What is taking so long? I first got married in my mid twenties and my husband did the same. Others in our generation married in their early and mid 20's. Our parents wed even earlier than we did. Current data indicates that young adults are waiting longer to get married, most in their late 20's or early 30's.
In speaking with our children, a couple of them have proclaimed that they have no plans of ever marrying, some have casually mentioned they will most likely marry in their 30's and finally our oldest (35) is making wedding plans. Hooray!!! Seven out of eight of our children are 18 and over. None of our girls are dating at this time (as far as we know).
The question that has lingered in the back of my mind is whether or not our own divorce and remarriage has influenced our children's attitudes about making a trip down the aisle. Divorce data
suggests that if you are divorced, your children are at greater risk to divorce also, but the good news is, divorce is not hereditary. However, does parental divorce influence children's attitudes about getting married in the first place?
In the book “Adult Children of Divorce,” psychologists Elizabeth S. Thayer and Jeffrey Zimmerman discuss that children of divorced parents tend to develop a fear of commitment, bad judgment about sex or emotional intimacy, and a subconscious desire to sabotage their own relationships to retain a sense of control. In another book "The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce," author Judith Wallerstein followed the lives of seven children through adolescence, into their love affairs, their marriage successes and failures, and parenting their own children. One thing is for sure, all of the children's lives were profoundly altered by the divorce experience. This data caused me to be concerned about our children's fate. I began searching for more answers.
My research only found more troubling information. According to an article by Sharon Jayson, in USA TODAY, today's young adults are delaying marriage for a few reasons. One explanation is related to financial instability. Think about the number of grown children including college graduates who reside with their parents or receive financial assistance from them. The second cause for delayed marriage is that there is less stigma related to sex before marriage. Young adults are not ashamed to admit they are involved in sexual relationships, especially since they are dating longer before marriage. It is not uncommon for a couple to date 8-9 years before getting married. Thirdly, many are choosing to just live together and perhaps marry at a later date.
Okay, so where does this leave my children? I'm not sure, but it sure gives me reason to spend time talking with them about marriage and relationships. In addition, I will be praying specifically for them related to marriage and for their future spouses.
How long will it take?