Click for the text versions of the "How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk (Jerkette)" and the "Waiting to Marry" keynotes presented at Smart Marriages Conferences by John Van Epp, PhD.

Audio: CD or MP3/Ipod downloads $15.95 each.
Video DVDs are available of all Keynote sessions
- $29.95

800-241-7785 or at
Session #754-P8 -"How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk"
Session #758-003 - "Waiting to Marry"

At the Smart Marriages San Francisco Conference, Dr Van Epp received the Smart Marriages Impact Award at his keynote "Waiting to Marry" and presented a 90-minute How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk seminar #758-804 available on CD or as a download. Order at 800-241-7785 or

These video clips are all included in the video of the keynote, or watch them here:

Videos shown at the John Van Epp Keynote "Waiting to Marry" from the film Song of Songs by Chris Brickler:
Marriage? Why? -
It's Just a Hook Up -
Sex on Campus -
Order the full keynote video at PlaybackNowSmart Marriage Conference Keynote Video Clips

For a "why NOT to wait" class, show the Van Epp *Waiting to Marry* DVD, assign these articles, and then start the conversation - a lively discussion is guaranteed.

Optimal age to marry:
We are currently recommending marriage, for most people and other things being equal, in the mid-twenties. The research suggests that the drop in the high divorce risk of teen marriage levels off in the early twenties; that is, one does not decrease the risk any further by waiting until the late twenties or thirties. Other research suggests that later marriages (after the late twenties) aren't quite as happy. - Popenoe and Whitehead, National Marriage Project 


"The findings suggest that most persons have little or nothing to gain in the way of marital success by
postponing marriage beyond their mid-twenties with the finding of the greatest likelihood of being
in an intact marriage of the highest quality being among those who married at ages 22-25"
- Norval Glenn, U of Texas, in a paper Later First Marriage and Marital Success, which examines the
data on age at first marriage and marital success outcomes. Presented at Amer Sociological Assoc, SF


in my experience as a relationship counsellor and psychologist, there's a golden window of opportunity in which to get married  -  between 18 months and three years after your first date. If you've not walked down the aisle in that time, something may well be wrong with your relationship  -  and a belated wedding won't fix it. Marry too early when you're still in the first throes of passion and you risk all the pitfalls of a whirlwind romance. But leave it longer than three years and you risk disaster. Like most other things in life, courtships have a sell-by date. The truth is that if, after three years, you want a wedding and your partner doesn't (or vice-versa) then something's wrong. And you need to sit down and have an honest conversation about how you both see your future. Tragically, many women waste precious time on a relationship that has led nowhere and, in their late 30s or early 40s, find themselves desperate for a baby and looking for a new partner. Others put all the pressure they can muster on their man, have the wedding of their dreams and then find it turn to ashes because they haven't addressed the underlying problems that kept them from the altar in the first place.- Dr Pam Spur, author of How to Be a Happy Human

Read more:

Or, put another way, Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May...

What is it with Men and Commitment? - Scott Stanley, Smart Marriages Conference keynote

"Sliding Vs Deciding": Understanding a Mystery - Scott Stanley, NCFR
and here on You Tube:

Say Yes.  What Are You Waiting For
? - Mark Regnerus, Washington Post

For Better or Worse, Sooner Rather Than Later - Washington Post

Stigma Against Marrying Young - at 23, so we'll just live together....

My Clock was Already Ticking
- NY Times - female ticking clock/decision-making

*Amanda's 39th Birthday* from Miriam Grossman's Unprotected - a must read by recipient
of the Smart Marriages Impact Award & keynote awards lunch at Orlando Smart Marriages Conference.
Or WATCH here on Book TV.

And this one, Lori Gottlieb's Marry Him! from The Atlantic:
Marry Him! is now a book

Your Old Man - NY Times/
- research on the ticking biological clock for men

NPR: Morning Edition - Hooking Up: No Dating, No Realtionship
Additional tools:

The PreMarital Conversation - discussion questions and exercises. Free pdf developed and

donated to Smart Marriages/CMFCE, LLC by Tamara Ranck.

Talk it Out - great list of questions/talking tips for you and your partner

Why Men Marry Some Women, Not Others

"I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.” - Maya Angelou






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