Every generation has its way of dealing with major institutions, and marriage is no exception. Young people today are not getting married at the rates set by older generations, but what looks like a shift away from ideals of marriage may just be a shift in priorities.
More and more young people are attending college, developing their careers, and seeking financial stability before tying the knot, and maybe that’s a good thing. We know that some of the leading causes of divorce are financial disputes and personal differences that develop over time. Perhaps the younger generation has taken a cue from the problems of their predecessors, and simply want to wait until they can go into marriage as a mature, stable individual.
A recent study from the Pew Research Center focused on this younger generation, ages 18-29 (often referred to as “millennials”), to explore the declining rates and older ages associated with marriage. A resounding 70% of millennials said that they are in fact interested in marriage.
This same demographic also sees a reduced importance of marriage as essential for raising children. While many may see this as a negative, it can be taken another way. Millennials’ views on marriage may in fact show an increased focus on marriage for the sake of love and companionship, and not as a social obligation or spurred by children.
A genuine interest in marriage is still present, but at a later age, after other personal goals are met, and as a conscious choice, not a societal requirement. Only time will tell, but the younger generation’s take on marriage may very well lead to healthier, longer lasting relationships.
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Dr Dana and Amy Barnhart
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