“I Do?” How About “I Don’t!”

Research reveals that women are waiting longer to get married—and some are choosing not to walk down the aisle at all.
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Cold Feet! Should You Marry Him?

Marital bliss can wait, according to a July 2013 study that says women are waiting longer to tie the knot—if at all—these days.

Not long ago in the 1950s, approximately 65 percent of women over the age of 15 were married. Now, researchers at the National Center for Family and Marriage Research (NCFMR) at Bowling Green State University say that statistic has dramatically changed. Less than half of all women in the U.S. are married today, making this the lowest percentage since the turn of the century.

“Although the vast majority of Americans say they want to get married, fewer are actually getting (and staying) married,” says Susan Brown, co-director at NCFMR. “Indeed, more than 10 percent of baby boomers have never married, and at this point, it is unlikely that they ever will.” This trend, says Brown, is one we can expect to see continue with younger generations, too.

Read Should You Walk Away from a Fight with Your Partner?

Interestingly enough, if you go back even further in time, the marriage rate in 1920 was three times as high as it is today, indicating that more and more women see marriage as just one of an array of options now—even if they want to have children.

“Career options and goals are more available now, and for many women, these have taken on equal priority so that the question is more one of timing today,” explains Jane Greer, Ph.D., a marriage and relationship psychotherapist in New York City and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship. “The urgency and rush to start a family early is no longer the norm. Many women can pursue their careers and postpone having a family. Because there are so many more options for older women to get pregnant and have children, it’s enabled them to balance their careers. Also, many women are opting to become single mothers. In short, marriage is no longer necessary to secure a family.”

Not only are fewer women choosing to walk down the aisle, but those who do are waiting until they’re older. According to the study, a woman’s average age at first marriage is now the highest it’s been since the early 1900s, at nearly 27 years old.

What’s the reason for the trend? Find out next!


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