Millennials have been keeping their distance from one of the core institutions in our society. Only 26% of this cohort, that numbers over 80 million, is married. Compare that to other generations: 36% of Gen X, 48% of Baby Boomers and 65% of the Silent Generation were married at the same age.
According to a Pew Research Center survey, one of the main qualities most women want in a husband is a secure job. Yet the report points out that young men are increasingly less likely to be employed. And those who do have a job are bringing home less money than ever. So although marriage hasn’t completely disappeared from the radar, financial constraints and other gender imbalances seem to be having a huge impact.
If you don’t want singlehood to be the new normal, here are a few practical tips you can apply to your evolving relationship:
Ask for what you need. No one is a mind reader. Out of frustration or resentment, couples sometimes start to withdraw from each other. Instead, why not commit to understanding why your partner is angry or disappointed? And if you meet halfway, you both may get more of what you want.
Invest in your happiness. That will relieve some pressure, and your partner won’t have to be the major source of your wellbeing. When you take action in your own life, you feel confident, have a better attitude, and are more interesting. And you’ll find that your relationship will profit from these emotional dividends.
Express gratitude often. Compliments feel good at times when you may be taking each other for granted. Try to see your partner through a different lens. Look for those special qualities and charming quirks you love. And when you’re having positive thoughts or feelings, remember to say them out loud.
Only you know what it will take to make you feel fulfilled. Have an honest conversation about the unique issues in your relationship. Then follow advice to Millennials William and Kate before they got married in 2011. Because we all know that here it is, 4 years and 2 babies later, happily ever after.
A shift in how you feel internally can result from events as simple as a weekly date night or gestures as easy as a full body hug. And studies show that being satisfied with small changes can add pleasure and greater intimacy to your relationship.