Redefining wedded bliss?
Another generational divide creates controversy among how millennials test-drive “I dos” vs. the more traditional marriage decision for a lifelong forever commitment.
Evolving technology has provided us with beta versions before a site goes live, a similar approach has been adopted by the digitally advanced, socially inept culture.
Our budding values are consistently overwhelmed with the luxury of choice, so it seems only fitting for this “testing” process of elimination be considered as a solution towards an individual’s quest for a soulmate. Well, at the very least, logical I suppose (meant in an uncertain tone)?
Much like abandoning the launch of a new website when there are too many dysfunctional codes and features, relationships enter a beta-stage before maturing. This phase is like playing house before the proposal (let alone before the eternal commitment is ever even to be considered). Growing up, I always understood marriage to be for better or for worse—you didn’t live with each other beforehand, and divorce was something of a last resort for extreme internal or external circumstances. However, can our society even be capable of progression, undying passion, or endless happiness under these old-fashioned conditions?
Trend researchers decided to investigate with a Time Magazine survey revealing a new attitude towards the walking down the aisle. In conjunction with the effect of television dramas, accessible cheating on the Internet, parental comparisons, personal experience, and dramatic expressions of social sharing are all now facets of the new norm. Terms of endearment like “honey,” or a violated broken heart are being swapped out for words like “bae,” or reflective of an “unconscious uncoupling”—gag me with a spoon—proof our society will sacrifice reality just to put up their public façade rather than acknowledge how they really feel about their potential significant other. However, while social media platforms highlight a rather deceptive perception, millennials got candid with their true frame of mind on the subject at hand—in matrimony, that is.
This reform is being coined the “false renaissance of love.” If you ask me, it’s entirely contradictory. In one corner, you have couples declaring their vows to one another, obsessed with Disney princess quizzes and fairy tales with weddings photos all over their feeds, but in the other corner, the same exact group is searching for a way out? I’m confused.
As 43% and higher among the youngest subset, support a beta marriage model of a two-year trial, while 36% are open to “real estate” grants, and 21% wouldn’t mind giving the presidential campaign strategy a whirl. They are completely missing the mark. Isn’t that what dating is for? Screw “till death do us part,” let’s just go ahead and abolish that one.
Perhaps if young millennials were not feeling forced into situations benefiting from dual incomes in these tough economic times, plus the obvious social pressures, or if they actually understood the ideal concept behind dating as to alleviate majority of the concerns contributing to divorce, our foundation for unions would be much stronger. However, in our fast-paced tech world, accessibility, along with everything else, is rushed.
Generations are openly arguing between the “life being a work in progress” and “you made your bed, now lie in it” mindset. Younger folks are much more open to change because of their lifestyle, while Gen X-ers focus more on stability and belief of—at least in the superlative sense of the word.
Truth be told, the U.S. has the highest divorce rate in the Western world. This is simply to avoid hassle of the probability of turning into a statistic. “Millennials aren’t scared of commitment—we’re just trying to do commitment more wisely,” claims Cristen Conger, a 29-year-old unmarried but co-habitating podcast host in Atlanta. “We rigorously craft our social media and online dating profiles to maximize our chances of getting a first date, and ‘beta testing’ is just an extension of us trying to strategize for future romantic success.”
We are a generation raised on a wedding industry that could fund a small nation, but marriages that end before the ink has dried. (As one 29-year-old survey respondent put it: “We don’t trust that institution.”) We are also less religious than any other generation, meaning we don’t enter (or stay) committed simply for God. We feel less bound to tradition as a whole so hold on to your bouquets and garters.
“This is a generation who has not had to make as many long-term commitments as previous generations, so the idea of not having an out feels a little stringent,” says Lavigne-Delville. “Divorce has happened for a long time. Maybe we should rethink the rules.”
While it is no doubt we are a cynical bunch, our standards remain high. We want a best friend. We want a business partner. We want a soulmate. We want all of these things, yet the most we are willing to do is swipe right or left. Maybe our problem is we want the traditional fairy tale romance, but we just grew way too far beyond it?
What do you think of millennial beta-marriages, weddings, and revamping the fine print?
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