Post-Conventional Marriage

Note: This is an America-centric blog.

Couples who’ve been married for 20+ years, have kids, been financially supporting each other, etc., get divorced. That’s a pretty scary thought to me. At no point in your romantic life can you say, “I’m 100% sure I will die beside this person”. A scarier thought, however, is the people who don’t want to be together, but for one reason or another, cannot separate. Then, not only are you basically not with them, but you’re living with someone you resent, and you can’t date anyone else.

At least in the former situation, the unstable nature of any relationship forces both parties to never stop trying, and never stop dating. When these couples fall into ditches of not being a team and not wanting to have fun with each other, they will falter.

Many Millennials are choosing not to get married. According to pewsocialtrends.org, “Just 26% of this generation is married. When they were the age that Millennials are now, 36% of Generation X, 48% of Baby Boomers and 65% of the members of the Silent Generation were married.” (Source)

Something else I’ve heard is that once you have kids, the paradigm completely changes. You now just have another full time job, with one coworker, and there’s way too much work for just two people. You won’t have time for each other, and if you aren’t both working yourselves into the ground, you’ll run into problems. You are now colleagues, and just barely lovers.

Sounds like a lot of strain for you and your partner to be under, no matter how long you’ve been dating. So why choose to have one of these home-wreckers?

Well first of all, marriage has a noticeable impact on overall happiness. It is a U-curve; happiness declines in the first few years, then increases in the later years. When you add a (planned) baby into the mix, this early decrease doubles. On top of that, they are much less likely to get divorced (hence having a kid to save a marriage), so they are basically just miserable and trapped.

Many couples are choosing not to have children nowadays. Just look at this fertility chart from 1960-2015. The average number of kids per woman has been sliced in half.

As time goes on, the world has become more accepting of these alternate lifestyles. Now, when someone is unmarried at 35, people think, “They’re just taking their time, or maybe they don’t want to get married,” where as back in the 50’s, people would think they couldn’t get a spouse, and were thus, worthless. No more.

In conclusion, the younger generations can and will do what they want, and I believe they will be happier because of it. You don’t have to make commitments to people, and if you do, they aren’t binds that you must live your life by.

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