First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage ...
Right? Wrong. With Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's recent engagement announcement after seven years and six kids together, it appears that the order of operations in love and relationships may be changing directions. 6 Reasons Why You're Still Single
Data from 2009 says 53% of births in America were out of wedlock. This is a trend that experts say is increasingly common in middle class America. Helen Fisher, Ph.D., says, "A hundred years ago, if you had a child out of marriage, you would be social disgrace. Today, women feel comfortable enough economically and culturally to bring up a child without a recognized commitment from a man."
Will marriage as an institution in America soon be outdated? Many couples feel that marriage is simply a piece of paper and just don't want to rush into it. Another reason people are waiting to get married is because they don't want to get married and then divorced — they want to take the plunge only once. 6 Ways To Know If The Guy You Like Is SERIOUS Boyfriend Material
As far as first marriages go, 1 in 10 fails within five years. Many of these parents who aren't too interested in marriage are the children of divorce who were born in the early 1980s when divorce rates peaked. In fact, fewer people are marrying than ever; 51% of adults are married today, compared to 72% in 1960.
According to reports, Jolie and Pitt are tying the knot at the request of their kids. It can be easier for kids when their parents are married, so they don't have to explain to their peers why their parents aren't married.
These days, it's certainly more acceptable to have children without being wed, but studies have also shown that unmarried parents are twice as likely to break up by the time their child is 5. How To Survive Your First Year Of Marriage
Is the order of operations in love and relationships truly outdated? Some might say yes, but it's not really. While it's certainly culturally acceptable to have kids without the ring, many people are still following the traditional flow of love, marriage, and then kids.
Some things to consider:
1. If you've been married before, does marriage still hold the same significance for you? Maybe you don't feel you need to get married a second time because it no longer means the same thing. Statistics on remarriage put the divorce rate for second marriages at over 50%. So, while this should not discourage you, perhaps you'll want to make sure this is a step you are definitely ready to take.
2. Things you need to do before you get married/are thinking about getting married for the first time
- Talk about it with your partner. Sometimes one partner wants it and the other doesn't. While we often think it's usually the man who doesn't want to get married, Fisher notes, "Despite the myth that men are less committed, they are predisposed to desire marriage. It's evolution. He wants to keep the mother of his children around to ensure his DNA lives on." 3 Steps to Your Ideal Relationship
- Talk about your finances. It's very important to keep open communication between partners about finances. In America, 45% of 25 to 34 year olds are married. In 2000, 55% of Americans in that age group were married. In the 1960s, more than 80% were. Increasingly, many are waiting to get married until it makes sense financially.
- Plan to marry for the right reason. Love or tax benefits? Just know why you're getting married! 5 Necessary Qualities For A Happy Marriage
- Consider creating an alternative ritual of commitment. Domestic partnerships are a path many couples are taking. A marriage alternative can look like a legal union in every way, or it might simply be a verbal agreement. Domestic partnerships are available to both same-sex and different-sex couples and allow for legal rights similar to those of a married couple (property ownership, support obligations etc).
- Consider possible legal reasons for tying the knot. Health insurance is certainly a benefit when one spouse has it and the other needs it. With children, you also gain tax benefits when you get married. In addition, there can be intangible benefits for your kids: a committed relationship between two parental figures. This of course can also happen without marriage, but sometimes it feels more real for kids if their parents have tied the knot. Texting Your Way To Love [VIDEO]
So should you get married before you have kids? It really depends. If you are ready, go for it! And if not, take your time. Pamela Haag, Ph.D, author of Marriage Confidential, says, "Marriage might still be the preferred dream. But it's not the exclusive dream."
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