Of the many things that millennials find themselves doing, saying “I do” and starting a family does not seem to be one of them.
A 2014 Pew Research study found that the average age range that millennials tied the knot was in their late 20s. Women aren’t getting married until 27, while men are waiting until 29. Your grandparents' generation? They got married by 25 or younger.
But what isn’t included in this study is the number of millennials who are moving in together without getting married. While many would argue that is “preparing for marriage” or “discovering your sexual compatibility,” there are numerous consequences of cohabitating which endanger society as a whole.
This is bad. Really, really, really bad.
When you look at the customs of cultures from around the world throughout history, there is one constant that transcends them all: a man and a woman joined together for life, for the purpose of creating and nurturing the next generation.
Marriage is and always will be the foundational building block of a stable society. The formation and the training of the next generation of humanity is and always will start at home and is entrusted to the father and mother of their sired offspring. To say that this can be changed or altered goes against all that the science of humanity has shown us.
Today, marriage has almost no meaning in the modern, secular sense. It is no more than an excuse to throw a party.
Think about it. When you sign a marriage license, what does that really change about a couple’s situation if you already live together? You can claim dependents on your taxes and have pretty much every other “benefit” of getting legally married but without actually doing it. It adds absolutely nothing.
Today, marriage ceremonies include personalized vows and the signing of a piece of paper which fails to recognize the solemnity of the commitment into which the two parties are entering.
In the Western tradition, marriage was never a purely societal construct. It was a solemn declaration and vow between the man, the woman, and God. In the Roman Catholic Church, the marriage rite vows are specific and cannot be changed. The vows begin with a promise of fidelity through hardships and concludes with the words "till death do us part.”
This phrase seems rather meaningless to most couples now. It is a vow that is upheld 50 percent of the time. Half of all marriages end in divorce in the U.S., according to the American Psychological Association. That means that at least half of American kids are raised in broken homes.
Monogamous and lifelong. Sworn before God and man. That was the foundation of centuries of prosperity and excellence that spurned humanity to accomplishments that awe us today. It all began in the home, where the father and the mother raised their children to become strong, upstanding citizens and contributing members of society. Sadly this is no longer.
The generations before us have muddled an institution that is vital to the survival of a society. It is an indisputable fact that children who are raised by a man and woman who are married, and stay married, are more likely to succeed. We owe it to our future children to make the lifelong commitment of marriage the way it was intended and reverse the trend that was started before us.
It is the duty of each generation to improve upon the world that is left to them. We can talk about climate change or “promoting a culture of inclusivity” all we want, but if we truly want to improve our society and our world, we must look to providing the best formation of the generation that succeeds us. We owe it to them and we owe it to ourselves.
So please millennials, get married and stay married. Have children. Raise them to be upstanding citizens and good contributors to society. Because remember, the very existence and survival of our society depend on it.
Jeremiah Poff (@JJ_Poff) is a student at Franciscan University of Steubenville where he studies journalism and human life studies. He is fluent in Spanish and he also writes for the College Fix.