Eager eyes watching the bride in all white. Sentimental vows to be shared. A sweet union of two.
The ceremony couples undergo to vow to one another for life, is losing itspopularity.
New research reveals that younger generations are more devoted to the success of their professional lives than they are to building a family. Only 44 percent of millennials between the ages of 23-38 were married in 2019.
Marriage rates are plummeting and at the speedy rate of the decline, it is predicted that about 25 percent of millennials will never be married. This will be an all-time low, according to Pew Research Center.
But what about the proceeding generation where the oldest members are now reaching their 20-somethings? Are they going to increase the rate of being unwedded?
Generation Z has a hopeto get married but they don’t find it to be a necessity.
The question is why. Why do the tech-savvy young adults view marriage as a non-necessity?
This is the group that grew up watching cultural shifts within gender roles and social equality. One-third of those in this target group grew up in a household where their parents had children before they got married, according to Pew.
Generation Z is used to unconventional living, so their unorthodox views on marriage follows suit.
“I just feel like marriage has been historically a way to just sell off women and wives,” said Salem Banks. “And now you don’t really need to get married unless it’s for financial reasons. Other than that, if you’re together then you’re together.”
Banks, 20, says he could see himself getting married one day, but he doesn’t think that’s something he needs to validate his relationship. He wants a lifelong partner but he doesn’t need the label.
According to a survey taken among college students in Tallahassee, this is a popular sentiment for most of Generation Z. They want a lifelong partner but they don’t want to have to get the government involved — setting their marriage in stone.
Can we attribute their fear of government involvement to the rise in divorce rates? Absolutely. About 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce, according to the American Psychological Association.
“It makes young people today less secure in the idea of committing to and being in a lasting marriage,” UVA psychology professor Robert Emery, said in UVA magazine. “Much of the rise in cohabitation as an alternative to marriage is actually an alternative to divorce. If you never make a commitment, you are never going to divorce.”
Zenzele Thomas, 22, views marriage by law as a hindrance because of the risk of divorce.
“Marriage by law is relatively unnecessary,” Thomas said. “You lose a lot of benefits, for example if your children go to school, it may be easier to get financial aid if they only claim one parent. Similarly, if you are no longer in good terms with your partner, you must involve the law to be able to separate. On top of paying court fees, there are cases where partners turn out to be grimy and will intentionally fight to take things of yours that they don’t even own. Having children while getting a divorce is also stressful for everyone and can potentially be damaging to the child.”
Having apprehension about divorce is rational in this climate considering all of the struggles that could possibly come with it, such as: financial instability, familial discord and the emotional distress of the children if the couple bore them.
The future of marriage is uncertain but whether it is because of cultural changes or fear of divorce, Gen Z may contribute to the drastic fall in marriage rates.
“Our generation is under the illusion that marriage is an institution of love when it is, in fact, a business practice,” Thomas said.