What is the ideal age to get married?
Answer: The minimum age for getting married in the Catholic Church is 16 years for men and 14 years for women. The Bishops Conference can, however, determine a higher minimum age for its region. Behind this is the conviction that the best age for getting married depends on the relevant culture. It is the priest’s role to prevent young people from getting married until they have reached the minimum age expected for marriage according to the customs of each individual country. Compared with traditional cultures, married couples in the western, individualized culture can generally expect much less support from a large family and have to rely much more on themselves. This requires a greater level of maturity and therefore also a greater age.
According to Catholic doctrine, it is the nature of marriage to be for the good of the couple and also for the creation and raising of children. When thinking about the right age for marriage, it is therefore advisable to consider also the physical and mental wellbeing of the children. Those who are determined not to have children cannot rightfully marry according to Catholic doctrine.
But those who cannot have children for whatever reasons (e.g. health reasons, age) can still marry. It is possible to marry at an advanced age (e.g. widows and widowers after the death of their first spouse).