Did you know “today, 5% of men and 10% of women aged 25 are married, compared to 60% of men and 80% of women 44 years ago”(Goldhill). That is an absolutely huge difference. So what happened? Why now are there so little young adults getting married? It is because this generation of young adults realizes that marriage is a dying institution. To fully comprehend why this is a dying tradition we must divulge what happened with marriage previous to them. They understand that before their time, their parents and grandparents, had a completely different view on marriage and even divorce. For their grandparents marriage was an expected tradition. You get married as soon as possible; then you have kids right after. And then the wife stays home and her new job is taking care of the house the kids and her husband. That is what was expected. What was unexpected were the amount of divorces that happened because of that rush to marriage.
Then their kids, the parents of this generation, are the ones who grew up in divorce battles when before them divorce was uncommon. That experience made them “keenly aware of the difficulty of divorce when children are involved, and some would argue, more determined that their own children do not have those same struggles”(Raso) meaning they work harder to make a lasting marriage. And finally we make it to this generation, a generation where divorce is common and is seen not “as a sign of failure, but simply a choice to be made when a marriage is no longer what they want it to be”(Raso). This is a time of self-absorbed, immature, easily distracted and commitment afraid people who are only interested in short easy gratification. They have unrealistic expectations of marriage but are unwilling to put forth the effort needed to make a long lasting marriage. This is probably one of the biggest reasons marriage is dying, and the fact that this generation seems commitment phobic is a big reason why.
The commitment issue they have is closely related to point that they are aware and cautious of divorce. “In almost every interview she conducted with young adults, they cited the 1-in-2 divorce rate. Gen-Y is very aware that divorce may be right around the corner” (Zimmerman). This is also the reason why they are waiting longer to be married, “postponing marriage until, on average, age 29 for men and 27 for women” (Reiner). They are waiting to make sure they have made the right decision even going so far as to make an “extra step between dating and marriage – living together, something that was far less common a generation ago” (Reiner). And makes marriage almost unnecessary.
“More than half of [this generation] (54%) say marriage is unnecessary” (Bundrick). Before their time you needed to be married to be able to have sex or to live with someone. But now sex is no longer taken so seriously and is involved is casual affairs like hooking-up, hanging out and friends with benefits situations. Making us less likely to enter into a serious relationship and less likely to marry at an early age; especially since we don’t need to sign a contract, till death do us part, just to have sex. Another thing that’s changed is that cohabiting (living with someone) is not looked down upon like it used to be. It is viewed as “a good test of a future relationship” (Goldhill).
Not only is it unnecessary to be married, but they also no longer take it as seriously as it used to be and can now be canceled without the embarrassing effect it used to take. This generation of young adults have so much individual freedom of choice that they often change their mind on want they want or need. Marriage is supposed to be a sacred bond between two people but now because of this freedom and the self-absorbed way of thinking it is “more likely to be seen as an easily canceled contract. [Example] Men are more likely to want to trade up, when a younger trophy wife comes along” (Brooks).