Clinical Psychologist

It is not what's wrong with you, but what's right with you that matters most.

Copyright ©  Joanna Jablonski, Psy.D.

It's not what wrong with you, but what's right with you that matters most.

Joanna Jablonski, Psy.D.

Future Marriage Apacolypse? Certainly more Millennials (anyone born between 1980 and 2000) are choosing not to marry. So what do I think? I think there are multiple reasons why young people decide not to tie the knot.  First, we currently have more individuals attending college to obtain undergraduate and graduate degrees, especially women. After dedicating so much time and money to education they like to focus on their careers before thinking about getting married or having children. Second, a factor that also plays a major role is student debt. There are many young people coming out of graduate school with basically two mortgages in student loans. As a result, they stay focused on their careers, advance in their jobs, and pay off those loans. Third, young adults who are in a long term committed relationship may choose to spend money to travel and explore life rather than paying for a wedding or buying a house. Fiji or a reception? Finally, another factor to consider is that a lot of people come from divorced families and therefore, worry about making the same mistakes their parents made. This causes them to be more cautious about marriage. Do I think marriage will ultimately disappear? I don’t think so. After all, research does show that happily married couples, happily is the key word, live longer.

So did people actually marry too early? No, I do not believe this to be true. I think there is no “one size fits all” theory when it comes to marriage or when to get married. There will still be people who will marry early. Divorce of course is a huge thing to consider before deciding to get married. Based on my work with couples, I would say the three most common reasons for divorce are: 1) Not being able to let go of the past. It is like they say, the past will haunt you. This could include infidelity, bankruptcy, addiction, or anything one has trouble letting go. 2) Growing apart and no longer being interested in solving issues or working things out. 3) Not recognizing the value in their marriage until it is already too late. Also, some adults unfortunately do not see divorce as a big deal. It can even be considered trendy. I do believe that people who wait to get married later or not marry at all will no longer be judged. In 1960’s, 68% of people in their 20s were married.  In 2008 the number dropped to 26%. In addition, I think we will see people decide on different type of partnerships such as “parenting marriage” (living together to parent and share finances) or “comfort/safety marriage” (for financial security and companionship), which seems to be more common in older couples.

So when are you ready for marriage? You may want to consider marriage when youdesire and are ready for partnership, commitment, and family. You also need to be emotionally mature, willing to compromise, and to create a meaningful and balanced life with another person. I think friendship is a key factor necessary for a successful marriage. A marriage with mutual respect, understanding, and honor can be critical to making things work. One should not get married solely for love or because he or she wants someone to love them, because love alone is not a strong enough foundation for marriage. One also should not get married because he or she is lonely or needs someone to take care of them. Lastly, one should not get married because of pressure from family, friends, or romantic partner.      

Dr. J