6 Reasons Millennials Don't Need Marriage — For Starters, We Don't Need A Certificate To Prove Our Relationships Are Valid
Your Facebook feed might suggest otherwise, but fewer and fewer folks are tying the knot, and millennials aren't getting married at nearly the same rates that gen x'ers and baby boomers did at our age. According to a projection by the U.S. Wedding Forecast, by next year, the marriage rate will fall to a staggeringly low 6.7 per 1,000 people.
Before millennials get labeled as soulless sex monsters or something, it's important to note that these findings don't mean that our generation isn't interested in commitment or relationships, but more that we like to do things in our own way and on our own terms. The set that's consistently called "entitled" might "lag in forming their own households," or they just might not want to recreate a world that looks identical to the one they were raised in — where divorce is the norm and it's one set of genitals 'til death do you part.
For those that do decide to take the plunge, there's no shortage of ways millennials are redefining marriage, but often, Generation Y is eschewing the tradition altogether in favor of something less defined and of their own design. For cultural, economic, and social reasons, our generation isn't as hard pressed to say "I do." Here are five reasons why Millennials don't need to get married.
1. The idea of soulmates has pretty much been debunked
It's fine if you buy into that whole fairy tale fantasy of soulmates and destiny, but these days, it seems to be more the exception than the rule. Although it is kind of impossible to completely ignore the romantic messages we're consistently spoon fed by The Bachelor and rom coms, many millennials have been taught that the idea of soulmates is more fiction than fact. Without that magical notion to tie you to another person forever, the idea of marriage doesn't seem so necessary.
2. It's more socially acceptable to have kids without being married
There was a time when single mothers were looked upon with a unique brand of disdain, but thankfully that is slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past. From Sandra Bullock to Halle Berry to Kate Winslet, many female celebrities are rocking the whole solo parenting thing and destigmatizing single motherhood for us all. Now more than ever, marriage (or even a partner) is not required for reproducing.
3. We know a certificate doesn't make your relationship valid
78 percent of millennials support gay marriage, and if the ongoing fight for marriage equality can teach us anything, it's that marriage doesn't make a relationship valid. Although everyone should have the right to be married, you certainly don't need to be in order to make a lasting commitment to someone you love.
4. The way we define relationships is changing
A significant number of millennials are opting out of monogamy and engaging in a variety of practices from open relationships to polyamory. As marriage doesn't traditionally go hand in hand with alternate relationship models, it makes sense that people in their 20's and 30's are too busy juggling multiple lovers to hear wedding bells in the distance.
5. Our finances can't support a wedding
It's no secret that millennials have had a tough go of it financially. With the average wedding costing upwards of $30,000, the very idea of getting married is enough to make some of us break a sweat. However, if the economy were to return to it's pre-2008 state, 77 percent of millennials say they might give marriage a go. As that's pretty unlikely to happen, it's safe to say that this generation is going to stay decidedly in the bachelor/ette camp.
6. We don't need a marriage to have sex
Once upon a time, a marriage license was required for sexual activity — particularly for us lady folk. OK, that's not exactly true, but it was still far less socially acceptable to sleep around out of wedlock. Today, anything goes! Well, unless you're a woman who still faces the threat of slut-shaming if you rack up too many partners. Getting married just so you can discover the pleasures of intimacy is no longer a necessity (thank god) and it's one of the best reasons millennials have to not have to get married.