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If your mailbox is any indication that invitations to weddings are far and few between these days, it may not be a coincidence. People are waiting for the right time to marry. It’s a fact that Americans are putting off marriage until later.

A U.S. Census Bureau survey demonstrates this fact. Since 1970, the average age for men and women to get married has increased. In women, the age increased by a little more than four years to about 25, and in men the age increased by nearly four years to almost 27. To sum it up, you were more likely to have married by the age of 24 in 1970. More than half of men and women are now waiting until after that age.

People are waiting for a few reasons, including:

  • Two times as many women are now going to college as compared to three decades ago.
  • Women are now concentrating on careers in order to save money before they tie the knot. Many women want to be secure financially and not have to depend on another person.
  • Many people in their 20s and 30s today are afraid of the divorce rate. Their parents may have gotten divorced, and it makes them leary about making the commitment. In fact, some children of divorced parents say they have trust issues, and they want their commitment to be permanent.
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports that student loan debts are more than one trillion dollars. This means that 2010 graduates are left paying off an average of $25,000 in loans. (The top one percent of student loan borrowers owe more than $150,000.)
  • College debt is affecting personal lives, resulting in more students putting marriage and children on hold.

Do all of the statistics and current beliefs mean you will never find the right time to get married? Researchers say that waiting until later can mean that you are marrying wiser–both in maturity and financially.

According to an Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll, thoughts about marriage have changed a lot. The poll showed that many younger Americans support living together prior to marriage, as well as same-sex and casual relationships. In addition, the poll found that young people still value the institution of marriage and believe it is meaningful.

Two-third of participants felt that marriage led to a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life. The older poll takers were even more positive about marriage, with three of every four saying it is important in society. In fact, many of the respondents felt it was evident from family and friends that people who are married are healthier, happier and have a greater ability to tackle problems.

If your mailbox is any indication that invitations to weddings are far and few between these days, it may not be a coincidence. People are waiting for the right time to marry. It’s a fact that Americans are putting off marriage until later.

A U.S. Census Bureau survey demonstrates this fact. Since 1970, the average age for men and women to get married has increased. In women, the age increased by a little more than four years to about 25, and in men the age increased by nearly four years to almost 27. To sum it up, you were more likely to have married by the age of 24 in 1970. More than half of men and women are now waiting until after that age.

People are waiting for a few reasons, including:

  • Two times as many women are now going to college as compared to three decades ago.
  • Women are now concentrating on careers in order to save money before they tie the knot. Many women want to be secure financially and not have to depend on another person.
  • Many people in their 20s and 30s today are afraid of the divorce rate. Their parents may have gotten divorced, and it makes them leary about making the commitment. In fact, some children of divorced parents say they have trust issues, and they want their commitment to be permanent.
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports that student loan debts are more than one trillion dollars. This means that 2010 graduates are left paying off an average of $25,000 in loans. (The top one percent of student loan borrowers owe more than $150,000.)
  • College debt is affecting personal lives, resulting in more students putting marriage and children on hold.

Do all of the statistics and current beliefs mean you will never find the right time to get married? Researchers say that waiting until later can mean that you are marrying wiser–both in maturity and financially.

According to an Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll, thoughts about marriage have changed a lot. The poll showed that many younger Americans support living together prior to marriage, as well as same-sex and casual relationships. In addition, the poll found that young people still value the institution of marriage and believe it is meaningful.

Two-third of participants felt that marriage led to a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life. The older poll takers were even more positive about marriage, with three of every four saying it is important in society. In fact, many of the respondents felt it was evident from family and friends that people who are married are healthier, happier and have a greater ability to tackle problems.

Are You Ready for Marriage?

