Are millennials better at marriage than their parents?
Short answer – depends on how you define “better”. At the first view, it seems that they are. According to statistics, divorce rates are dropping.
However, we need to be careful before we jump into conclusions, as there might be a not-so-romantic reason behind these data.
Divorce rates are low – why?
It seems that millennials are setting a record in the lowest divorce rates since the 1960s.
After decades of being bombarded with the eerie depiction of destruction of marriage, just hearing this warms the heart.
Marriage is an institution residing in the very foundations of our society, so saving it brings consolation.
However, in the case of millennials, it’s hard to argue that the reason behind this fact is in their return to the traditional family values.
There are alternative explanations, some more and some less likable.
One thing is for sure – millennials are changing the face of marriage, and they’re molding it to fit their other values and tendencies.
Two factors of low divorce rates
The first important factor is another statistic, and that is that millennials are waiting much longer to get married.
A typical millennial couple also usually lives together before they decide to tie the knot.
These changes in lifestyle psychologically ensure that marriage is a much more thought-through decision made by two responsible adults.
The not-so-likable factor in decreasing divorce rates revolves around finances and economical issues.
Millennials are often burdened with different loans (especially the dreaded student debt) and mortgages. Millennials have less accumulated wealth than their parents did, and they less often own their own houses or apartments.
It is possible that these circumstances cause significant fear of getting a divorce, given its financial burden for the divorcee.
Other ways in which millennials change marriage
Millennials still meet their future spouses mostly through their friends; however, more and more millennials also meet online.
Some researchers believe that this online dating scene also contributes to Generation Y being reluctant to get married. Being flooded with the awareness of so many available singles out there seems to postpone the marital commitment.
Another praise-worthy change in how a modern marriage looks touches upon many sensitive social issues.
Millennials are more open to interracial marriages, to same sex marriages, and to interfaith marriages, compared to any prior generation. In fact, many of such marriages were even legally forbidden until recently.
Another significant change is that millennials are waiting much longer to have children compared to their parents.
They also have fewer kids.
These facts can’t, of course, be viewed as separate from those we discussed before – being burdened financially does not contribute to one’s desire to have children – and have many of them.
Why millennials are truly better at marriage
In short, marriage has changed – a lot – between the Baby Boomers and Generation X, and the Millennials.
It can be expected to keep changing. Is it for better? It might be.
The reasons for what seem to be stronger and more steady marriages are intertwined, and the psychological ones are inseparable from more material ones. But, here’s how millennials are possibly better at marriage than their parents.
Maturity – be it their focus on careers, their later financial establishment, or whatever reason it might be, Millennials are getting into the marital union older, thus, much more nature. Being psychologically mature has a positive effect on a relationship that will probably result in a more enduring bond.
Tolerance – in their openness to differences between people, and in the declining prejudice among millennials, they have gained a trait that is much needed in marital life – tolerance.
Equality – one thing that has changed significantly over the last few decades is the equality among people regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, race or religion. All of this contributes to a much more harmonious and even relationship of the married couple, resulting in a more stable and healthier union.
Family – by waiting longer to have children, millennials are ensuring that they will be more mature and responsible as parents.
Parenthood isn’t any longer inseparably associated with marriage.
But, when there are children, they will probably have more settled and responsible mom and dad that have thought having the child in the first place very well through.
The right reasons – although the financial stresses we mentioned cast a shadow onto this final reason, it’s also a fact that millennials who do decide to get hitched don’t do it for lack of freedom, opportunities as individuals, or for the sake of a custom and tradition – they do it for love!