It’s no secret that marriage looks a lot different today than it has in years past. Change is inevitable, and as time progresses each new generation of married couples has a fresh set of distinct challenges and parameters to navigate. However, there are some trends that have remained the same for decades regardless of the landscape. Take, for example, the fact that when an increase in salary occurs in a given area, more marriages and births happen as a result.
Until recently, that is. According to a study done by researchers at the University of Maryland, while the wage increase tied to jobs created by fracking booms for men in the U.S. was accompanied by an uptick in births, there was little to no movement of the needle on marriages.
There are a number of factors that could explain the shift (or lack thereof) — but according to Jordan Johnson, LMFT, practicing in Salt Lake City, Utah, they all ladder up to the fact that now, more than ever before, people are seeing marriage as truly optional.
With the increasing societal acceptance of cohabitation, out of wedlock births and single parenting, the institution of marriage has become less of a pre-requisite.
“Traditionally in the United States, there has been a general consensus that the passage to adulthood goes through marriage,” he explains. “Today the role of marriage as an essential part of the transition to ‘adulthood’ has become less defined. With the increasing societal acceptance of cohabitation, out of wedlock births and single parenting, the institution of marriage has become less of a pre-requisite and more of an optional part in the process than in previous decades.”
Millennials are getting married less often and much later in life than previous generations, as they put their careers first and, especially for women, take full advantage of the opportunities that weren’t available to them in decades past. “In 2000, there were 2.3 million marriages within a population of 281 million” according to the U.S. Census Bureau, says Johnson. “Comparatively in 2010, even though the population had grown to over 308 million, the number of marriages decreased to under 2.1 million.” As of 2013, the average age men in the U.S. tie the knot is 29, and women at 26.6.
So, how does all of this impact the state of marriage today? Matrimony has always come with challenges, but there are some unique hurdles that couples in 2017 are coming across on the road to wedded bliss — from navigating social media to towing along more baggage.
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