for the great question! There are a lot of things to consider when deciding when you should start the matching process; and it’s ultimately going to be different for everyone. However, I think it’s better to wait until you’re older. Shoot for twenty-five! If you’re sixteen or seventeen and you’re thinking about going to the Blessing, it’s not even a question: just don’t do it. Parents, please don’t support your kids going to the Blessing at sixteen or seventeen.

In the Unification Church people start to wonder what’s wrong if you’re not married by twenty-one; but twenty-one is so young! At twenty-one, you’ve hardly finished maturing physically – and you’re probably not stable financially or emotionally either. Don’t get matched just because you want someone to make you happy, because your parents want you to, or because it’s what everyone else is doing. There’s a lot of social pressure telling you that you need to be in a relationship RIGHT NOW. But it’s good being single! The First Great Blessing comes before the second. When you are single you get to pursue your interests and education, develop your personality and friendships, and find out what you love. Of course you continue to do grow when you are matched and blessed, but being in a relationship can get in the way of your personal growth and development.

Although they don’t regret being married, many of my friends who were matched and blessed young wish they had waited until they were older; they wish they could have had more time to develop themselves and pursue opportunities without having to consider another person. I thought it would have been really cool to work on a fishing boat in Alaska or teach English in a foreign country after graduating; since I was recently matched, however, my priority became developing my new relationship, and so I moved to California instead.

If you’ve never lived on your own or taken care of yourself, it will be challenging to take care of another person. However, if you’ve taken the time to develop yourself – if you are happy and whole on your own – then you will have much more to give in a relationship. Take time to develop yourself outside of your parents’ house and outside of gap year programs like GPA and NGA. Find out who you are and own your decision to be matched.

The average marriage age in America is twenty-eight, by the way.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself before starting the matching process:

How well can you take care of yourself?

Have you lived on your own and out of your parents’ home (not on GPA/NGA)?

Do you know how to cook, clean, shop for groceries, pay bills?

Do you know how to handle emotional stress?

Do you have a healthy support system, a regular spiritual practice?

Why are you making this decision?

Who is telling you that you should be matched right now?

Are you ready for a lifelong commitment?

What do you want to do with your life?

How much time do you have for a relationship right now?

How would being in a relationship affect your life path?

If you would like to have us answer one of your questions, please go to Submit a Question

Come back on Monday for an article on the topic of “I’m matched… but am I ready to go to this Upcoming Blessing?!” We’ve collected advice from young blessed couples and we are finally ready to share some of their great advice with YOU. Receive email updates by following our blog… Just enter your email address and click on the “follow” button on the top of the right hand panel.

~ Matching Mentor

8 comments on “Q + A

  1. Kyong Sook
    March 14, 2014

    “Shoot for twenty-five!” – Great answer!
    The pressure to get matched early really is uncomfortable, so hearing a fellow BC say this feels like a relief.

  2. laravoelker
    March 14, 2014

    Thank you for being realistic and honest. I’ve seen so many of my friends’ marriages struggle-and fail-because they were too young and unsure of their own purpose or value. They were unable to handle challenges and faced disappointment when their imperfect spouse failed to fix all their emotional issues. Marriage isn’t easy and most teens are extremely ignorant (or in denial) about that reality. I’m so glad I waited until my 20’s (got matched at 23) to get married because I know how to make myself happy independently of my husband. My relationship with him augments and deepens an already fulfilling life. Getting matched and blessed in your twenties should be the goal, not the exception. Again, I really appreciate this realistic and helpful post.

  3. Sean Sabo
    March 14, 2014

    Josh, there shouldn’t be an age to shoot for. Every one is different, matures differently, and has different perspectives. From someone who was matched at 16, I can say I wouldn’t have changed anything! Of course I sometimes wish I could have pursued some things on my own. But when I think about it, I would have been so lonely and always be tempted to get into relationships that I might’ve regretted. Being matched young, I was able to grow together with my spouse and figure out what we want to do in life together. Now, being 25 and have 2 children, I feel like I’m living the real purpose of life.

    Again, there shouldn’t be an age to shoot for. It should be a readiness-to-commit to shoot for. Of course there are some matchings that don’t work out when they matched young, but there are also plenty of success stories also. So it goes both ways. By the way, to say the average age in America to marry is 25 is not a very supporting stat considering the success rate of marriage in America.

