Marriage Abstinence -- Just Not Ready Yet

22 percent of people said they weren't ready

By Jackie Morlock
|  Thursday, Feb 19, 2009  |  Updated 2:44 PM CDT
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Marriage Abstinence -- Just Not Ready Yet

Marriages are down in the U.S.

Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution.” -- Mae West

If you’re between the ages of 18 and 30, the federal government is targeting you in their $5 million national media campaign proclaiming the joys of marriage in hopes that more people will get out and get hitched.

Now I guess your mother won’t be the only one nagging you about settling down.

The government’s motivation: marriages are down in the U.S.

There were 7.1 marriages per 1,000 people in 2008, down from 10 marriages per 1,000 people in 1986, according to federal statistics released Tuesday.

"We're not telling people 'Get married' but 'Don't underestimate the benefits of marriage,' " says Paul Amato, a Pennsylvania State University sociologist and adviser to the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center, which is spearheading the campaign.

What exactly are those benefits? Better health, greater wealth and more happiness for the couple, and improved well-being for children, research suggested.

Your mom’s motivation, on the other hand, has nothing to do with statistics. She is probably hoping for a grandchild while she’s still alive.

But, the “M” word is a scary thing for some. And, I may have to go along with Ms. West’s words above on this one: I’m not sure if I’m ready for that kind of an institution.

It’s a serious commitment.

"I take this person to be my lawful wedded husband, promise to love and cherish him, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, for as long as we both shall live."

It’s the “for as long as we both shall live” part that gets me.

For me, marriage is not as simple as saying “I Do.” I want to take my time and be sure before I do.

Results from a study done by TRU, a Chicago-based youth research company, showed that I’m not the only one getting cold feet when it comes to the thought of marriage.

In fact, there are plenty of others who need some time warming up to the idea.

Over 3,500 men and woman ages 18 to 30 completed online surveys.

Like me, 22 percent of those people said they weren’t ready to marry right now but eventually plan to wed.

The study also found:

  • 14 percent expressed strong sentiments against marriage
  • 23 percent had a practical view of marital unions and often-live together first
  • 19 percent are enmeshed in the magic of love
  • 22 percent had a strong belief in the institution of marriage

Click here to tell me about your stand on marriage. I will feature some of the responses in a follow up article.

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