  • You really want to spend eternity with your partner. Sometimes people get caught up in the thought of the gorgeous wedding gown, handsome tuxedo and pretty flowers and how nice the photos will look on Facebook. The questions to ask are what the benefits of marrying will be and why you want to make it official.
  • Weddings are fun and last a few hours, but marriages lasts a lifetime (or at least that’s the thought when people initially go into them). Do you want the celebration and the fact that all eyes will be on you? Make sure to plan for the rest of your life and put in perspective how your daily life will be without the “party” and guests.
  • While some people meet in high school, go to the senior prom together, get married and live happily ever after, it’s quite uncommon. Many people feel that waiting until 25 and older for marriage is ideal, because they’re more mature and have crossed some things off of their “to-do list” in order to have lived more of life. This provides the chance to meet different people and make the decision of what they want—and don’t want—in a life partner.
  • Relationships are much more than going out on dates every weekend and having fun. In marriage, you’ll be faced with issues that will require a united front. Remember the timeless words that are said on the alter: “for better and for worse.”
  • The reason for marriage should be much more than the fact that you have been dating for the last five years. Marriage is because you know about your partner. You know what the other person’s dreams are and the way he feels about certain things. You know their quirks. A commitment to marriage is knowing that person, as well as loving and trusting him completely.
  • People sometimes marry with the feeling that the partner will change afterward. Just because they get married, it will not change the person. If there are big flaws in the relationship, marriage is not the answer to solving them. Marriage should be because people love each other for the way they are now.
  • People who work out their problems in the relationship so they don’t crop up later are better equipped to get married. They work out issues, communicate and compromise. This is the basis for a strong marriage. When people “sweep the problems under the rug,” it’s not a good way to help the relationship and can make for wider cracks in its foundation.
  • Dating is fun, and people tend to do things on the spur of the moment, making plans at the last minute. Marriage means making plans for the long-term and agreeing on those plans. If one person in the relationship has a goal—for example, traveling every year to a different part of the world—does the other partner want to accompany him? If not, is he willing to stay home? Marriage means working toward goals and making plans as a team.
  • The decision to get married is one of the most important—if not the most important one–you will make in your life. Ask yourself if you are in love with the other person and can’t imagine your life without him in it. If you feel you will not be happy with any other person on earth—in fact, you would be totally unhappy without that person—it seems that marriage may be the next step.

Marriage—something everybody strived to one day have. It was the dream, the goal, the way of life. Was. The younger generation, or the millennials as they’re also and so often called, are saying no thank you. They’re searching for meaning in something other than a loving relationship and finding happiness elsewhere. They’ve adapted an independence they don’t wish to give up—or know how to give up. While some make it clear that they just aren’t made for marriage, others wonder if they’ll one day feel ready to make the lifelong commitment.

Reasons We Fear Marriage

Your friend from school just posted a picture of her shiny engagement ring. You just got an invitation in the mail to your cousin’s wedding this summer. Your brother is getting married this October. It all makes you shudder and lose control.

People of all ages fear marriage for a variety of reasons. It is, after all, meant to be a life-long commitment, which is scary and even completely unfathomable for some. This fear may be rooted in a few more specific fears:

  • You’re scared of divorce. If you’re going to finally make that life-changing decision you don’t want it to end in divorce. As divorce seems to be more prevalent now than ever, you worry that will one day be your life.
  • You’re scared of the responsibility. You’ve only ever been responsible for yourself. You wonder how you’d ever be able to care for a whole other being and just aren’t sure if you could.
  • You’re scared of losing your independence. You don’t know what it’s like to be married. You fear feeling caged and letting go of your freedom.
  • You’re scared to trust someone. Say you end up making a great wife or husband. Well what about the person you married? They could end up being untrustworthy or disloyal or just a horrible partner. That’s scary enough to make you second guess getting married.
  • You’re scared of the hardships. Every relationship and marriage comes with difficulties. You’re scared these difficulties may be so great that they’ll break you and leave you feeling lifeless.

How to Overcome These Fears

There aren’t any foolproof guidelines to relieving yourself of fears related to taking that big step. Most people are fearful up until they’re standing at the altar or even into their first month or so of marriage. The only way to really get over it, like most fears, is to face it. But only if you’ve reached that point in a relationship. So instead of worrying about your fear of marriage, think about whether or not it makes sense and feels right to make the commitment.

Signs You’re Ready to Get Married

Maybe in your mind you’ve already committed to a lifelong relationship with someone. You’ve vowed to stand by their side for the rest of your lives and to love them endlessly. Just without the ring and the white dress and the certificate. The thought of putting this promise in writing scares you. These could be normal nerves or maybe it’s a sign that you’re just not ready to take this big step. Sometimes it’s hard to tell, so here are a few things to consider

  • Have you found what you’re looking for in a partner? Think about what you really want. Is this person making you happy? Do they challenge you and drive you to be a better person? If so, this is a good sign.
  • When you think about the distant future, is your partner in it? If you envision yourself with this person years down the road and for all of the years to come, then that’s a sign you just might be ready for marriage.
  • Are your emotions reliant on one another’s? When they’re sick or having a bad day, you grow upset. When they reach a goal, you’re filled with pride. This is a good sign: it shows a true connection and also that you could be ready to tie the knot.

If you aren’t currently dating somebody, it’s hard to tell when you’ll be ready for marriage. People likely never feel ready until they’ve met that special person that makes this lifelong commitment suddenly appealing and attainable.

Moving Forward

It’s completely normal to feel fearful of marriage. Many of us do. But that’s a good sign because it means you’re protecting your heart and prioritizing your life. You just have to ensure you don’t allow these fears to get in the way of living the life you want and making the commitment if all other signs are pointing to taking the leap. So, accept that your fears are rational, decide if you’re ready for that commitment, and do your best to cast your fears aside.

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