Millennials in America are terrified of divorce. And why wouldn’t they be?
The divorce rates in America have skyrocketed in recent decades. In fact, somewhere between 40-50% of all marriages in America are expected to end in a divorce. Because of this, we’re spending more years dating and getting married later in life than any other generation. We over analyze the best formulas to create happy, lasting relationships, and we spend the majority of our time reading and writing advice articles centred around dating.
We have this preconceived idea that marriages only work if you follow all of the right rules, take steps in the right order, and date for one bajillion years before you ever see a ring. But I disagree. I think people are trying too hard to force relationships that were never meant to last forever in the first place.
I grew up in a family completely infatuated with all things Disney, so naturally, I’ve seen all of the Disney princess movies. While I was the little girl who dreamt of growing up and acting just like Ariel (I even showed off my “mermaid” swim to anyone who would watch), people around me were buying into the Disney love stories less and less. Adults would spend their time watching children’s movies, then rip them apart for teaching children that love happens overnight.
At first, I would argue with people that teaching children to dream about love-at-first-sight was a part of childhood. I would argue that we didn’t have to teach children how difficult love can be from the start of their life.
But now, after experiencing my own heartbreaks, I think Disney’s got it right. I dated a boy last year, and we never had any real problems, but I ended things three months in. Everyone in my life was confused about it since we hadn’t had any relationship issues, so I found myself answering the, “Why did you guys break up?” question a lot.
The only answer that I could ever come up with was that I already knew that I was never going to marry him. I knew that if we were three months into the relationship, and I wasn’t completely head over heels for that boy, then I never would be. A lot of people argued with me and said that I should’ve given it more time, or that I might’ve changed my mind later.
Do you understand how ridiculous that sounds?
When you meet couples who’ve been married for 50+ years, the first thing that anyone does is ask how they made it work. Almost 100% of the time, the couple will tell you that they’ve kept the love alive – that they’re just in love 50 years later as they were the first day that they met each other.
You are going to be the absolute most in love during the first year of a relationship, even if everyone is too afraid to say those words.
If marriage hasn’t even crossed my mind three months into a relationship, then I know that it’s never going to be the one that lasts, no matter how much effort I put into it.
We live in a culture that’s afraid to talk about the future, that’s afraid to say “I love you” too soon, that’s afraid that if you don’t wait a minimum of 7 years, you’re marriage will never work. But I disagree. I think Disney’s got it right. Sure, you might not know the day that meet the love of your life; maybe love-at-first-sight isn’t real. But everyone feels things way before they ever have the guts to say them out loud. Just because you waited a whole year before you told your boyfriend that you loved him, doesn’t mean that you weren’t feeling those things during week two.
We should be creating a culture that’s excited about love and marriage and relationships, not one that’s terrified of them. Maybe terror is the real problem with our continually increasing divorce rates, and not the number of years spent dating.