Millennials don’t get married. At least, that’s what the media wants you to think. But I did. I got married at 23, and I’m here to explain to you/convince you why monogamy can be magical.
As I’m sure you’ve been told, we millennials ruin everything, with our bottomless brunches and our demands for crazy things like harassment-free workplaces and pop culture that reflects the world as it really is. I typed ‘millennials ruin’ into Google, and it told me via auto-complete that amongst other things we have totally destroyed are the world, the economy, Star Wars, and the word ‘Daddy’. Though the real issue with the last one is why the hell non-millennials didn't realise how creepy that word is.
Among this long charge-sheet of things millennials have destroyed is the sanctity of marriage. Either they’re not doing it at all - 25% of us will never get married according to a recent article by Time - or they are doing it an average of seven years later than their grandparents did in 1960. In 2017, the average person got married at 27 if they were a women or 29 if male. This is up from 20 for women and 23 for men in 1960.
Various people have blamed this change on different things. For example, we feel we don’t have the financial security we associate with our parents as they lived through the Blair, Clinton and Bush boom years. We also don’t feel that a traditional marriage reflects what relationships look like now. The consensus seems to be that millennials aren’t getting married because of the uncertainty in their lives. We don’t have any money, any property, any job security, and so feel that a very grown up, organised thing like a marriage isn't within our reach.
I, however, ignored all of this and got married at 23, like a 1960-era man would be expected to do. Now, I always get asked the same question by anyone I meet in our age bracket. “Whyyyyyyyyyy?!,” usually said with a look that combines confusion and pity, like I’d somehow got caught in a bear trap without realising it.
Well here’s why. Apart from all the usual (being very much in love, and other sexy things like marriage tax breaks for freelancers), the idea of being married felt very exciting to me. As a gay man, I can remember a time where I would not be able to get married, and if I did it would be a so-called ‘lavender marriage’, a Victorian idea where a gay man marries a lesbian to ward off rumours about them.
Then, suddenly, we could get married, and the idea was appealing in the same way most new ideas are appealing. I was aware of how hard some people in my community had fought for this, and I wanted to honour their struggles by taking the opportunity to share my love with family, friends, and whoever may chance across it on an intense social media stalk.
Even if you’re not part of the LGBT community, then you should seriously consider marriage as a step in your relationship.
In our age of uncertainty, a marriage, when it works, is like the stillness in the middle of the tornado. My life as a creative freelancer is crazy. Sometimes I have to work crazy hours, and often find myself worrying where next month’s rent is coming from. Amid the uncertainty, however, I know that I will always come home to the same man. I know that this is similar to anyone in a long-term relationship, but it feels different. We have made a legal commitment to each other, which in my mind makes me feel safer and more secure.
It’s not all married bliss - we once, for example, managed to have a storming-off-level row about pancake batter, and another about him repeatedly changing my phone wallpaper to pictures of Celine Dion. And that was just in the last month. But these problems are no better or worse than when we were dating.
So in the crazy world of millenials, where the world is slowly succumbing to climate change, none of us can afford to buy houses, and the old keep voting for things that will make our lives worse, keep your loved one(s) close to you. Treat them well, and they’ll be your security and safety for the future. And having this in writing doesn’t hurt.