Are You Married? Do You Want to be Married?

The answers to those questions, to a large degree, depend on how old you are.why

How much money you have.

And what color skin you’ve got.

This, according to a new study on marriage released today by the Pew Research Center.

That fewer people are getting married, and later, isn’t really a surprise. In 1960, only 9 percent of adults over 25 had never been married. Now that number is twenty percent. Some of them will get married eventually, but ever more won’t get married at all.

Older folks value marriage more. Younger folks value it less. For those over 35 never married, the most common reason is, “haven’t found what they are looking for.” For 25-35 year-olds the most common reason is, “not financially prepared” and for 18-24 year-olds the biggest reason is “not ready to settle down/too young”.

Educated people have more successful marriages than poor people. African American’s value marriage most of all. Women value steady jobs in potential husbands. Men value values in potential wives. Among the previously married, women are less likely to want to get married again than men. (54% compared to 29%.)

But what about YOU?

Of course when one reads studies like this, the inclination is to compare the statistics to declineyourself, and to those you know.

I got married at twenty. My daughters, 31 and 28, are solidly single, at least thus far.

I always wanted to be married. It seemed the highest form of commitment and, a fortress solid ship to sail in the world. A way to build a life, to share the joys and burdens with a very special someone, someone who always has your back and who you care about more than anyone.

Having spent the last few years getting myself unmarried, though, I’m less sure about many things. I am really glad for the societal structure and legalities of marriage—and the fact that I live in a community property state—but I often think:

What has marriage done for me, lately?

Lots of folks quote the 50% divorce rate, but that’s simplistic. It’s much higher in some groups, much lower in others.

And, more important, are the 50% who stay married happily married?

Marriage is like dancing.

It’s not necessarily good or bad in and of itself, it’s about who’s doing it.fulfillment

About Karen Ray

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