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Two in five young adults surveyed say marriage is an outdated tradition.
Marriage expectations are changing among Generation Z and millennials, concluded a new survey from the Thriving Center of Psychology.
The study also found that three in five unmarried couples live with their partners, many of whom consider it no different than marriage.
One in five say they share a bank account with the partner they live with, while one in six share a credit card.
Seventy-three percent of respondents say they feel it’s too expensive to get married, with 85 percent reporting that they don’t feel marriage is needed to “have a fulfilling and committed relationship.”
While not cited in the study, the decline of religion across the country is undoubtedly a factor. Marriage has long been a way for God to recognize a couple as one.
Historically, various churchgoers considered it a sin to live with a partner to whom you are married. Many still do.
But with church membership and attendance at an all-time low, religion plays less of a role in a couple’s view on marriage.
A growing number of couples today, particularly among Gen Z, see marriage as only a way to be recognized legally. To some, that is a negative.
Bill Maher is 67. And he still can’t find a reason to get married.
“I never understood the concept of marriage,” Maher told Joe Rogan last year. “Because, when people would say, “Why don’t you want to get married?’ I’d say “Why would I invite the federal and state government into my love life?’
The dream to get married, buy a house, and have a bunch of children is less prevalent. Perhaps the way society portrays marriage today can help explain why.
Pop culture puts working, independent women on a pedestal. Women today might consider their social standing more predicated on their career accomplishments than their life at home. Maybe it is.
The same avenues often depict divorced men as being in a state of depression, often living in a small apartment without his kids but still finally supporting a nagging ex-wife. The premise of the popular sitcom Two and a Half Men centers around that premise.
Broadcaster Stephen A. Smith recently echoed the concerns about getting married and paying — literally — for the consequences of increased divorce rates of around 50 percent:
Young Americans are impressionable. The perception of marriage is less magical and awe-aspiring than it was for past generations.
The advent of dating apps has also complicated relationships. It’s easier to stay single knowing you can replace your former partner with just a swipe to the right.
Couple those cultural changes with the decline of religion and it’s quite clear why young adults struggle to see an incentive to sign a contract to stay with one person forever.
But there are incentives they may not see. The survey participants cite economic concerns. However, studies have long found that married people make more money than their single peers, sometimes as much as 32.6 percent more.
That is especially true of married men vs. single men.
The reasons for that are less clear. Perhaps it’s the support system at home. Or as simple as the better job candidates are more likely to find a long-term partner to marry.
According to Big Think, “Theories aiming to explain this gap generally center on the individual. For example, perhaps the same traits that make a person earn more also make them a more attractive partner, and thus more likely to be in a long-term relationship. Alternatively, perhaps being married makes men more productive — since women still do most of the housework — as men can focus more on their careers.”
Stacy Washington from SiriusXM also told me Wednesday night that the incentive of marriage can be seen in a child, about the struggles of a broken home, and men and women viewing their relationship as fickle.
Still, Stacy agreed happiness is all we should chase. Marriage has historically brought happiness to a husband, a wife, and their children.
If you fall into that category, marriage is still right for you. If not, and you believe you are better single or dating, you do you.