Marriage Tuesday

marriage 2A while back, I read an article by a 24-year old Christian woman, giving her opinion on why religious Millennials are not married. It was a pretty interesting take on modern culture.  (Millennials, for those who’ve been living in a cave, are those born roughly between 1981 and 1996…the twenty and young-thirty somethings of our day. )

According to research, Millennials’ median marriage age is also the highest of any group in modern history — 29 for men and 27 for women. Though most unmarried Millennials (69 percent) say they’d like to marry, they’re not in a hurry.  Here are her reasons:

Millennials are driven by their careers.  She concluded that marriage is viewed as something Millennials want to do after they’ve sorted out the other aspects of life — it’s “a ‘capstone’ rather than a ‘cornerstone.’  I’ve definitely seen this trend grow in the past 40 years.  Wanda and I didn’t think twice about getting married while I was in college (age 21).  We felt no need to have established careers or financial security, as a pre-requisite to marriage.  Not so today.

True love isn’t waiting.  This is the one that has the older generations of church-goers creeped out.  By far, the majority of weddings I’ve performed over the past decade, have been for couples that were living together or actively having sex with each other.  Almost all professed a belief in God, the Bible and trust in Jesus for salvation, as important in their lives.  Some saw a disconnect.  Others didn’t. All justified it in some way.  The reality?  Believing that sex before marriage was acceptable definitely affected how long it took them to get married.

Men are acting like boys.  This is certainly coming from a female perspective.  I wouldn’t disagree, but I would add that sophomoric behavior is not gender specific these days and the shortage of quality “marriage material” can come in both sexes.  Adolescence has been extended.  Real maturity doesn’t happen naturally.

We (Millennial Christians) don’t know how to date.  She said it this way: “When hooking up is not an option and your religious subculture sees dating as only a first step toward marriage, dating becomes a burden.”  Man, that’s a lot of pressure.  Casual dating cannot exist in that culture.

Singleness is attractive.  Marriage is not necessarily attractive.  At its best, half of all marriages fail.   And who wants to be a failure?  A typical task I assign to couples in pre-marriage counseling is to identify five married couples they truly admire and would like to pattern their marriage after.  Most of them look at me clueless.  “We don’t know five”, is the normal response. It’s no wonder being single keeps looking better.

I’m curious.  Do you agree or disagree with her take?

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One thought on “Marriage Tuesday

  1. Millennial checking in here. Liz and I got married at 23 and 21, while she was still in college. We applied our ‘lets establish a career first’ mentality when we were talking about children, but I think the same logic applies.

    The point about dating is particularly interesting to me because I always viewed dating as a vetting process in my quest to find a bride. In other words, I didn’t date. I decided I really liked a girl and then pursued her. Maybe the deciding part was dating, but who knows.

    I think the millennial generation really values convenience (see technology, social media, on-demand everything) and marriage has become something to do when it’s convenient.

    Those are my thoughts.

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