Millennials & Marriage: Do 90s Kids Still Want to Wed?

Millennials & Marriage: Do 90s Kids Still Want to Wed?

Do 90s kids still want to wed? Here’s a look into the Millennial mindsets on marriage



If your daydreams are still veil-adorned and aisle-traipsing, you may be part of a diminishing statistic. Long gone are the days of Millennials gushing over their too-long “shortlist” of possible wedding venues, going back and forth on whether a bright pink gown is too unconventional or how to spruce up a traditional barong—or are they?


At the very least, Millennials are waiting longer to spew “I dos.” According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials are less likely to be married in their 20s than previous generations. The question is: why?


We asked two Millennials where they stand—on the altar or off it?


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To marry or not to marry—is it black and white?

Nowadays, Millennials are outgrowing the mindset of needing a partner to feel fulfilled. In addition, the lack of opportunities to divorce is a significant factor in marriage mindsets. 


When asked about her desire to remain unmarried (at least for the meantime), 30-year-old copy editor Aubrey tells Wonder, “I don’t particularly like the finality of it all, mainly because I don’t want to commit to someone to that level. And maybe it’s also about avoiding feeling like a failure if or when the marriage ends. But I’m open to getting married! Just not to staying married, if that makes sense.”


On the other end of the spectrum is 29-year-old content editor and manager Angela, who expresses, “I'd love to get married for both romantic and legal reasons (I've had the cliché ‘dreamt about it since I was a little girl,’ but definitely reclaimed that femininity and the dream of a wedding and marriage to be more contemporary and feminist…plus fully acknowledging that common law unions also exist now). Beyond a wedding, I just like the symbolism and gravitas a marriage holds, although I acknowledge it's not for everyone.”


Ultimately, the desire to remain unmarried is grayer than it is black or white.


But why the delay?

If the answer isn’t no, why the rise in “not now?” Nowadays, Millennials are primarily driven by a pull for independence and desire to pursue fulfilling careers.


The “choice paradox” also plays a significant role in the choice to marry. Pre-marriage Millennials are no longer strangers to cohabitation. As someone who cohabitated with a now-past partner for nearly three years, I can firmly vouch for its ability to reveal flaws and reinforce strengths. My greatest takeaway? The division of chores can make or break your relationship in ways you might not anticipate. 


RELATED: Modern Love: Here’s Why Young Filipinos Are Choosing to Cohabit Before Marriage


Another discussion you shouldn’t skimp on is your non-negotiables. According to Angela, “I definitely think it's something you need to discuss with your partner, but I've always wanted to be a mom and I think that's the only thing I can't compromise on. I also want the freedom to choose which last name to retain/take on. And maybe, in terms of chores, I'll do anything except stuff related to drains (laughs).”


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Persisting fears: a trauma response

As Millennials continue to redefine the institution of marriage, parts of this upheaval aren't so pretty. The decision to marry is becoming increasingly deliberate, with the desire to find deep connections overthrowing the desire to guarantee a win in the next generation’s genetic lottery. 


Still, most fears and hesitations stem from agreeably devastating perspectives. Aubrey tells us, “Aside from the fear of failure (like the marriage ending), I’m also dreading the sense of complacency that usually comes when you’ve been together for so long.”


To add fuel to the emotional fire, Angela corroborates this fear of long-term commitment. “Just past relationship trauma creeping in, awful exes telling me I can't do it, etc. Other than that, I just don't want the pressure from my family to get to me, and the entire idea that my aunts and uncles can now put even more pressure on me to have kids ASAP, etc.” 


Thus, the inability to divorce also influences marriage decisions. Aubrey says, “I wouldn’t want to get divorced, but it would be nice to know that it’s an option. But if not, I can always ghost them but stay married forever.” She’s not kidding. 


Neither is Angela. “I believe circumstances can change, people fall out of love. It doesn't have to be violent or tragic for things to end, some things run their course. It doesn't make marriage ‘more special’ if there's no option to leave if feelings change. While I do still respect the gravity of the union, there's also undue insistence that people need to endure—I don't believe in that. Marriage, partnership and union isn't about JUST endurance, it's about love.”



Some Millennials will wed

Despite shared generational trauma, impossible expectations, run-ins with toxic partners and the desire to prioritize career, surveys claim that 69% of Millennials do report the desire to wed. Eventually. (Nice.)


When asked about the potential benefits of marriage, Angela responds, “Definitely the legal side of it; tax benefits, the ease of which you can prove you're family in case of emergencies (while I know common law is practiced here now after a certain amount of time, I suppose the legitimacy of it is still being questioned by a lot of institutions, and I'd rather circumvent the entire confusing explanation altogether). I also just love the idea of a partnership rooted in vows, religious or not.”



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The bottom line

No, Millennials aren’t cynical or commitment-phobic. They’re deliberate, inquisitive and perhaps a stickler for chores. And whether the obstacles be financial, emotional or something in a different realm, marriage is no joke. If the answer isn’t no, there’s no shame in waiting.


RELATED: Men and Women on The Best Things About Marrying Late



Words Zoë Isabela Alcazaren

Art Macky Arquilla 

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