Tuesday, November 8, 2022


My son and daughter are continuing the constant round of weddings, with so many of their friends tying the knot, in fact, that last weekend they had to divide and conquer, with my son and his bride of six weeks attending one wedding in New Jersey, and my daughter and her fiance of one week representing the siblings at another wedding in lower Manhattan. My new daughter-in-law posted that picture of my son and her brother and sister-in-law at the NJ wedding, with my newlywed boy looking too cool for school. I just like the picture. 

It occurs to me that Millennials and Gen Zs are not at all jaded by the idea of marriage. So many of them are stepping forward to commit, at least in my children's anecdotal experience. I saw a stat the other day that said that the incidence of divorce in the U.S. had fallen from roughly 50 percent a decade ago to roughly 40 percent today. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that so many of the couples currently getting hitched are doing so after relationships that have already endured for five years or more, many of those years living together. This premarital roommate situation is especially true in cities like New York, where rents are astronomical, putting a shared one bedroom in closer financial reach than two separate apartments. While this observation, too, is anecdotal based on my kids friendship circles, it could be the newly betrothed understand more completely just what they're getting into. 

The conventional wisdom on living together before marriage was exactly the opposite when I was coming up. Back then, people were convinced it was a bad idea, but perhaps the world, expectations, ideas about partnering, have changed. Curiously, despite the falling divorce rate, uncoupling among my own generation of Boomers has recently spiked. The pandemic challenges apparently did us no favors, with Alabama and Wyoming leading the marriage dissolution rates for whatever reasons. But of marriages being newly embarked upon today, roughly 60 percent of them are likely to go the distance. I think maybe modern life with all its newfangled stressors is hard enough to navigate and maybe it feels just a little easier with a co-pilot.


  1. I swear- I looked at that picture of your son and thought, "He is so cool." And of course he is.
    I surely hope that more marriages are happy marriages now which will lead to longer marriages, of course. Long-time love has its benefits, doesn't it?

  2. I think so many of these young couples were probably stuck together for the pandemic and realized that if they can make it through that together, they got this:)

  3. Anecdotal data only, but in my observation, living together ahead of the Big Event works some of the time, but not always. I think sometimes circumstances or the young person's changes just collapse the marriage.
    It feels strange to me now to think that when my man and I were married, divorce in Canada was only possible through an Act of Parliament. That changed soon afterward, but I remember thinking that I was making a life committment and that I had better mean it.
    Our 60th anniversary will be next year.

  4. Love the photo! Living together DOES help couples acclimate to domestic married life, but I also think people nowadays are waiting longer before getting married, which helps. So many people in previous generations got married at a very young age, before they were even fully formed adults.

  5. I think young people may have seen so many broken marriages and divorces when they were growing up that they learned many lessons that we didn't learn during our young years. I don't remember divorces back in the 1950s or 60s when I was young. I am Roger's third wife; he is my second husband. It's going on 34 years now. We learned.

  6. Your son does look too cool for school.

  7. Living together without marriage wasn't just frowned upon, it was a SIN! As was sex without marriage. The second time I left home for college my 'fiance' and I lived together. His mom knew (and disapproved, they didn't like me) but my parents didn't until I accidently let it slip in a phone call. My dad was on a plane almost immediately. His intent was to get us to break up (they didn't like him any more than his family liked me). Basically told us to shit or get off the pot. Get married or break up. So we got married much to his dismay. I knew it wouldn't last but it was the only way to get out from under my father's thumb. I divorced the guy 3 ½ years later with good reason. So. I think perhaps you are right about long term relationships and living together before marriage, also perhaps being older. I was 21 but this was back in 1971 and women had no power and denied many things like credit cards and bank accounts.

    1. I meant to add that I married again at 26 and we have two kids and will have our 47th anniversary next August.

  8. Whatever the reasons, I hope people are happier and more stable. That gives their kids the best start.