In 2011, a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census data found that only 51 percent of Americans were married, a record low. The marriage rate has gone down among all age groups, with the most dramatic drop among the Millennial generation. Only 20 percent of adults ages 18 to 29 are married (compared with 59 percent in 1960). Meanwhile, the median age for a first marriage is rising and people are waiting five to six years later in life than people did over the last two generations. *
However, compared to other developed countries, America still leads the world with the highest rates of both marriage and divorce – a tug of war between our society’s commitment to commitment and its commitment to individual freedom. *
What does this mean?
Not much in the big scheme of things, really. To me, it means that children of the “divorce generation” who saw marriages fail, saw pain ensue, felt their own families disassemble and have to reinvent themselves again are not the first people in line on the “happily everafter” marriage bliss train. That is not a big surprise, right?
What this does NOT mean is that people no longer want to be loved. It does NOT mean that people have lost their moral values. It does not mean that people no longer want to find someone to care about and to be cared about in that special way that sets their relationship apart from all others. For many people, the idea of marriage is transforming into something different than what they saw as children. For many people, marriage has less to do with societal expectations, religious beliefs or familial obligation and more to do with personal choice, personal growth and a partner to share experiences with. That does not always require a signed contract involving the government and someone ordained in order to get it done. The choice to marry or not is becoming more personal, less public. More “want” to and less “have” to.
Wanting to, not having to
This makes more sense to me and, I believe, that as more people choose marriage for the deeper, meaningful, purposeful, intentional personal reasons – the less marriages we will see and the less divorces will follow. Keeping marriage as a profound and loving choice and conscious effort (as a “want to” rather than a “have to”) creates stronger, deeper bonds required to withstand the harder times that comes with living.
Living from a place of choice is a powerful place to be. Not everyone wants to be married and having the freedom to choose your own path saves great heartache down the road for the person who, in the past, would have married someone who didn’t really want to be married.
Not every straight woman wants to be married. Not every straight man is trying to avoid it. Not every person from the LGBT community wants to get married either; but I do believe that EVERYONE should be able to make that choice. Relationships and commitment are a personal choice and not all of them require a marriage certificate. They are PERSONAL CHOICES.
So, married or not, the bottom line remains the same to me. I am here to help you create the healthiest, happiest, strongest relationship you can; period.
* Research source: www.Rollingstone.com
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