What's your typical response when people ask you "So, when are YOU two getting married?" I've lived with my boyfriend for a little over two and a half years now, together over four and we have a legal domestic partnership. But no, we're not married. No, we're not engaged. No, I'm not upset about that. And while one day that's the plan, for today -- we're quite happy with where we're at.
We're not alone either -- many of my non-married, cohabitating friends own homes together with their significant others, have pets, and even children. Living in sin? I don't think so. Making love work for a new age? Absolutely!
Just last week, a great article from the Christian Science Monitor came out in defense of this Millennial trend to hold off on marriage. The reasons for waiting are many. Some want to develop their own careers first and others want to be more financially stable. Most 20-somethings just want to have their own sh*t together before they make any huge commitments and I think that's pretty responsible of us.
But let's not dispute the elephant in the room -- DIVORCE FREAKS US OUT.
Many of us grew up during the same time divorce rates skyrocketed. While my parents are still married, I knew many kids at school who had to go through their parent's divorce. There may be no such thing as the 'happily ever after' marriage, but we as a generation saw firsthand lots of unhappily wrecked marriages.
So, pls understand our reservations up front...but remember -- we're an optimistic generation too!
- Fact: Majority of millennials totally want to get married [me included!]
- Fact: They want to make sure they are certain of themselves before they commit to marriage
- Fact: Relationships, legally binding or not, are EXTREMELY important to us --- just because we're not walking down the aisle doesn't mean we're not invested with all our heart.
My partner and I have been through hardships that would test marriage's strength and we're together still and stronger for it. No ceremony, ring, or signed paperwork can make-up for the lack of trust, communication and genuine love required for a lasting relationship.
What I think is most interesting (and awesome) about committed millennials is that they don't see marriage as the only method to developing a meaningful, lasting and healthy relationship. GenY's got a lot of faith in their partner and as a demographic, our ability to keep long-lasting social and romantic relationships is quite remarkable.
We're pioneers purposefully altering the long-held assumption that becoming married was the sign of adulthood and of being in a true romantic relationship. Some may end up getting married eventually (as the data shows) and some may not -- but what I think is important to note, our generation isn't jumping into something they feel they ought to - we're consciously making the choice to become married when we want to.
And that's awesome.