Last year I did a study on “Millennials and Marriage”, this was a major group project for a research class that involved extensive research, surveys, and face-to-face interviews with students and staff at USG. The goal of our study was to figure out how millennials feel about marriage and how it effects the various aspects of their lives.
A major conclusion of our study found that millennials are delaying marriage more so than ever because they prioritize values such as independence and self success over marriage and starting a family.
Ironically, just a few weeks after submitting this project I got engaged. I was deliriously happy when my boyfriend of over four years proposed on a beach as the sun was setting off the coast of Aruba. It was every girls dream proposal.
Later I started reflecting on the study and asked myself whether I considered myself as someone who values self success and independence over marriage and a family. I pondered whether or not I could get my act together before walking down the aisle – the degree, successful career, high income, luxury apartment, financial security, good credit, etc. etc. etc.
Naturally, being a “Type A” personality I started losing sleep over a wedding that doesn’t even have a date set. It was a battle between joy and excitement vs. the building pressure and anxiety that a 23-year-old bride to be might feel.
Then I remembered a very crucial part of the study, that our results were rooted in the fact that we live in an individualist society rather than a collectivist society. In short, individualism values self-success, it’s every man for himself so to speak. Collectivism on the other hand values group success, it’s more of a teamwork type society.
So what does this have to do with marriage? and how does this relate to my situation?
Marriage is defined as “the unity between two people”, and unity is defined as “the state of being united or joined as a whole”.
Unity is something that is highly valued in collectivist cultures, a society that is united as one.
Are you starting to put the pieces together? I’ve been looking at it all wrong.
In order to be married your life doesn’t have to be perfect, you don’t need the 6 figure income, booming career, or luxurious home, or have traveled the world. Despite what many millennials preach today, marriage does not mean putting a halt on your own success, your dreams, or aspirations.
Marriage means climbing the latter of success with your partner as one, supporting each others dreams and pushing one another towards greatness, it means teamwork and commitment, it means that your in this life together not alone.
Just because you’re settling down, doesn’t mean that your settling for less.