Back in medieval times, marriage was the only essential attribute of a woman’s life. Marriages were also used as a tactic to win a war. During those times, getting married and having kids had been an end goal for women, unfortunately, not seeking happiness in a marriage. In fact, unmarried women were looked down upon as of today. As a rule of thumb, a woman’s status in society changed depending on the man she marries. But, was it all worth it?
A woman’s worth ultimately depended on the man and not herself. If a woman married a wealthy man, her status uplifted, and on the other side, if she married into a low-income family, her status diminished. So, from a young age, marriage was ingrained into young girls’ minds. They prioritized marriage and the notion of being rescued by a knight in shining armor was not uncommon. However, things are changing in recent times, and women are moving further from such ideals.
Women started expressing their desire to study and participate in activities men did. As a result, women began questioning the norms surrounding their lives and reasoned whether a marriage was worth it after all? The idea of marriage being an ultimate end goal is no longer a part of women’s lives in today’s world.
Marriage And Gender
Unfortunately, women and men are put into stereotypical gender roles when it comes to marriage. The man has to be the strong leader who financially supports the family while the woman is the homemaker responsible for taking care of the home and children. There is nothing wrong with this as long as both parties are okay with it, whether traditional or egalitarian.
Research conducted by Bentley University shows that the average age for first marriage for women is 27 and for men, 29. While in the 1960s, the average age for women was 20 and 23 for men. This clearly depicts that times have changed significantly.
Previously, men wore the “pants” in the family, and their opinions were technically the norm to be followed. As a result, they were more dominant when it came to household decision-making. Both the husbands and wives were okay with this arrangement and found nothing particularly wrong with it.
However, circumstances have changed now, and social movements have led to women having greater equality. Things women were not “allowed” to do are now things women excel at, like education, leadership, and government.
Roles In A Marriage
When people get married, they generally ascribe to either a traditional perspective of husband/ breadwinner and wife/ homemaker or a more egalitarian/ contemporary view that both the husband and wife share responsibilities and have equal rights in the relationship.
Whatever roles the couples decide to hold, they need to be similar. One partner holding a different view from the other will most likely cause conflicts within the marriage.
With this modern era, gender roles have flipped. What would generally be acceptable in previous times is a normal thing now. However, this doesn’t mean that there are no conflicts in marriages. This causes a warped reality of marriage, and women are seen hesitating when getting married. The following reasons explain why young women don’t put marriage as their ultimate goal.
Why Young Women Don’t Prioritize Marriage?
Young women are choosing to build professional careers rather than getting married. The coming up of dating apps encouraged speedy dating, and couples are not in a hurry to settle down. Research has shown that the Gen Z generation proceeds with caution regarding serious lifelong relationships and marriages.
An article published in Yale Daily News by Kyung Mi Lee shares her experience of how Gen Z proceeds with caution regarding relationships and how they view the whole settling down process.
She further states, “All hope is not lost. There may be a person out there who will bring out the best in you and you, the best in them.”
So, What Does Today’s Young Woman Prefer?
Young women are taking their time getting to know themselves and their prospective partners. They are not so keen on being dependent on their partner and don’t mind getting married and having children later in life.
Young women nowadays prioritize their wellbeing and happiness without bringing someone else into the fold. Most often, marriages fail due to the fact that one partner relies on the other to be everything for them, or they both do, leading to co-dependency. Depending on another person for happiness is the worst way to go about marriage.
Young women in this generation don’t prioritize marriage because of the fears they grew up with. Some might have gone through marriage trauma or witnessed separation between parents preventing them to put marriage at the top of their list. Therefore most young couples decide to cohabit instead of getting married to avoid heartaches in the long run.
A study conducted by Essence on successful women in their 20’s to 40’s about why marriage isn’t on their radar revealed that most of them prioritized their solitude, career, and happiness. For example, Alexandria Williams, a 32-year-old media manager in Texas, revealed that not focusing on marriage allowed her to invest in herself, her career and choose her own path in life.
1. Women Prioritize Work Over Marriage
A 23-year-old marketing content specialist from North Carolina, Kayla Brown, believes that marriage shouldn’t always be a top priority. She is a highly goal-oriented person, and her career is what she wants to focus on before even considering marriage.
A 28-year-old editor and digital content manager, Ariel C Williams, pointed out that she developed a bad habit of doing ‘wife like’ things for temporary boyfriends in her earlier years. This led to her ultimate burnout because of being entangled in being another person’s everything hence losing sight of who she was
Most of the interviewed women stated that they were in a pivotal time in their lives where their careers were what they wanted to flourish, take care of, and grow.
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2. Women Prioritize Their Health Over Marriage
Others stated that their health, self-care, wellbeing, and self-love were what they wanted to prioritize. When you are too much of everything for everyone, giving yourself entirely to fulfill everyone else’s needs, you won’t have any left for yourself. So focusing on their happiness was a priority for them, and if marriage came along the way, so be it.
Pilar Scratch, a 25-year-old New Yorker who is a celebrity stylist, stated that so many women make the mistake of jumping into a relationship and not having anything to offer. However, a commitment as vast as a marriage means both persons equally bring substance to the table and not one partner bringing everything. This is true; marriage is an equal establishment built on mutual trust and respect, and how can that be built when one partner brings everything to the table, and the other doesn’t. That might become the cause of resentment.
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3. Other Reasons Women Prioritize Over Marriage
Other women and their respective partners choose not to marry because they are not financially in a great place. And until they get to that point, why rush marriage
Others are generally happy where they are, and they fear that marriage will destroy the relationship they have built for themselves. They are scared of what marriage entails, and they would like a little bit of freedom.
