Last week, I chanced upon a very interesting discussion on BBC Radio, about why 60 per cent of cohabiting couples in the UK still opt to get married when living together is now acceptable in society.

A BBC reporter spoke to callers about their thoughts on the subject, and why they thought people still believed that marriage was an important institution when cohabitation is now a norm.

There was this one guy who said something really interesting, which was that while marriage is an important institution, people should only get married when they’re 30 or older after successfully cohabiting before for a number of years. If – and only if – they can still tolerate each other, they should tie the knot.

“In fact, they should only issue marriage certificates to couples who are 30 and above,” I believe his statement was.

Now isn’t that just the simplest, most brilliant thing you’ve ever heard?

When you think about it, governments should truly consider this measure to help uphold, ironically, the sanctity of this increasingly meaningless formality. In the US and the UK, where couples are able to have children without getting married without raising an eyelid, it makes little sense to want to ‘carve it in stone’. There are, of course, if I remember my family law correctly, certain legal benefits particularly for married women, and their children, should one’s marriage go south. But I’m sure that can be resolved quickly with an act here and a couple of court-set precedents there.

In Malaysia, a considerably conservative country, getting married is a sign of maturity, a definite statement to the world that you have finally come to your senses, and are ready to take on the responsibility of creating a family. Although the divorce rate is rising, as in every country in the world (except perhaps for Japan since the women there are apparently refusing to ‘come to their senses’), marriage is still mandatory if you want to have children. As yet, the shunning and ostracising of illegitimate children – and their parents – have not gone out of fashion. And now that Siti Nurhaliza is married, the institution has perhaps taken on cast-iron strength.

Are people over 30 more likely to make their marriage work compared to couples who got married when they were in their their 20s? Speaking strictly of people living in the modern world (and not some tribe in remote Uganda), I believe so. Of course, there are exceptions. There are always exceptions, but if one of my daughters tells me she wants to get married at 17, I’d tell her to go live with the guy for 13 years and then decide.

When you’re in your early 20s, it’s no time to settle down. You’re supposed to be having fun, experimenting, exploring and most importantly, making most of the mistakes that you don’t want to be making when you’re in your 30s or worse, 40s.

What do you think? Should people still get married in this day and age? Is there ever a better time to get married?