How Millennials Are Redefining Marriage: Trends in Love and Marriage

1. Thanks to Millennials, the divorce rate is dropping.

Unlike Baby Boomers and succeeding generations after, Millenials have taken it upon themselves to do things differently. Not only are we no longer marrying for status, family, and other related benefits (usually), but we’re getting married for love. Even more, we’re getting married once we’ve completed our education, have established careers, and are happy with our finances. Baby Boomers, for example, would fall in love and get married – nothing else mattered.

This chart by Statista shows that since the very beginning of the 90s, divorce rates have begun to and have continued to decline. While divorce continues to decline, a similar study shows that 76% of Americans find divorce to be morally acceptable. Only 20% consider it to be morally wrong.

2. The marriage rate is dropping.

Marriage, at its inception, was a means of status, familial ties, financial gain, procreation.. That’s no longer the case. With the majority of Americans striving to get their life to a point where they can say they made it, they’ve reached the conclusion that they don’t need anyone else to help them get there. They’d be nothing more than a distraction, an anchor to their success.

Women no longer need to marry men for financial support or gain.

With all the women’s equality movements, they no longer feel that they want to tie themselves to a man who’s supposed to be the head – something that was established at the very birth of marriage and is key to its success. Women feel they would need to be mindless in subordinating his needs. Women today feel that marriage requires an unfair measure of sacrifice for them than it does for men.

Americans today also have higher expectations in the partner’s they would potentially marriage in the areas of: intimacy, compatibility, communication, among other themes.

Marriage today is seen as old news, something that’s no longer relatable. It’s seen as something that’s limiting, constricting, and doesn’t allow us to grow and be free.

Consequently, with the rise of cohabitation as a prerequisite to getting married – a testing of the waters, if you will – many couples are deciding to either stay cohabiting or to just not get married at all.

3. Relationships have become more problematic.

Although marriage is still considered one of the most intimate relationships we will ever have, it’s become one of the most problematic as well.

The reason is simple: because marriages are becoming more about personal satisfaction and personal gain. It’s become self-centered.

“Marriage used to be a public institution for the common good, and now it is a private arrangement for the satisfaction of the individual.”

Timothy Keller

Today, we are looking for someone who accepts us as we are so we don’t ever have to change because “that’s just how I am” and expecting our partner to fulfill all of our desires. Marriage has become a series of unrealistic expectations.

We want to much out of marriage yet what we want isn’t nearly enough. Keller stated that self-fulfillment in marriage requires a low – or no-maintenance partner who meets your needs while requiring almost nothing of you. Let’s be real.

4. Love is at the top of the list of American’s reasons to marry.

Nearly 9 in 10 Americans (80%) said that love must be a factor in deciding whether or not they choose marry their partner. This was followed by making a lifelong commitment (81%) and companionship (76%).

These statistics, however, change when it comes to same-sex marriages – their #1 reason is for legal rights.

5. 40% of marriages are not the first marriage for both involved.

Remarriage is on the rise and it’s even more common with age. Older adults, in fact, are more open to being remarried while Milennials are looking to just take the plunge once. Pew Research found that only 19% of remarried adults were between the ages of 18 and 24; 67% were 55 and older. Makes sense since it takes time to get divorced and remarried.

There also seems to be a gender gap – men are more likely to remarry after divorce or widowhood. While it would’ve been surprising to me at some point, after speaking with a number of older women who have been married at least once, this makes sense.

Most women decide against remarrying as a means to not have to cook or clean or do these types of things for anyone if they don’t want to. Men, however, remarry for the companionship.

6. Interracial and interethnic marriages are increasing.

In 1967, only 3% of newlyweds were married outside or their race or ethnicity. Today? 17%.

According to a recent Pew Research study, intermarriage is more common among Asians and Hispanics. However, it’s on the rise within the black communities (18%).

Gen Xers and Millennials (55%) are becoming more open to this idea of interracial marriage and have expressed some of its benefits which include: exposure to a another culture, learning a new language, and beautiful children (living in Germany, I can personally attest to the wonder that are German/ black kids!).

7. Support for legalization of same-sex marriage

A poll by USA Daily proved that 67% of American approve same-sex marriage, marking the highest level of support in history. In 1996, when Gallup polled Americans on the issue, only 27% approved. They’ve seen a constant rise of 3% on the poll since.

Among political groups, there has also been an increase: 83% of Democrats, 44% of Republicans, and 71% of Independents.

8. The infidelity rate is growing.

Sad to say but 41% of marriages cace infidelity at some point – 31% of them survived it. Even more alarming, 57% of single and married men admitted to cheating on their partner. Women weren’t far behind at 54%. Among just thr married crowd, 13% of women admitted to having sex with someone other than their spouse and 20% of men admitted to the same according to date by GSS.

The data above shows that gender isn’t the only indicative factor pertaining to infidelity. Race, age, religious practices, upbringing all contribute.

May I just add, however, that none of these should be used to justify any acts of infidelity. Where you started and where you are don’t have to dictate the decisions you make. You have complete and total control.

9. Long distance relationships are on the rise.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the number of married people living apart has risen to 44%. While some of this is attributed to incarceration or living in nursing homes, the majority is an intentional choice due to work. What does this mean? Spouses are becoming more willing to have the other spouse transfer to another home for work. In fact, 30% of companies have people signing up dor overseas assignments every year and that number is increasing.

It comes as no surprise that advances in technology a facilitate this sort of relationship.

Dr. Lindemann ran a study asking participants who had lived apart if th eyes planned to live together in the future or if they’d moved back in. Most said no. More shocking was the time these cookies spent apart – a median of 5 years with the longest having been apart for 16 years.

Their advice?

“The important thing is not to see yourself as living separate lives. “

Melanie Graeve

10. Millenials are placing personal needs and values first.

A study at Bentley University found that marriage among the Millennial generation is free-falling at alarming rates. While marriage has become a desired milestone that they will some day reach, Millennials strongly believe that they need a solid socio-economic foundation in order to even begin thinking about marriage.

This generation is becoming more focused on succeeding in and becoming more knowledgable in areas such as career, politics, education, and religion.

“I am navigating how my ambition as a woman — specifically my entrepreneurial and financial goals — can fit in my goals as a future wife and mother.”

Nekpen Osuan, Cofounder of WomenWerk (32)

Women, more than ever, are putting off marriage until a later time because they’re much more free to pursue careers and education than ever before. They have a choice now and that choice includes freezing their eggs and advancing in other areas.

Overall, it’s a much more educated generation.

Licensed Psychologists, Jennifer Rhodes, found that due to the women’s movement, men are now becoming more of an emotional support than a financial one.

Leave us a comment letting us know your thoughts on love and marriage as they are today and where they’re headed.

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