A Millennial’s Thoughts on Marriage
by Victoria Yang, Director of Legal at Joynup.com on January 07, 2022
Millennials nowadays are taking a different approach when it comes to marriage. According to a Pew Research report published in 2020, only 3 in 10 millennials are living with a spouse and child compared with 40% of Gen Xers at comparable ages. Why? Maybe millennials have a different understanding of commitment and more options compared with previous generations.
Many millennials have experienced the divorce of their parents. It happens so often that we just feel it’s normal. From elementary school to college, I had many classmates who grew up in divided families. Their experience made them tend to be more careful when stepping into a long-term relationship.
Unlike our parents who got married much earlier, we are not in a rush. We prefer taking our time evaluating and testing the relationship in different situations, and making our decisions after deep consideration, because we want to avoid the mistakes our parents made.
We millennials also have more choices when it comes to dating. Online dating apps have changed many people’s dating lives significantly. All of a sudden, people are exposed to a lot of choices online, and this directly increased the number of dates. Although such an increase comes with complications, it has enriched millennials’ dating life. Almost all of my friends have used online dating apps, and some of them even met their significant others through these apps. We’ve gone from being timid about telling others we met online to feeling it is 100 percent normal.
In my opinion, the most important reason for this change is the rise of gender equality. Women are getting more independent financially and emotionally. Many successful women have set examples for other women. It makes us see that the idea of traditional marriage is outdated in some ways, and there are many other ways to create our own happiness. We believe it’s better to be single than married to the wrong person.
As a result of all this, many millennials started asking – what does marriage bring us? Is it necessary? Are there other options? I’ve heard people say a number of times that “a marriage license is just a piece of paper.” Our doubts are pushing us to seek alternatives.
In fact, some of my friends have already found their alternatives: one purchased a property together with her boyfriend without getting married, and another has children with her boyfriend but is not married. They look happy, and I’m happy for them too. I can see that this is getting more prevalent in our society, and people are more open-minded about it.
Although marriage is still the mainstream form of a committed relationship, as our society evolves I believe it’s a matter of time until people accept that there are many forms of a committed relationship, and marriage is just one of them.