A Millennial wedding invitation that went viral not so long ago caused a bit of a stink among marriage purists. Apparently, not only are Millennials killing television, multi-national beer companies and old-fashioned soap bars, but they’re now putting marriage in the endangered species category.
The viral wedding invite was actually a bit of a joke. But, laced with profanity and not really taking the holy nuptials seriously, it did put plenty of the older generations’ noses out of joint. How dare they take such a sacred thing and turn it into a meme?! (Says the generations with the highest rates of divorce on record.)
Truth is, they are killing it
Millennial generations aren’t marrying the way the earlier generations did. But is that such a bad thing? Take a look at little deeper into it and sure, they might be making a slight mockery of traditional ceremonies, but Millennials are definitely not making a mockery of the sanction. In fact, Millennial generations are thinking longer and harder about marriage than their predecessors and taking the whole commitment a lot more seriously too. They are actually better at it.
With most waiting until they have been with their partners a bit longer before committing to the legal contract. Some waiting until their career goals have been reached or financial situations are stable. Millennials are actually respecting the blessed union a lot more than it seems in the surface. According to the US census Bureau, the median age of marriage has risen to 29.5 for men and 27.4 for women in 2017, which is quite a few extra years compared to 1970 when the median age reported was 23 for men and 20.8 for women. But that is those that are getting married.
Of course, there are a huge number of Millennials not entering into marriage at all. There are plenty of reasons cited for this choice, and they all seem pretty sensible and un-entitled to me.
Home deposit over confetti
Unlike their parents, Millennials can’t afford to have a huge wedding and secure a home deposit. Once upon a time you could throw thirty or forty thousand dollars (and the rest) at a wedding and still afford a down payment on a house, heck, your parents probably gave it to you as a wedding gift. Not anymore. With housing prices at an all-time high, and affordable properties almost a thing of the past, Millennials are opting to ditch the big wedding and use their savings on a home deposit. Or ditch them both and look into a better work/life balance.
When Boomers were young it went like this; puberty, schooling, marriage, babies. And they waited until their “golden years”, or retirement to take that European holiday. But Millennials are doing it differently. Securing their careers, investing in property and travel are all bigger priorities for most than getting hitched. Many opting to spend their younger years enjoying life and trying things/people out. Sure, they might invest in property, have kids or start a business with someone they love––which can actually be a bigger commitment–– but they don’t see marriage as being a priority. A US study of young adults reported 61% said having a fulfilling career was essential, while only 31% said marriage was essential.
In Australia, in particular, there have been a number of Millennials in the past decade of marrying age, protesting marriage because of the slow moving same-sex marriage laws. Many hetero Millennials standing in solidarity with their gay brothers and sisters, while the LGBTIQ community not engaging because, um, it was illegal. Despite the law being changed in 2017, there is still a small layover of Millennials that have decided it’s a bureaucracy not worth buying into.
All in all, it’s pretty rich to say that Millennials are killing marriage. Though they are not doing it the way other generations did, or even engaging in it at all, there are still plenty of Millennials that are getting married in wonderful, personal and creative ways, and of those, most of them are actually STAYING married, which I believe is actually keeping it alive!