Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The year of no weddings

When I was in my mid-20s, there was a three-year period where every other weekend I had a wedding (or wedding-related party) to go to. I bought items off registries, made appropriate wishes for the bride and groom and tried to not make any wardrobe blunders caught forever in someone else's wedding album.

When my husband and I got married, it was a little later in our lives together. We'd been together for more than a decade, so it was not a surprise to anyone when we tied the knot. (In fact there was more of a "it's about time," feeling toward the entire affair.)

But maybe my husband and I were just ahead of the curve. Because according to Pew Research, the median age for a first marriage is at 27 for women and 29 for men (up from 20 for women and 23 for men in 1960). So lots of couples are getting married later.

But that's not the really interesting thing about that study. What really astounds me is the reasons why so many people are waiting. 

Women are holding out for a man with a steady income. This shouldn't be shocking, considering the economic crises of the last decade. Let's take a look at the men: Their main reason? They are looking for a partner who shares their ideas about having and raising children. (Granted this is important to women, too, but their number one answer was around a spouse with economic security.)

It's really just wonderful to see that children still play such a large role in choosing the person you want to marry.

But all that waiting does have some drawbacks. At this point one in five adults ages 25 and older have never been married. And the research from Pew shows that the longer people wait, the less likely they are to get married at all.

Let's be clear here: All of those non-married people in that one if five statistic above are not necessarily single. Around 24% of them are currently living with a partner - it's just that the state of cohabitation hasn't resulted in a marriage.

So, what does all this mean? Fewer weddings to attend? Women having babies later in life? It'll be fascinating to see how this current trend plays out in the next few years.

How old were you when you got married? Share the details with me in the comments.

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