As many of you know, I have been an avid student of dating, marriage and divorce trends in our culture for many decades. I was the one who waited until age 39 to marry the first time and I still got it wrong, divorcing at age 46. A few years later I started my own dating service. I saw it as a study of how Americans in midlife approached love and marriage. Turns out I met the man for me that way, and we have been living relatively happily ever after for the past fourteen years.
This is one of the reasons why I find the marriage behavior of millennials quite interesting:
Americans under the age of 45 have found a novel way to rebel against their elders: They’re staying married!
“New data show younger couples are approaching relationships very differently from baby boomers, who married young, divorced, remarried and so on. Generation X and especially millennials are being pickier about who they marry, tying the knot at older ages when education, careers and finances are on track. The result is a U.S. divorce rate that dropped 18 percent from 2008 to 2016, according to an analysis by University of Maryland sociology professor Philip Cohen.”
But with an interesting twist:
“Marriage is more and more an achievement of status, rather than something that people do regardless of how they’re doing.” — Researcher Philip Cohen
It seems that the younger generation now sees marriage as a bit of a status symbol and, “Many poorer and less educated Americans are opting not to get married at all. They’re living together, and often raising kids together, but deciding not to tie the knot.”
This I find especially interesting in that these poorer couples could find a number of financial benefits from legal marriage. For example, married couples pay less taxes and save on medical insurance as a couple. I never saw marriage as a status issue. At the time I needed health insurance and got it through marriage.
There is no more important and personal issue than who we marry and why. At least some millennials are realizing that. Divorce is always difficult emotionally and in some cases traumatic. Most Boomers know that now. I see us as the transitional generation, who often did what we were told and perhaps got married young when we became pregnant, etc. Unfortunately many of us had to learn the hard way that:
DIVORCE IS EXPENSIVE. FREEDOM PRICELESS.