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3 reasons why many young adults fear marriage
Society paints a glum view of marriage, which can become pretty discouraging for young adults. - photo by Wendy Jessen
"If I get married, I want to be very married," said actress Audrey Hepburn. It's hard to argue with such a sentiment. However, there is the "if" at the beginning of Hepburn's statement. That "if" carries a lot of weightdoubt, fear and longing.

If you are married, do you fear divorce? Do you doubt your marriage will last? Do you long for happier married days ahead?

If you are single, are you scared to get married? Do you have doubts about having a lasting, happy marriage? Do you long for a strong marriage with a partner who has the same goals as you?

Many "young adults do not delay marriage because they no longer aspire to it, but because, all too often, they are afraid of it," stated a Family Studies article.

What is so scary about getting married?

High divorce rates.

Many young adults may feel that getting married is hopelessthat they're marriage will more than likely end in divorce. While there are many factors that lead couples to divorce, the good news is that divorce rates are not as bad as perceived. According to a Huffington Post article, the divorce rate is NOT at 50 percent like some believe, in fact "the divorce rate has actually been dropping for some time now."

Besides, other people's relationships are not an indication of how good or bad your relationship will be. Just because "everyone" else is getting divorced does not mean you will.

Parents divorced.

Often our best model for how a marriage works (or doesn't work) is our parents. Naturally, if your parents got divorced, your faith in marriage is going to drop. It not only influences how you see relationships but probably also caused a lot of pain and eliminated your sense of security and stability.

Instead of seeing all the negatives from parental divorce, learn from their mistakes. Through your adult eyes, you can see what things they did right and what things could have been worked on and, also, the actions, behaviors, habits and problems that should have been avoided or corrected.

Difficult breakups.

"Breakin' up is hard to do" according to singer Neil Sedaka. Not only is it hard to do, but it's arguably more difficult to be the one being dumped. Bad breakups, especially where you were cheated on, abused, used or taken advantage of, can be damaging to your well-being as well as your view of marriage. Repeated offenses only deepen distrustful feelings and the need to put up walls to protect yourself emotionally and physically.

When breakups are so difficult and ugly, you may begin thinking that "if" you were to get married, the breakup would be even worse. Look for red flags in relationships and learn what types of people you need to avoid. Protect yourself from those who wish to steal your hearthurt, abuse, break and mistreat itand then hand the pieces back to you. Date those people who you could marry and start a family with, who treat you well, make your heart grow and help you love more fully and feel loved in return.

So, what can we do to have a more positive outlook on marriage?

  • Look at married couples who have strong marriages. Observe how they treat each other and what they're doing that is working. Ask them for their best marriage advice.
  • Learn from the mistakes of marriages that have not worked.
  • If you are married, realize strong marriages have rough spots, but that doesn't mean it's a bad marriage, and the only option is divorce. Marriage takes work.
  • Focus on what's positive about marriage instead of the negatives. If we focus on the negatives, they become reality. Conversely, focusing on the positives helps us reach positive marriage goals.
  • If you are dating someone seriously, make sure you share the same major goals for your relationship and family and that you are both willing to work together to reach them.
We should not be afraid to get married because of society's view of it or because we've seen or experienced divorces or bad breakups. Each couple is unique and has the ability to work through problems and make their marriage stronger as long as they are both willing to try. Yes, divorces still happen, and some are even necessary, but many happy marriages still happen, and many more happy marriages are possible. Make yours one of the happy possibilities.
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