07 Apr Millennials and Marriage: Don’t Count Us Out Just Yet
18 – 35 year old Millennials are constantly a topic of conversation with older generations. We are too liberal. We have more opportunities than any other generation before us. We don’t have the respect that we should. Today, let’s discuss my personal favorite: we are not getting married.
Generation X, the Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generation have a right to be concerned. When they were our age, 36% of Generation X, 48% of Baby Boomers, and 65% of the Silent Generation were married. Compared to the 26% of Millennials married now, there is cause for worry. However, if we don’t look at the whole picture of modern marriage, we miss the reasons why Millennials are waiting for marriage.
A recent PEW study described three reasons why Millennials are not getting married.
First, we are not ready to settle down or feel too young.
Second, we are not financially prepared.
Lastly, we just haven’t found what we are looking for.
This leaves out the increasing rate of divorce, our friends and families failed relationships, pornography, and the many heartbreaks we have personally endured.
Right now you are probably thinking, “OK, I get it. Relationships are hard.” Yes, yes they are. Interestingly enough though, we are better off financially and emotionally when we are in safe, committed marriage relationships. While I share all of the fears listed above with my fellow Millennials, research debunks some of the myths associated with them.
Finances. You worry about them when you are single, and you worry about them when you are married. 26% of Millennials ages 18-24 do not feel financially prepared for marriage. This also applies to 34% of 25-34 year olds, and 20% of those 35 and older. Both Time magazine and CNN Money proclaim that many Millennials do not want to be married because they are uncertain about the future.
Finding a job for many college graduates is not as easy as it was ten years ago. I often worry about being able to take care of a family, or if my husband will be able to take care of us. The irony in this is that with two incomes, married couples are often better off financially than someone who is single. Married couples also have more specific goals: kids, house payment, etc. Because of this, married couples may keep better track of their finances.
Another concern is the divorce rate. If we were in person, and I asked if you knew someone who was divorced, you could probably give me the names of three or more couples. Divorce is everywhere. 40 -50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce. Guess what? That doesn’t have to be you.
I am personally guilty of bringing past fears into relationships. Being open with your partner and setting goals together, will help create the security that is needed to help avoid divorce. Marriage is not always going to be easy. A good marriage relationship has to be fostered daily.
For those of us who are not ready to settle down, and feel like we are too young: if you are not ready emotionally to be married, you are not ready. You should never jump into a marriage. That’s how divorce happens. However, if you are holding off because you love golf on Tuesday with your best friend, or that you can do whatever you want whenever you want, you might want to reevaluate your personal emotional readiness.
Many Millennials feel like they haven’t found the right person. Good for you! Don’t set your expectations beyond reach, but don’t settle. In a world where the divorce rate is high, financial situations dominate everything we do, and pornography is everywhere, you can’t just marry anyone.
John Bytheway, a famous youth speaker, has compared marriage to playing a duet at the piano. You have the music, you are playing it, but it does not sound quite right until someone sits next to you and plays the other part. Unfortunately not everyone knows how to play the music. Some try to play, and it doesn’t sound right, others look at it and walk away, but one day someone will sit down and the music will sound more beautiful than it ever has before.
As a Millennial, I can’t wait to sit next to the right person at the piano. Even with all of the hardships concerning marriage, I know that it can be the most satisfying relationship. To Generation X, the Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generation, don’t give up on us Millennials just yet. We have always surprised you, and will continue to do so.