The Real Reason Why People Don't Get Married Anymore


The Real Reason Why People Don't Get Married Anymore

Only several years ago, the traditional way of living on nearly a universal level was summarized in finding a nine-to-five job, buying a house, and starting a big family.

The Millenials, however, are questioning all of these traditions, especially the concept of marriage.

According to the Pew Research Center, 59% of adults aged 18-29 were married in 1960. By 2011, this number had dropped to 20%. Some people blame the modern hookup culture. As they say, romance is just on the way out as a societal value. Others refer to feminism, claiming that the greater number of opportunities available to modern women gives them the freedom to choose whether or not they would like to be married – a choice that our grandmothers didn't have. Still, some blame economic uncertainty, the lack of suitable partners, or the so-called growing sense of worldwide cynicism.

The truth is likely a combination of many factors – but, one is certainly psychological.

We, Millennials, like having options. We value our independence and our sense of self. We embrace chances. We put a high premium on our personal freedom. And who can blame us?

As such, Millennials are more hesitant than any other generation before making lifetime commitments.

Despite the popular belief, the Millennials are not out daily having wild and indiscriminate sex with lots of strangers. Actually, according to The Journal of Sex Research, today's students aren't any more promiscuous than the students in the generation before us. Their research indicated that 31.6% of students who attended college between 2002 and 2010 reported having over one sexual partner in one year. College students between 1988 and 1996 had reported an almost identical 31.9%.

Other quantitative research goes further in support of this theory. As the Washington Post reported, Millennials are engaging with fewer sexual partners than the two generations before. Baby Boomers were reported to average about 11 partners during their adulthood. Generation X averaged 10. Nevertheless, Millennials can expect an average of only 8.

So the hookup culture might still play a role in the falling marital rates but not in the way we would have expected.

Tinder might be holding us from walking down the aisle – but it isn't because our easy access to it fills our calendars with frequent one night stands. On the contrary, it’s overwhelming our minds with options. An abundance of choices sounds great in theory, right? However, in reality, it can become even more paralyzing than liberating.

As Caroline Beaton writes in “Why Millennials Are so Stressed—and What to Do about It”, the modern habit of keeping an eye on our options can ironically end up limiting our chances for happiness. It makes it hard to settle down with one person, while there are thousands of others out there. Of course, that's not a problem for everyone. Some people are happy with their one, while others are happy with having many choices. The problem is that we've lost the definition of perfect and we think we can have it all. The overwhelming amount of choices make us think that our lives can be perfect and make us forget that nothing is ever totally perfect.

So, we feel compelled to keep on searching. We often forget what it is that we’re looking for. We just know we still haven't found it.

The best thing to do if you're trapped in choices is to stop searching for absolute perfection. Instead, focus on your priorities which signify what's important to you. Is it freedom? A family? Many dates until you want to settle down? Never settling down? Everything is fine as long as you know what it is that you need most in life.

And if you do want a relationship, keep your eye on your partner’s substantial qualities. Find out what these qualities will be for you because they're not the same for everyone.

Like Paul Oyer, an economics professor at Stanford University, suggested, modern people might need to broaden their scope and stop demanding flawlessness from their partners.

Kristen Dombek of the New York Times agrees and adds: “When we find what we want, it’s because we stop researching our options and treating our date as data to be mined, categorized, passed over or locked down.”

Reference: I Heart Intelligence


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  5. This article feels incomplete, but ultimately gives some good advice. Let me add a bit more. First, if you want to be in a successful marriage, you need to be happy with yourself individually. There is no one who "completes" you. This is not a movie - it's real life. Women and men who haven't sorted through their personal issues BEFORE getting married end up dragging all that baggage along with them, and they end up killing their relationship.

    One item mentioned in this article is to know what you're looking for, which is a great idea IF you are not making a list of superficial qualities. It really will not matter in ten years, twenty years, or beyond, if your spouse has six-pack abs, or blue eyes, or is really tall. If you can't bring yourself to look beyond physical attractiveness, then your relationships are doomed. Someone once said, "Show me the most beautiful woman in the world, and I'll show you a guy who's tired of her." Looks only take things so far. Sure, it's important to be attracted to a person, but it is even better if there is a mental connection, or a witty connection, or some aspect of the person's personality that turns you on because that is not likely to just disappear. Additionally, too many men and women completely overlook STRENGTH of character when choosing a mate. If a man has a list of "crazy" exes, HE IS THE PROBLEM. If a man lies, cheats, steals - those red flags exist for a reason. If he leaves the toilet seat up, or ogles other women when he's out with you, or puts his needs and well-being ahead of yours, then he is not the one for you. This is an area to go back to the true biblical roles of marriage. Yes, the bible says women should be submissive to their husbands. That just means he gets to be the majority vote in decisions (51/49), but it doesn't mean unilateral decision-making (at least not in my marriage) without respect or regard for the wife's point of view. Plus, the bible also says men should take care of women they way they take care of a part of their own body. Biblically speaking, the 1+1=1. A man should understand that the key to his own happiness is his wife's happiness, and the key to reducing his stress level is reducing her stress level. When a man and a woman work at this together for each other's benefit, there are enormous well-being benefits. These young people have no idea what they are missing out on!

    Being partnered, for life, means having someone take care of you when you are sick, having someone take a ride to the store with you at night when you don't want to go alone, or having someone agree to split up the chores so you can focus on your big work project. My husband and I have a very give-and-take relationship. Earlier in our marriage, I earned a bigger percentage of the family income (only slightly more than he) and our chore list was split fairly evenly. Now, he earns about 90% of the income and I work two low-paying, self employment jobs - both part time. I'm supposed to be handling a lot of the chores, but that's not possible because my two jobs together are more than a full-time job.I can't possibly do everything. But my husband knows I'm focused on my business and hopes one day it will pay off, so he does the laundry each week, which is a great help!

    I won't say we don't argue. We do! But we work it out because getting along with someone you've known for 20 year can take WORK! When you work to smooth out the rough spots in a relationship. That is the definition of LOVE. Love is a VERB, not a feeling. Remember that, roll up your sleeves, and find a partner to keep you company for life!



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Thinking Humanity: The Real Reason Why People Don't Get Married Anymore
The Real Reason Why People Don't Get Married Anymore
Only several years ago, the traditional way of living on nearly a universal level was summarized in finding a nine-to-five job, buying a house, and starting a big family.
Thinking Humanity
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