Is it a mistake to get married young?
"Dr. Phil, are you ready for a debate?" Kristen asks. "You have this rule that you have to be 30 to get married. Dr. Phil, my gosh, that is so unfair! I'm here to tell you that you're wrong! You can't make blanket statements like that Dr. Phil. People can get married in their 20s and have it work. My husband and I got married at 22

and 23 years old. We haven't had one day in two and a half years that we've regretted our decision, even with the birth of our daughter who is 4 1/2 months old."

She says, "There are many advantages of being married in your 20s. You're not so set in your ways, there's not the looming biological clock ticking. The only reason that you'r

e doing it is because you want to, and isn't that the number one reason you should get married? I think the decision to get married is a lot more about emotional maturity and level of commitment than it is about how old you are."

Implying that Dr. Phil is a hypocrite, she says, "Dr. Phil, I've listened carefully to what you say, and I think you've said you've been married to Robin for more than 30 years. Now correct me if I'm wrong, I don't think you're 60. Does that mean you've broken your own rule?"

Dr. Phil clarifies, "I have not been married to Robin for 30 years. I was 27 when we got married. Well, actually 26 about to turn 27. She was 12," he jokes.

He tells Kristen, whose parents are divorced, that research shows that age is one of the strongest and most consistent predictors of marital stability. "At older ages, statistics tell us that people tend to be more emotionally and intellectually mature, they're more established in their jobs and their careers, they're able to know much better what they want in a life mate," Dr. Phil says. "And as of 2003, the median age of first marriages was 25 for women, 27 for men, and this is very much later than it has been in years past. And this is considered to be the number one factor in the reduction of divorce rates, that people are waiting later to get married."

He adds, "The failure rate of marriages younger than that is so high that there is a new term that's been coined in the industry called, 'starter marriages.' We'll throw this one away and then we'll do this right later. So my point is that I truly believe that we are getting married too soon, for the wrong reasons. People are marrying Mr. Right Now instead of Mr. Right, they are doing it for wrong reasons, at the wrong time, and often in the wrong way. And I think your odds are much better if you wait. Are there exceptions to that? I hope you're one of them."