Statistics show that young people are waiting to get married until they are in their late 20's and 30's. This is a good trend, I think, but one may speculate on the reasons for the trend.
My husband and I married when we were 20 and 19 years old, respectively. Looking back, you could make a case for us being too young to be making life decisions of that magnitude. At the time, though, it seemed that it was the logical next step. We had been dating for almost three years and my then boyfriend had just taken a job in a city 500 miles away. We had three choices: Commute frequently, let the relationship die, or get married. Living together was not an option if ever I wanted my parents to speak to me again.
If he hadn't taken a job in Timbuktu, we may have waited a while longer to get married, but not the 10 or 12 years that we may have waited if we were one of today's young people.
I conclude that he and I simply were lucky to have met each other in our teens. Using that logic, either young people today are having trouble finding one another, or the people they find aren't good enough for them. Perhaps young people are pickier than we used to be.
Maybe our generation wasn't picky enough. I think that's more likely to be true, but it worked out splendidly for us.
Dating is different now as well. The notion that young people might have trouble finding each other couldn't possibly be true. You can post your dating resume on dozens of internet dating sites and advertise your superior qualities to anyone who has a computer.
The trick is to make yourself sound like a Roman god or goddess without sounding as if you're bragging. Many subscribers will dub themselves a "nerd" or a "dork" so that their viewers' expectations will not be too high. Universally, nerds and dorks are deemed "safe," so the personal risk of dating one is considerably reduced.
On the other hand, the post that mentions the fact that the subscriber is a great lover carries the risk that he may try to prove it on the first date.
So basically, you know what you are getting before the date even happens. These dating sites offer you a plethora of posts to peruse to distinguish between those who are lying and those with which are worth having dinner.
Back in the day, we simply had to hope that some decent scrap of humanity would float into our orbit one day and be ready to snatch him before any of our friends did. With those odds, it's no wonder that we tended to snatch fast and hang on tight, even when we probably shouldn't. We might even rationalize how his bad breath and tendency to spit might be an asset in a committed relationship.
People of my generation have taught our children to be more careful about choosing a lifetime partner. We've taught them that waiting for the "right" person is less stressful than a divorce. So, of course, they heeded our sage advice just like they always do NOT! I hereby reject this as a possible reason for the trend.
When it comes right down to it, I believe young people are simply too busy to take dating seriously. Marriage is a someday thing, and babies are just too much work to even think about. Sex, however, is another story. In this millennium, sex and babies do not necessarily go hand in hand unless you want them to.
There are some women who decide that the babies are okay, but the man is too much work. I can't blame them for feeling that way; babies eventually grow up and out of bad habits. If they don't, they eventually move out and bestow their habits upon some other poor schmuck.
Men, too, may think that women need too much maintenance. I mean, why do they always want to "talk?" What's up with that?
It has only been within my lifetime that gender issues have been studied and written about so prolifically. With so much information on how to make a marriage work, nowadays, you'd think humans would be getting better at it. Instead, young people are looking at the workload and deciding "Nope. That's not for me."
Thirty years ago, my husband and I had very little information to go on, thank goodness. We simply winged it.
Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author and speaker and is a Thursday columnist for the Times-Republican. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R.