Print Edition: March 19, 2014
I would like to live in a fantasy world in which society just accepts an individual’s decision whether or not to marry.
Generation Y is being scrutinized by previous generations because we’re not jumping blindly into marriage in our late teens or early 20s and popping out five children by the time we’re 30.
While many of my generation may be pushing 30 by the time they even consider marriage, it does not mean we’re all getting hammered every night at clubs, hopped up on cocaine, and having sex with anything that stands on two legs, regardless of gender. Of course, I can’t speak for all of us, but there is a middle ground. Some of us are actually thinking about the consequences of getting married too early.
And too early is different for everyone.
Generation Y is said to be “much more racially and ethnically diverse” than previous generations, according to social marketing professional William J. Schroer, which many people speculate is the reason a large number of us are throwing traditions like marriage to the wind. I take comfort in knowing that most of my generation is putting off marriage, going against the status quo, at least until they are absolutely sure they want it. How can you make a lifetime commitment to someone else when you don’t even understand who you are as an individual?
That understanding can only come from soul-seeking through a vast number of different experiences: education, work, hobbies, friends and rivals, and, yes, sex.
Hook-up culture is not exclusive to Generation Y. In fact, according to Justin Garcia’s research at The Kinsey Institute, this cultural revolution had its beginnings in the 1920s. It’s an age-old mindset of breaking out of tradition, only to eventually fall back into it.
But it isn’t all about sex.
Our generation has witnessed same-sex marriages become legalized in countries across the world, watched friends we’ve known for years bravely come out as gay, and experienced the collapse of the traditional family.
In a whirring and dynamic social structure, some of us wonder where we fit. The framework developed by society clearly marks two decisions: marriage or staying single. But it’s not necessarily that easy, and sometimes it takes a little more time to decide what will ultimately make us happy.
Marriage is only an extra step in a committed relationship, not an ultimate goal. Many of us look forward to the “big day,” despite the lateness of the event in our lives, and when we finally do want to settle down, we’ll know we’re doing it for the right reasons.
And with the right person.
That ring is not magical. It does not have the power to make a bad relationship better. And if taking that extra bit of time to make sure it’s the right decision is what we want to do, it’s our life — let us do it.