Millennials like to do things their own way. So in our modern culture, where millennials are more into the idea of doing what makes them happy rather than what “establishes” or earmarks them as anything, least of all husband and wife, you may be surprised to know that engagements are one area where this iconoclastic generation is a bit traditional.
A survey conducted by online diamond retailer James Allen found that over 41 percent of respondents in the 25 to 34 age range would have been thrilled if their partner had proposed on Valentine’s Day. Millennials’ preference for a Valentine’s Day proposal stood out in comparison to other generations, with older cohorts preferring a random day.
This romantic predilection stands in contrast to millennials’ views on marriage as displayed in the 2017 Avvo relationship study, which found that fewer 25- to 34-year-olds thought marriage is about sharing your life when compared to responses from younger and older age groups. And when compared with other generations, millennials ascribed more importance to marriage as a way to reach your individual potential with the support of a life partner.
The inconsistencies in millennials’ responses raises some interesting questions. Were the respondents in the James Allen survey thinking that the Valentine’s Day engagement would actually lead to nuptials? Or did they just want to put a ring on and leave it at that? If the Urban Institute is correct, many millennials will remain unmarried through age 40, though the U.S. Census reports that the average age for the first marriage for women is 27 and 29 for men. Still others will try a starter marriage on for size – many without much success (hello Marnie from Girls) – and they won’t really dwell on failure should it occur.
What millennials may be interested to know, however, is that shunning marriage could be a financial slip-up. Getting married can actually increase your wealth and income, make it easier to buy a home, and give you more spending money.
One thing’s for sure: millennials are a generation that ardently disagrees with, and actively acts in contrast with, the broad-brush categorization that has marked its precedents, Gen Y, Gen X, Baby Boomers, etc. The visibility of the generation on social media makes it easy to find plenty of exceptions to whatever general assessments of them pundits may make.