Mathematics has determined the magic number for marriage to be 26.
The optimal age to settle down and commit to a life partner is 26. Journalist Brian Christian and cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths, coauthors of “Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions,” based that number on the 37% Rule.
According to the 37% Rule, best decisions are made after screening 37% of your options. Chris Weller of Tech Insider explained that when given a wide selection of options and a limited time frame, the ideal time to make a decision is after having considered 37% of those options.
Take apartment hunting for example. As an apartment hunter, your main question is how many apartments do you have to look at in order to find the best one? If you are considering 100 different places, the best time to make that important decision is after you’ve seriously looked at 37 of them.
To maximize your chances of landing the best apartment is to make the decision at 37%. At that point, you’ve spent enough time considering those properties that you are able to make an informed choice. Continuing your search after that may be a waste of your time as the apartments you’re considering may be taken by other people.
The same idea applies to dating and finding a lifelong partner. If you’re between the ages of 18 and 40, the age of 26 would be the 37% mark within that 22-year time frame. Settling down too early before your 26th birthday may mean you’re missing out on better partners. However, waiting too long after your 26th birthday may lower your chances of finding a high-quality partner as more of those once potential mates get hitched with other people.
While the 37% rule isn’t perfect, marriage research indicates that the magic number hovers around 26.
Nicholas H. Wolfinger, a sociologist at the University of Utah, found that marriage between the ages of 28 to 32 results in a decreased chance of divorce. Though the age isn’t exactly 26, couples often date for a few years before committing. It would appear that our dating instincts are the most reliable at that magic age of 26.
Now if you’re a woman and you’re single, there may be another explanation as to why it’s so difficult to find Mr. Right.