  4. Aika
    March 14, 2014

    The average American gets married at 27. People wait until they’re 27 because they are working on their careers, but they aren’t alone up until then. They have relationships and are trying to find someone to marry by 27. I think that it is unfair to someone who untimely wants to get matched be celibate and alone until they are 25. If you can survive til your 25 to find someone to marry, then you can shoot for that age.
    I got matched and blessed at 18. I testify that for me it worked very well for me. I was totally naive when it came to the real world. I grew with my husband and learned about things I would have never known living only in my little world. I experience life to the fullest only after I got blessed. I only started to grow and mature after I got blessed. I don’t think that I would have been able to grow without being with someone else who can help me understand who I am. It is human nature to procreate and only being in a relationship will a person learn to love.

    You life isn’t over once you get married. Yes, you need to compromise and work together as a whole where it isn’t about you anymore. Yet, you getting married becomes a team effort, where you need to work together that works for the whole of the team. Being in a marriage is thinking of your spouses needs along with your own. You need to learn to include them and share with them everything that is yours.Your life will be about the big picture rather than just immediate gratification. This is what makes marriage hard to deal with. I think that what is really scared about people getting married is that you can’t live a life that is about what you want right now. Marriage you learn you need to wait and give up what you like for the bigger things in life like children and buying a house. Your money becomes our money, your room becomes our room, your house becomes our house and so forth.

    I am talking from experience too. I have two small children and never finished my college degree. As I type right now, I just finished a online final for my University classes. Honestly, I never thought I would be able to finish school now that I have children. It is harder to do with kids than without kids, but I am still able to do school and be a parent at the same time. but it is harder to do.
    Also you can get married and still pursue your career as well, so your life isn’t going to end, it will just change.
    Also, telling the parents what not to do with their own child is overstepping boundaries. The parents and their child will decide what is best for them. Getting married is about marrying into someone’s family. The parents have every right to the marriage just as much as the child because the whole family will be involved. You will always be bonded to your spouse’s family and vice versa. So parents need to be there for guidance and for support. However I do agree that parents shouldn’t push their child if they aren’t ready. Both parents and child should decided together. Your parents know you the best, they probably just pushing you because they think you are ready.

    Ultimately Reader, you should be the one to decide what is good for you. If you think you are ready, then get matched. If you want to pick the one for you, let your parents know. The point of this is you need to communicate with your parents what is best for you. Always include your parents with this, because this affects your parents just as much as it does you. Don’t worry about what your friends are doing and what they are saying, they aren’t you. Your friends could have your best interest, but they can’t decide that for you, only you. I know it is scary to be doing this, its almost a leap of faith, jumping blindly off a cliff. A lot of ‘what ifs’ start to flood your mind. What if I don’t find someone, what if I don’t like my match? My advice is take it slow, you don’t need to rush this. If you have some concerns, talk to your parents about it. Talk with your future spouse about it too. Don’t make any decisions without being sure. You have the answer within you, you just need to search for it, trust yourself. However, if you don’t take any risks, you will forever wonder about it.

  5. jmswenson7
    March 15, 2014

    For those interested, the divorce rate in America has actually been decreasing, partially BECAUSE people have been getting married older – after they’ve figured out what they want in life and established individual identity.

    • Sean Sabo
      March 15, 2014

      It doesn’t say anything in that blog that the divorce rate is decreasing. It actually says marriage success rates is at an all time low. Also, they don’t discuss at all about the age of getting married. So, I don’t know where you came with the conclusion that the divorce rate is decreasing because of getting married later.

      One point in your original article I have a real problem with is you said, “If you’re sixteen or seventeen and you’re thinking about going to the Blessing, it’s not even a question: just don’t do it.” This is not always 100% NO! Of course, not everyone should should get matched that young, but not all people are the same. Some people are more mature than others at a younger age. It’s personally insulting to me because I got matched at that age and it worked out very well for me. You don’t HAVE to completely know yourself before you get matched. And besides, getting matched does not mean moving in together and having kids right away. Getting matched is just the beginning. I’m just letting readers know that not ALL young matches are horrible. It certainly wasn’t horrible for me and for many other couples I know.

  6. Anonymous
    March 17, 2014

    Solid advice. Thank you Josh. Sean and Aika, glad it has worked for you, this is simply an advice forum.

  7. HK
    March 22, 2014

    Thank you for your advice, Josh. I completely agree that sixteen or seventeen (even eighteen or nineteen) is too young to get matched. Too many young BCs rush into the process because they want a relationship and not because they are ready to take on the struggles that a lifelong commitment entails. This is not meant to be personally insulting to you, Sean, but the reality is that most of the 2nd gen blessings that broke occurred between couples that were matched at 16 or 17. Yes, you do need time to pursue your interests and education, develop your personality and friendships, and find out what you love. You also need time to develop your faith and personal relationship with God and to educate yourself about the Divine Principle. Most 16 or 17 year olds in our church have never opened up the DP on their own. Sad, but true. I truly believe that the strongest relationships are those that are grounded in faith.

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