Getting married isn’t what it used to be. And that’s a good thing, thanks to millennials.
Is love dead? Hardly. So why have so many people have given up on love? Do we not know how to love each other anymore?
But the truth is that most of us are finding love; we’re just finding it later in life. The rules of love and marriage have changed, and rather than marry early when we barely know ourselves, we wait. This is hardly bad news for love. And love is definitely not something to give up on.
In fact, millennials have done some great things for love and marriage that we all get to benefit from.
1. We No Longer Marry Because Society Says So
Marriage takes place today for the same reasons it always has. Sometimes it’s for love, sometimes for convenience, sometimes to merge resources and sometimes a combination of all the above.
But one of the reasons that our parents and grandparents married so much younger than us was because society said they had to. These enforced societal norms made people in their 20s feel bad, weird or even like failures if they weren’t married by 25.
We now live in a time where you can get married (or not get married) in your 20s, 30s, 40s or later without society’s judgment. This means that we can marry for the right reasons instead of trying to live up to some arbitrary societal timeline. We no longer have to settle for bad sex, poor communication or mistreatment the way so many of our grandparents did.
But it also means that we can’t judge our lives by their timeline. Thinking love isn’t coming because your mother and grandmother were married by your age will only make you miss the great things that are happening right now!
2. We Take Time To Discover Ourselves
When my mother married my father, he was the only man she had ever slept with. The difference between her and my grandmother, though, was that my mother took time to travel the world, go to graduate school and do a fair amount of self-discovery through therapy. Still, that wasn’t enough. Even though they married at 30 and 32, when they divorced 16 years later, they both shared that they were too young to know getting married was the wrong choice.
Today, a new generation is both suffering and benefiting from the trend towards later marriage. Suffering because it’s difficult to be alone, but benefiting by avoiding the painful experience of marital failure and divorce. It’s difficult to go from relationship to relationship and never feel like you’re going to truly fall in love.
But marrying later in life means that we have more time to discover ourselves through the self-knowledge that comes with each passing year. We’re marrying when we’re more mature, more self-aware, and better equipped to enter into lasting love. And, in that way, we’re surpassing both our parents and grandparents in our search for love and happiness.
3. We Know That Older Is Better
In a culture that puts a high price tag on youth, we’ve forgotten that the best time of our lives starts later. Just as a fine wine ages over time, we become more interesting, more self-aware and more secure in who we are as we age. We also become better lovers.
Finding love and marriage when we’re older means that we’re more likely to find a partner who’s truly the right fit for us.
I’m a millennial, and I have to say that it’s not easy dating so many different people. I’ve personally felt like I couldn’t take one more heartbreak and wished I would just meet my love already, get married and move on with my life. I’ve almost given up on love like those one in eight, and thought, Well, if it isn’t here now, then it’s probably not coming. But it IS coming!
If you were born a generation before, then yes, you’d probably be in a marriage by now. But just imagine what your life would be like now had you married one of those ex-boyfriends you thought was perfect at the time. (Yikes!)
We’re evolving past marrying the first person we fall in love with to marrying someone who’s truly a spiritual match for us. But we have to become more conscious beings first on a spectacular ride of different lovers, devastating heartbreak, great love, all kinds of sex, solitude, big dreams and dreadful disappointments.
And finding love—the right love—just takes time. The Supremes had it figured out decades ago when they sang, You Can’t Hurry Love. Yes, we can’t hurry true love. Times have changed. But don’t lose hope!
Originally appeared at YourTango.
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