Are Millennials shrugging off the idea of marriage?
Is marriage not worth the trouble? You'd think it's not, what with all you see in the movies, read on line and watch on TV.
However, the folks at the Pew Research Center agree with a character in the upcoming movie THE SONG -- that the institution is worth saving. The film follows aspiring singer-songwriter Jed King (Alan Powell of ANTHEM LIGHTS) as he struggles with fame, stardom and "the other woman," fellow musician Shelby Bale (Caitlin Nicol-Thomas of NASHVILLE),
As a result, his life and marriage begin to fall apart. “This movie honestly portrays what is good and messy in marriage, better than any faith-based movie I’ve seen. It asks what we all ask at times in dating and marriage: 'What’s the point of it all?'" writes family therapist Dr. Greg Smalley. "You'll see people you know ... even yourself...in this story of real-life consequences and grace. I love it and encourage other Christians to support and use this film."
What is the message today's young adults are getting? That sex outside of marriage is normal and that marriage is inconvenient. But isn't that a little selfish, particularly when there are children? Curious about what people think, Pew researchers asked whether society is better off if people focus on getting married and having kids.
Less than one third of 18-24-year-olds thought so. Among 24-34-year-olds, it wasn't much better -- 34 percent. But as those answering the poll increased in age, the numbers shifted -- with 45 percent of 35-44-year-olds and 46 percent of 45-54-year-olds agreeing that our society is off better with marriage.
Looking at the Pew numbers is "a little like taking a Rorschach inkblot test on the topic of 'American values,'" writes Emma Green for The Atlantic. "You could see a lot of different things, if you wanted. The most obvious would be Chicken-Little style fears about the coming end of marriage: With just 29 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds affirming the importance of matrimony and maternity, it would be easy to say a quick eulogy for wedding vows. This narrative of decline may be true for certain people in America—those living in poverty, in particular—but for the wealthy and the educated, the institution of marriage is still in very good shape."
Indeed, for people who don’t have a college degree, having a child in wedlock has become the exception, not the rule," writes Olga Kahzan for the same magazine. "According to a new analysis presented at the Population Association of America, among parents aged 26 to 31 who didn’t graduate from college, 74 percent of the mothers and 70 percent of the fathers had at least one child outside of marriage. Even among mothers who had high school degrees or some college but no B.A., the majority of births occur among moms who are either single or cohabiting.
"For the study, researchers interviewed 9,000 young people born between 1981 and 1998 annually from 1997 to 2011. They found that the more education a mother has, the less likely she is to have a baby out of wedlock: Of mothers with no high school diploma, 87 percent had at least one baby while unmarried."
However, you can also read the poll results "as a manifesto of 'not right now.' writes Green. "In 2010, the average marriage age was 26-and-a-half for women and nearly 29 for men. It's understandable that 22-year-olds might be blasé about the benefits of marriage and kids—and equally understandable that their 65-year-old counterparts are twice as likely to say it's important. As marriage-shy Millennials age, they might warm to the idea of lifelong commitment."
Indeed, with age comes wisdom.