Some women believe that marriage is a partnership, but it also needs to be traveled slowly and not rushed. So, before jumping into it, some women want to figure out who they are and what they want as separate individuals outside of marriage.
Catherine Rampell, a columnist for Washington Post, stated that marriage is desired but simply out of reach for many millennials.
Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist and co-author, proclaimed that “People don’t see marriage as necessary for a good life, there used to be one clear path to happiness, with strong moral expectations and having children. Now there are all kinds of legitimate chores.”
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The Impact Of Choosing Not To Marry
Most women build a false image in their heads of how life will be in a few years. By the time they reach a certain age, they will be married and settled down with kids, and when that doesn’t pan out the way they want it to, it becomes a problem.
The pressures that women put on themselves about following a timeline suck the life out of them. It stops them from focusing on the present and enjoying every moment as it goes. Life is too short to be spent worrying.
It’s All About The Right Time
Some women who are not married tend to suffer from a comparison trap. Although they choose not to marry or it hasn’t been part of their thought system, there reaches a point where they start to question their decisions. Asking themselves questions like, “Everyone else my age is either married or engaged, why am I still single?” At this point in life, you have to recognize that everyone’s time is different. If it didn’t happen for you now, maybe it will someday, but you need to stop obsessing over what’s not in your life and start focusing on what already is.
When women choose not to get married for whatever reasons, it opens up a door for all possibilities. Spend time increasing self-awareness, creating your identity, taking therapy, and healing before letting another person in your life.
Are Women Judged And Frowned Upon For Not Getting Married?
Women who chose to focus on their careers and not get married early in life are having a successful track record at work. Despite their success, these women face constant pressures from society and their families.
A new study from the University of Chicago found that women without children are more successful in the workplace. In fact, 49% of highly-skilled, top-achieving career women like doctors, lawyers, academics, and executives, are childless.
On the other hand, several research studies have proven that childless women or unmarried single women seem to be happier in their lives. This is because they made the right choice for them and prioritize their needs first. Not getting married early isn’t bad. Many couples marry their high school sweethearts and are extremely happy after taking that leap. However, it has also led to plenty of people getting divorced simply because they rushed into it due to following a timeline that society outlined for them.
Sadly, even to date, women who choose not to get married are frowned upon and are asked: “when do you plan to settle down?”. This is because society expects women to be married at a certain age, and when that doesn’t happen, they are blamed and ridiculed. Successful women who have everything going for them are also judged. It doesn’t matter how many things you have accomplished; none of them is seen as long as you have no husband or children.
Is It An End Goal?
Is marriage the end goal and worth it all? Do all young girls and women need to thrive for marriage? The simple answer is no. Life has so many adventures and trials as well as lessons that one has to learn to grow. We learn from our failures and our mistakes with the hopes of doing better next time.
It is highly problematic and irrational when we teach young girls from a tender age that marriage is all that matters. Instead, we should teach girls that they come first—their education, livelihood, wellbeing, and sense of self before thinking of marriage.
Even though marriage is something one shouldn’t forget about. It also doesn’t mean marriage should place the rest of our lives on the backburner.
Is Marriage Worth It Or Is It Really Bad For Women’s Happiness?
There is no one-size-fits-all. Some women tend to become happier through their work and individual accomplishments rather than fostering children. On the other end, most modern women seek a partner who is willing to grow together.
Daniel Gilbert, a Harvard psychology professor, and happiness expert says, “Marriage doesn’t make you happy,” instead, he believes that “Happy marriages make one happy.”
However, some argue that married people are happier because they were happier as an entity and share the same vibes with their partners. While studies demonstrate that happier people are more likely to marry and stay married, this does not explain the link completely.
According to studies, marital comfort is a significantly stronger predictor of happiness than being married. And being in a toxic relationship is detrimental to happiness. On the other hand, single people who choose never to marry but have a strong support system backing them up are certainly happy and content with life.
Another key ingredient for a happy marriage is acceptance. If the marriage takes place with both the partners’ consent, and continue to accept each other for who they are, they tend to lead a happy life.
Marriage is not a charm that will automatically make you happy. There may be other things that can make equally a happy person. Make sure that you choose wisely.
Most young women and perhaps also men, no longer think marriage is a key goal for them. This is because of the generational trauma that they have experienced when it comes to marriage. They might have grown up seeing divorced parents. Hence it creates a bad image of it in their minds, and they spend a better part of their lives avoiding it. Women as a collective should come together and heal each other, support one another.
Marriage can never be the ultimate goal, but it can be one of your goals, and it’s alright. You have a right to your opinions and so do those who feel like marriage isn’t on their radar right now and may never be. Don’t judge others’ journeys because you may be the very reason why someone in the future takes a path less traveled.
What do you think is marriage worth? Will it make you a happier person, or will it ruin things for you? Let us know your thoughts and opinions!
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Key Takeaways On Why Most Young Women Think Marriage Is No Longer A Key Goal for Them
There are certain outcomes a woman faces when she decides not to get married:
What Marriage Means To A Woman?
Marriage means different things to different women and is a subjective topic. However, marriage does change a lot of things in a woman’s life.
Is Marriage Worth It?
Many relationship experts believe that marriages are worth it for men more than women and, in fact, benefits men more.
Does Marriage Make People Happy?
Marriages alone cannot automatically make people happy. If the person is happier before marriage, they tend to continue being more happier. In fact, having a support system claims to bring more happiness than a marriage.