If there is a trend in marriage for the latest generation to come of age it’s this… marriage is out. In fact marriage has been steadily declining since 1960. The other trend I have noticed lately in the world of marriage news is that people care about the habits of millennials. In recent weeks I have seen articles about why millennials aren’t marrying. The racial gap in the statistics about millennial marriage and many more trying to understand the millennial experience.
Millennials have a less favorable view of marriage and the value of saying I-do. The number of millennials co-habitating is on the rise and marriage as a necessity is not a strong view point. Parenting often falls higher on the bucket list than marriage. So what gives? Why has marriage fallen off the proverbial map? If I had to guess, I suppose I would say it’s because millennials just don’t see the point. Gone are the days of marriage being the only route to financial stability or even children. Those things can be easily achieved outside of marriage.
I am myself on the crisp edge of being a millennial (Born 1980). I do not often see myself in the descriptions, I do not own anything that says “keep calm and carry on” I don’t take “selfies” and I consider text messaging a secondary method of communication to calling or emailing. I have no inflated feelings about my specialness and I believe in marriage!
I wholeheartedly believe marriage is a path to a more fulfilling, generous, financially stable and satisfying, secure life. I have been married for 7 years. I was 27 when I got hitched.
Here’s why I believe in marriage.
I trust my marriage. While part of what I mean is that I trust my husband to be faithful to me and to be invested in our relationship, I also trust my marriage. My marriage is something I rely on, it’s somewhere I can go with my failures and triumphs and know that I will be safe and loved. I trust that we’ve built something larger than ourselves to cushion the challenges life sends our way.
My marriage makes me a better person. I believe that my marriage makes me a more compassionate, empathetic and kind person. When you are willing to make thinking about another person (or several people in a family) a priority everyday, you become more aware of something outside yourself and your goals. When you are a part of something that requires daily attention, generosity of spirit and a willingness to forego a small measure of personal desires you will be rewarded in immeasurable grace.
I believe my marriage is the foundation on which my children grow. There is plenty of evidence that marriage is good for families. Kids that grow up in married households do better by almost any metric. While there is no concrete answer on why that is, I know that my children witness a wide range of human interactions, communication (good and not so good), conflict resolution, patience, kindness, frustration, anger, forgiveness and that was just last Tuesday.
I believe my marriage will be one of my crowning achievements. When I look back on my life’s achievements, when I am passed my prime and my days allow for more reflection, I believe I will find that my marriage outlasted so many of the other standards I laid value on. I can only hope and pray that I will have the great pleasure of truly sharing my life with my spouse. Of growing old together and enjoying the many seasons of our lives, having the opportunity to reflect on a lifetime of triumphs, failures and a shared experience.
It is my wish that all marriages would provide this experience. It would be naive to believe that this is the truth and as a child of divorce I know full well that it is not always the case. I do however believe that it is possible and I for one am willing to put some of the gusto and enthusiasm I have as a youthful, educated, nearly millennial towards the pursuit.