While we know the ancient idea of getting married simply to reproduce and have babies is an old-fashioned idea, it seems that marriage itself might also becoming behind the times. In an age when men and women are getting married later than ever, it seems other aspects of life are at the top of the list for 20-something-year-olds. The age that men and women are getting married keeps raising. In 1960, the average age of marriage for women was 20 and men was 22, while in 1990 it was 23 and 26 respectively. In 2015, at an all time high, the averages jumped to 27 for women and 29 for men. While men and women are taking most of their twenties to settle down, some plan not to at all. The traditional societal idea that men and women need to get together, tie the knot, move in, and have a family is slowly dissipating.
While the thought of not getting married might still bother the grandparents and parents of millennials, many of the stigmas behind marriage have already been broken. Here are the five reasons millennials are waiting to tie the knot.
1 – TESTING THE WATERS UNDER THE SAME ROOF
The most romantic thing @daxshepard1 has said to me: Leaning in for a kiss he muttered, “You’re my favorite bundle of molecules”. Sigh 😉
— Kristen Bell (@IMKristenBell) November 4, 2015
In the US, it’s not uncommon for couples to share a bed under the same roof well before they choose to get married or even have a child out of wedlock. Census data from 2012 reveals that 7.8 million couples are living together without rings on their fingers. In 1996, this number rested at 2.9 million. For 20-something-year-old couples, many can’t imagine walking down the aisle without knowing if they can coexist in the same living space. Can a boyfriend live his partners hair in the drain? Is it okay if dirty clothes lay on the floor when the laundry basket is a few feet away?
2 – LET’S TALK ABOUT ME
Sometimes the only reason I leave my house is so when someone asks about my day I don’t have to say “Netflix and avoiding responsibilities”
— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) June 4, 2014
Millennials have an unyielding focus on themselves. The additional years it is taking couples to tie the knot are filled with college degrees, job searching, extra studies, and financial stability. Millennials are looking to establish themselves, reach their goals, and then get married. Women are no longer looking to depend on a spouse for stability, they would rather make their own way. Personal independence makes for less dependent couples and therefore an older marriage age.
3 – WHERE IS MR. RIGHT HIDING?
— dax shepard (@daxshepard1) January 17, 2016
With the legalization of divorce in the 1970s, it’s safe to say that millennials have seen more divorces amongst their’s and their friends parents than they can count. Cautious is an understatement. Putting a title on a relationship too soon – or at all – is a big fear. As of 2014, Time reported that 30% of millennials hadn’t found the right person yet. Hold out ladies and gents, he or she will come around one day!
4 – WAITING TO WIN THE LOTTO
The average cost of marriage in the United States is a just over 32 thousand dollars, an amount that many millennials just can’t imagine forking over. People in their twenties focus on experiences: traveling, going out with friends, and doing activities are better ways for them to spend 32k… or paying off those pesky student loans that are never going to go away.
5 – BUT I SAW IT ON TV
From Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick to Girls couple Hannah and Adam to Angelina and Brad, celeb couples are setting a standard that’s far from a traditional wedding. Shows like Friends, Sex and The City, and New Girl are reminders that maybe couples should test out cohabitation before tying the knot.
When couples are already living together, splitting a rent check, grocery bill, and payments to Con-Ed, the question becomes, why even add a Mr. and Mrs. to their names? Sure, marriage is still important and for many millennials it happens… eventually. If you’re in your twenties and worried, there’s no need to be. You have plenty of time before walking down an aisle should become a reality, if it even does at all.