Millennials have less preference for marriage than the previous generation
The concept of marriage is changing with the generational shift into the era of millennials. Millennials have a different take on marriage as compared to people from the previous generation. Millennials are deviating from the traditional practices of marriage. Researchers reveal that millennials have a higher likelihood of remaining unmarried than same-aged people of the earlier generations. A report from the Pew Research Center reveals that the rate of marriage for 25 to 37 years adults is at 46% for millennials as compared to 57% for Generation X, 62% for Late Boomers, 67% for Early Boomers and 83% for Silent generation of the same age. The report implies that millennials have changed their minds against the need for marriage. While some millennials would decide not to marry at all, others who marry would end up in divorces. Indeed, this generation is characterized by reduced marriage rates and increased rates of divorces. Besides, the average age for marriage has gone higher among millennials as compared to older generations. There are various reasons why marriage is getting a new meaning among the millennials.
Millennials value their personal needs above all. Most of the millennials are much focused on improving their living standards by strategizing on different aspects of life. Many millennials work to stabilize their financial future and ensure their career development before engaging in marriage life. They are focused on pursuing education, religion, politics and other forms of political values. The prioritization on personal needs and values has made most millennials to postpone marriages. Some millennials get so much attached to pursuing their values that they may end marrying late or even failing to marry at all. Researchers have recently indicated a rise in the average age of marriage among the millennials as compared to the past generations. From the findings of the Knot 2017 Real Weddings Study, the current average age of marriage stands at 30.9 for men and 29.2 for women. This is higher as compared to the average marrying age of 23 for men and 21 for women in the year 1965. Further studies indicate that some millennials will attain their 40th birthday without getting married.
The change in the role of women in society has influenced the concept of marriage among the millennials. Unlike with the past generations, the current society assigns women with equal roles to men. Today, women have freedom of expression in society. They can make their own decisions about their social lives with hindrance from parents and other external forces. The Silent Generation placed men with more power than women, making males dominate females in society. While men married women of their choice, some women were forced to get married (Akers, Kathleen, and Lynne). However, the society of millennials has changed and given the women equal powers within the marriage institution. The modern society allows both men and women to marry the person of their choice and at their most convenient time. Moreover, there is no rule in modern society that mandates every person to get married. Similar to men, women have the power to choose to live independent lives by putting off marriage.
Financial constraints contribute to the postponed marriages among the millennials. One of the key requirements for an effective marriage is financial stability. Man is the key provider for the family in both the traditional and modern societies. Such responsibility calls for man to struggle towards cultivating the basis for the financial stability of the family. Some people work hard to attain a suitable financial position before marriage. However, there is a proportion of people who would be ready to get into marriage still within their low economic position but to strengthen their financial position as a family. In the early generations, children inherited a lot of wealth from their parents. The parents’ wealth defined the financial level of the entire family. The parents supported their children greatly by settling their dowry payments and other contributions in their preparations for marriage. The aged children took advantage of the family’s wealth to build their financial image in preparation for marriage. However, the modern world calls for millennials to struggle to raise adequate finance for their marriages (Haneman 103). Millennials are restricted from inheriting wealth from their parents for marriage. Millennials find marriage much expensive in terms of financial requirements. Thus, most of them would postpone their marriages until they work on their financial strength. This results in delayed marriages among the millennials.
Some millennials doubt the institution of marriage. In the past generations, marriage was perceived as a customary rite of passage for every member of society. Unmarried adults in society were seen to be incomplete and lacking an important aspect of life. Significantly, such societies supported marriages, making the institution an interesting one. The Silent Generation and Boomers supported families as the building blocks of society. The society imposed heavy punishment on married people who mistreated their partners in marriage. The traditional marriage was highly honored while members of society had a positive perception of marriage. However, there is a different view of marriage in modern society. Various factors like domestic violence have corrupted the efficiency of marriages. Millennials have a negative perception of marriage, making them go for their alternatives. Some millennials have lost trust in the need for marriages. Having witnessed issues like domestic violence, most millennials are unwilling to enter into marriages. Many millennials would rather remain single rather than getting into stressful marriages.
A strong sense of identity makes millennials to have postponed marriages. With the era of digital technology, millennials look for the best option. They just want to marry but to marry the best partner. Indeed, millennials have become so selective that they end up not finding the right person to marry. The system of education makes the educated feel so special that they deserve to marry special people. The educated millennials would look for educated partners who can match their education levels. Besides, the millennials have many options and interests, exposing them to a wide range of options to weigh. Everyone pursues the dream of having the perfect marriage that would define the source of their joy for their future lives (Haneman 103). These aspects of interests make millennials slow and even poor in their decision making in matters related to marriage. As a result, some would marry late or even fail to marry at all in their searches for the perfect partners.
Change in moral values in the society makes millennials to pursue delayed marriages. In the early generations, marriages were honored as sacred institutions for adults to have their children. The society did not allow cases of childbirths outside marriages, hence restricted sex before marriage. However, modern society is characterized by some aspect of moral decay (Wang, Wendy, and Paul, 2011). Instead of supporting the moral values of chastity, society has introduced different various preventive methods against pregnancies and the spread of STIs. Such preventive measures encourage millennials to engage in sexual activities at an early age before marriage. With this, marriage will no longer serve the role of sexual satisfaction for these millennials. Thus, they will remain unmarried until they pursue their personal needs.
In conclusion, marriage is no longer a rite of passage among the millennials but a subject of choice. Millennials have greatly differed from the early generations of people in their preferences for marriage. Millennials are opting for delayed marriages in their pursuit of other important aspects of their lives. The average age of marriage has significantly risen for millennials than it was for people in the early generation. Millennials value their interests above the need for marriage. Some postpone marriages as they pursue their education, career development, and other personal values. Financial constraints also subject millennials to delayed marriages. The shift in the role of females in society contributes to the issue of postponed marriages among the millennials. Lack of trust with the institution of marriage is also evident among the unmarried millennials. The change in the moral position of society also contributes to the issue of delayed marriages among the millennials. Without a doubt, the statistics for modern marriages differ from early traditional marriages. Millennials have largely redefined the institution of marriage.
Akers, Kathleen E., and Lynne Marie Kohm. “Solving Millennial Marriage Evolution.” U. Balt. L. Rev. 48 (2018): 1.
Haneman, Victoria J. “Marriage, Millennials, and Massive Student Loan Debt.” Concordia L. Rev. 2 (2017): 103.
Pew Research Center analysis of 1968, 1982, 1989, 2001 and 2018 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplements (IPUMS)
Wang, Wendy, and Paul Taylor. For Millenials, parenthood trumps marriage. Pew Research Center, Social & Demographic Trends, 2011.
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