The way marriage is perceived in the United States has greatly changed in the last fifty years.
According to a recent study by the National Center for Marriage, the age at which people are getting married is at an all-time high. For females it is 27 and for males it is 29.
The statistics indicate the changing attitudes towards marriage in our culture.
MCC sociology professor Jack Peterson, who teaches sociology of marriage and the family, said that the changes have started even in dating.
“We are now seeing that college students have abandoned traditional dating,” said Peterson.
With these changes, more young adults are dating a small amount of people and then getting married without dating anyone else.
“People will date less people and the pool of people they date is lower. So by dating more people you learn things that help define you and what you want in a mate,” said Peterson.
One of the main topics that Peterson covers in his SOC 157 classes includes dating and selection.
The rates of marriage have continued to decline and are now the lowest in forty years.
Reasons such as finishing school or even economic reasons have impacted when young people choose to get married.
“I would say that the economy affects people who are older than younger college students,” said MCC student Elizabeth Alderete.
Even with people delaying marriage, the divorce rates among couples in the United States continues to be high.
The study also indicated a rise in couples cohabitating instead of getting married.
“When I first went to college in the ’80s, it was starting to become more common to see couples living together,” said ASU student Kelly Darger.
Cohabitation has become a way for couples to live together without the confines of having a piece of paper saying they are married.
“I have friends who are dating someone and living with them as well,” said Alderete.
More young people are looking to this an option compared to what older generations have done in the past.
According to Peterson, cohabitations have definitely increased as marriage rates are lower.
“Research points out that cohabitation is short term and lasts only 18 months,” he said
Darger, who has three kids in their early and mid-twenties said that they have different reasons for wanting to postpone getting married.
“I would be ok with whatever my kids decide to do, whether it’s getting married or not,” Darger said.