New research suggests the millennial generation is finally ready to settle down, get married and start a family – in that order.
That’s good news after years of disheartening trends. Ever since the sexual revolution, most of what we’ve heard about marriage has been bleak. Marriage scholar Brad Wilcox explains: “Since the 1960s, the rate of new marriages has fallen by more than 50 percent, and rates of divorce and single parenthood has more than doubled.”
Until recently, things haven’t shown signs of improving. The current millennial generation, those born between 1980 and 2000, were delaying marriage and choosing single parenthood.
That now seems to be changing.
New trends indicate “about 60 percent of the children of millennials will be born to married parents, up from about 45 percent today,” reports the Wall St. Journal.
Why the shift? Why are researchers now predicting more millennial marriages and families?
Perhaps it’s because millennials are now graduating college and entering their mid-20s and early 30s.
Perhaps, the WSJ suggests, it’s because this generation is finally on a “sounder economic footing” and feeling more secure about settling down.
That’s encouraging news for those of us who believe marriage plays a vital role in God’s plan for humanity and society. Social science proves biblical wisdom: marriage is best for adults, for children, and for society. The stabilizing influence of marriage helps everyone thrive.
This shift toward marriage doesn’t surprise Focus on the Family’s Glenn Stanton.
“God created us with a hope for marriage,” he says. “We want someone to love and to love us. People have always wanted and needed marriage, so it’s not surprising that we find this trend happening among millennials.”
For many millennials, choosing marriage requires a leap of faith. Many younger people saw their parents’ marriages falter and fail. They experienced the pain of divorce first-hand, and are unwilling for their own children to go through that. That has caused some millennials to “test drive” marriage by cohabitating, a strategy that ultimately undermines a couple’s future.
But with a growing number of millennials ultimately taking the plunge into marriage, Stanton advises they seek mentoring from a sometimes-overlooked source.
“While many of millennials’ parents failed at marriage, their grandparents’ generation succeeded,” says Stanton. “As this [millennial] generation considers and starts marriage, they should find a grandmother/grandfather couple who can walk them through marriage. Let them become advice-givers and cheerleaders. Older couples are today’s Ph.Ds in marriage – millennials would be wise to make use of them.”
Not only is that counsel for young couples – it’s an encouragement to older husbands and wives to infuse a greater sense of purpose into their own lives and retirement years. The reality is couples don’t need to have a perfect marriage to become trusted and valued marriage mentors.
If this idea of giving, or receiving, marriage mentoring is something that tugs at your heart, please learn more about the Focus Marriage Mentors program. Pastors will also find an array of useful resources at the link.