Despite the fact that many celebrities are heading down the aisle in their early 20s, statistics show that most people are waiting until they're older to get married. U.S. Census Bureau data states that the median age of a woman's first marriage has actually increased six years — from 20 to 26 — since 1970.
In his book Urban Tribes, Ethan Watters explores why women are waiting so long to get married. One theory is that we have our own careers, and therefore our own resources, and no longer need a provider to support us financially. And then there are what Watters calls our "tribes," circles of close-knit friends that provide us with the feeling of connection we previously sought in significant others.
Given that we have such satisfying, independent lives, Watters says we're "no longer looking for just a suitable mate, but rather 'soul mate searching.'" And the statistics back him up. A recent Gallup poll shows that 94 percent of people who've never been married agreed that they want their spouse to be their "soul mate" first and foremost. We can't help but wonder: Have women's standards for a mate — a soul mate — become impossibly high? Do soul mates even exist? We asked our panelists to weigh in.
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