20-something’s are putting more, and more energy into this debate. Setting themselves up further, and further into the category of either being firmly against, or overwhelmingly in favor.
The definition of marriage has changed. And no I’m not referring to gay marriage, either. The definition of traditional marriage has changed. Times have changed. Expectations have changed. And there has been a steady, and not necessarily terrible shift in priorities. Since most “traditional families” can’t live on one income alone anymore – it is most definitely not a bad thing that 20-somethings are focusing on their careers first. The job market is incredibly competitive, as well, so that gives additional merit to “getting yourself figured out” before jumping into a marriage.
However, there are some really obvious – and really painstaking flaws in this logic.
1.) Are we utilizing the extra time we grant ourselves wisely? I mean that pragmatically. If this is the reasoning we are using, to push away marriage – and it isn’t just a distaste, or general hatred for commitment on that level – are we putting ourselves in a better position professionally, financially, academically, or personally? We’re getting degrees, and we’re out in the world trying to find a job – but are we really doing anything to prudently improve our life? If you’re going to say – bag marriage, or serious relationships for that matter – I’m going to “do me,” and live my life – shouldn’t you have something to show for it by say – I don’t know – age 30?
2.) Just because you approve, or don’t approve of marriage/serious relationships in your 20s, doesn’t mean someone else feels the same way. On any given day, you could read 50 different articles telling you exactly why you should absolutely never be getting married, or in a serious relationship in your 20s. Additionally, you could read 50 different articles telling you exactly why you should absolutely be getting married, or in a serious relationship in your 20s. They’ll give varying reasons as to why it’s totally OK, or absolutely wrong – and even share some reasons – yet never see any compromise or level ground on the issue. Understand that everyone feels their own way, and move on.
Just because your “BFF Amanda” is getting married at 24 – and looking to settle down with her life, doesn’t mean you’re any less of a person, or she is any less of a person because you don’t agree. The point is that whether you approve, or disapprove, you have to focus on your own life. At the end of the day, if you’re both 30 and married, who cares if she got hitched at 24, and you waited to tie the knot until 29-and 363 days to preserve your “youth?”
3.) 20-somethings don’t screw up relationships, or marriages because they’re 20-something. Actually, they screw them up for the same reason thirty-something’s, forty-something’s, and even fifty-something’s do. They don’t. That may seem like a head scratcher, but it seems like the most likely, and obvious answer. Failing marriages aren’t exclusive to 20-somethings. In fact, they’re not really exclusive to any age group. They’re exclusive to characteristics, qualities, and decisions. Marriages fail for a myriad of reasons. More than I could even do justice by trying to name in this piece. But, trying to use age as a measuring stick for your readiness as a human being, to be in a committed relationship, and therefore create your stance on the issue – isn’t a very good practice. This kind of carries into 4.
4.) Well, my parents were divorced – or – over 50% of marriages end in divorce today. So, are you suggesting that there’s no point? Or are you suggesting that because it didn’t work for your parents, or complete strangers that you are destined to be exactly what they were? I find it ironic that a generation that spends legitimately 99% of its time trying to solely be different than those who came before, allow the actions of a previous generation – determine their position – or thought process on a given issue. Generation-Y wasn’t the generation that started the “divorce,” or “stay single” trend. Generation-Y has taken it to a different level, but that is an honor reserved almost entirely, for Generation-X.
5.) I haven’t met enough people, or lived enough – I might miss something, or worse yet “the one.” Again, this would be awesome if people were using their time more wisely. Except the truth is that most people either spend this time complaining that they cannot find anyone worthy, or getting fall-on-the-floor drunk, in college. Not saying that either are bad choices – again – it’s all about what you want to do as an individual. But, if you’re not going to use the time wisely – what are you actually doing for yourself? Go out, and live.
Meet people. Go on dates. Hell, sleep around – if that’s what you’re into. But, understand the consequences of that. You could just as easily miss something that’s already passed you by because you were too busy looking years down the road, just assuming things would “magically pan out” when you were mentally ready for them to. A little bit of life is definitely uncertainty. But, life should be well thought out just the same.
6.) Overall, the entire “I’m too young,” logic – in whatever form it may present itself. In comparison to past generations, you’re not only old to be getting married, but you’re also old to be starting a family if you’re 20-something. If you don’t feel you’re ready – you’re not ready. Own it. Don’t dance around the subject. It’s about when you are ready – not when society tells you to be ready, or other people on the internet tell you to be ready.
After all, who could blame you? Society, and the times really have changed. 20-somethings of 2014 don’t have nearly as much life experience as 20-somethings of 1960, or 1970. Today 20-somethings are a group of individuals that were dropped into a society at age 18, with little to no life prior responsibility or goals. Go back to our grandparent’s generation, and you see a group of people who oftentimes had to drop out of high school, to go to work and help support significantly larger families in comparison to today.
Life is easier, but learning how to live has gotten significantly harder.