These trends in technology, education, expectations, and social norms are adding up to some good news on the marriage front.
In the 1970’s the divorce rate was at its peak. Around 50 percent of all marriages ended in divorce. But that number has steadily been decreasing over the years.
Today, there’s no definitive number, but one study, according to Professor Scott M. Stanley, a research professor and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver found, “A young couple marrying for the first time today has a lifetime divorce risk of 40 percent.”
Contributing factors to this are people getting married later in life when they are more mature, more selective use of birth control, change in male/female gender roles, and people are more dedicated to marrying for love so they’re taking their time to make the best choice they can.
As a Master Certified Relationship Coach, I know none of my clients are looking for a marriage that won’t last, I do my best to make sure they are in the best position to the right partner to decrease the likelihood of getting divorced in the process. My clients and I call this “Marrying Mr./Ms. Right, not divorcing Mr./Ms. Right Now.”
For young daters today (aka Milliennials), I began to wonder how the way they live their lives might affect the future of their long term, committed relationships. After comparing my experience as a coach with some dating facts and trends, I’ve come up with what I think are the Top 5 Reasons Millennials Will Divorce Less Than Their Parents.
#1 – THE CHIPOTLE EFFECT
When I was growing up you went to McDonald’s and ordered off the menu, but today Chipotle and restaurants like it are the new normal for the Millennial crowd. Chipotle itself has seen its sales more than quadruple since 2000 so has become one of the fasting growing food chains in the world. The reason for this explosion is because of the inexpensive price, food taste, and the customization of the way you order food. Basically, you get what you want, the way you want it made right in front of you.
This attitude, which says, “I’m not just gonna order off the menu anymore,” seems to be one of the Millennials’ anthems. For generations, people married because it was just that thing you had to do when you reached a certain age. You had to find someone, get married, and settle down. It wasn’t so much of a choice as a duty, a fact of life. For Millennialls, this empowerment of “having lots of choices” is pounded into them from all directions, from online dating to food choice, and because of this they may not jump into as many quick, unhealthy marriages that end in divorce.
#2 — LESS RELIGIOUS PRESSURE
According to a Pew Research Center report, fewer than six-in-ten Millennials identify with any branch of Christianity, compared with seven-in-ten among older generations, including Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers. More than one-third of Millennials now say they are unaffiliated with any faith, up 10 percentage points since 2007. When someone lacks a religious conviction that could mean they are not bound by dogma and/or the pressures that sometimes come with it.
Because the institution of marriage is very much linked to religious convictions, this decrease in number could affect the way Millennials view marriage as a whole. Marrying for love, instead of because of religious reasons or pressures could send the divorce rate heading in the downward direction.
#3 — THE POPULARITY OF DATING APPS
This type of digital dating is taking hold of the Millennial crowd and replacing some of the more traditional dating outlets like meeting through friends or even the relatively young online platforms like match.com.
I recently saw a segment on a news program, which indicated that single Millennials are actually going to bars, bringing up a dating App with a plan to meet other singles in the exact same bar. Walking up and saying hello is being replaced with a swipe to the right, then saying hello. As a Relationship Coach, I feel that Apps can be just as effective a way to find a partner as anything else, as long as you are authentic about what you are looking for and practicing safe dating techniques. That’s why I like to say it’s not the “swipe” that matters; it’s the “person behind the swipe” that makes all the difference. For Millennials, all these swiping options could make for “choice” overload, meaning they’ll feel there are just too many good dating options out there and it’s too easy to search and/or meet people so why settle down right away?
Because of this digital age, the proverbial “sowing your wild oats” may just take a little longer as people get all this “choice” out of their system. If the Millenials delay getting married until they are older and more mature they will make better relationship choices, and when that happens less divorce usually follows.
#4 — THE STIGMA OF BEING AN UNMARRIED WOMAN IS GOING AWAY
We have all heard terms like “Old Maid,” and “Spinster,” which are disparaging terms meant to describe a woman who is no longer young and not married. For centuries, the idea that a woman wouldn’t get married relatively early in life was not only frowned upon, but a real stigma.
Those days are fading away as more and more women (and men too) are deciding NOT to get married or are at least waiting until much later in life to do so. For many generations, the pressure to be married far outweighed the idea that anyone should marry for love.
Today, Millennials can go to bed at night knowing that their decision to NOT say, “I do,” or delay it for decades, is a choice they can make that will be accepted and/or respected by others. That can lead to fewer unhappy marriages overall and a divorce rate that heads in the right direction.
#5 — WOMEN ARE GRADUATING WITH MORE DEGREES THAN MEN
According to the book The Rise of Women, in 1970, 20 percent of men and 14 percent of women finished college. By 2010, women’s graduation rates had jumped to 36 percent, while men’s grew only seven percent; to 27 percent. Today, the numbers continue to show women are going to college and graduating with more degrees than men. This can have an effect on Millennial marriages because more and more Millennial women will enter the job force and stay there as long as they can. They are taking their time, maturing, and hopefully marrying “Mr. Right”, not divorcing “Mr. Right Now.”
And the same is true for men, as women become less pressured to marry, and more committed to independence and careers, men will have more opportunities to choose a mate for love alone, one who is an equal, and who will compliment them for the rest of their lives.
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