Marriage is an idea that has been around since the dawn of time. From the first hand-fasting ceremonies to the lavish weddings of the present day, the concept of matrimony, its definitions and what it stands for, have been argued over for centuries. In the past, people were expected to find a mate, join together and create a productive family unit. Not only was it expected as a part of society, but those who did not follow this tenet were at the least criticized, at the worst shunned. Today's societies, however, have a very different view on the sanctity and necessity of marriage. There seem to be various reasons for why people chose to get married or not, but they all have one thing in common – people are waiting longer to get married.
One reason some people are waiting longer to marry is a longer lifespan and greater appetite for self-exploration. Today's average person lives significantly longer lives than their counterparts of several decades ago. Because of this longevity, these people have more opportunity to explore and learn more about themselves, finish college or graduate school or even just travel and experience life. With the globalization of the world today the possibilities for entertainment, education and adventure are almost limitless. There is no longer the rush to find a mate right out of high school. The likelihood of marrying your high school sweetheart or meeting your perfect partner in your early twenties is rare. Younger generations are enjoying their independence and freedom for as long as possible, sometimes even into their thirties or forties, before settling down.
Another reason people today are waiting is a decreased wish for large families and the desire to be financially set to have a family. Whether a couple chooses to have only one or two children due to monetary or time constraints, or simply because they want a smaller family, the need to marry early to produce as many offspring as possible in the available time is no longer a necessity.