Youth of the 21st century are mostly reluctant to marriage, at least in their 20s. As compartmentalised gender roles have started decaying, both men and women keep marriage for late adulthood, once they have achieved financial stability. Economic independence for both partners is one of the foremost priorities for today’s youth before committing to the act of ‘settling’ down in marital life. As times have progressed, marriage as a means of furthering progeny or widening kin is losing meaning for nuclear-patterned families. For GenZ, marriages do not necessitate having a child to validate it. The modern generation is looking more towards having fulfilling and meaningful companionships while considering the meaning of marriage.
Steady urbanization and modernization necessitates extremely busy lives for present-day adults, even young adults. Urban, city-dwelling youth, start having big expectations and ambitions regarding their professional life quite young. Usually, in the present day scenario, marriages are seen as a much incumbent obstacle to a steady rising professional graph. Having children early on in a marriage has become almost a scoffable attribute for GenZ. In fact, most millennials today have kept aside family planning for much much later in life. Several don’t want children at all due to the significant financial and emotional investment that bringing a third member to the family involves. Several even plan to be cat moms or dog moms, a concept of raising pets with the same care and devotion as human children.
As we move towards modern times, marriage as the ultimate mark of fulfilment of romantic relationships is fast loosing it’s prominence as a concept. Along with it, steadily on the decline is the consideration given to having children as an integral part of marriage. With changing times, the view towards tending to infants too is changing. Dealing with infants involves a lot of patience which millennials find a difficult and occupying investment. Millennials are more individual-oriented and inclined towards independent lifestyles and hence more focussed on themselves. Rearing children often requires many instances of self-sacrifice. Let’s just say millennials are not ready to make the same compromises for the sake of tradition or convention as their ancestors did.
Modern-day emergent concepts of parenting pay stress on psychological maturity on part of adults before bringing a third member into the world. The young of this era are far more aware of their personal capabilities with regard to nurturing, commitment or responsibility. As the hold of traditions loosens grip over the sensibilities of the young, the approach and ideas surrounding dating and partnership too have become complicated and loose-knit. Marriage as the sole means to procreation fast looses meaning in a world where parenting and romantic commitment are two separate ideas no longer interlinked with each other. Individuals are oftentimes more comfortable being single parents and raising children of their own or of others in need of a home.
Moreover, as we see revolutions rocking the whole of western countries like Poland and USA where the issue of abortion is a right withheld from women, we can safely conclude that a significant number of modern educated women are now aware of their bodies and its salient needs. The huge toll that child birth and rearing takes on the bodies and minds of women has always been given the least bit of thought by men throughout the ages. Patriarchy has always tried to tamper with women’s right over their own bodies and their power to choose and decide for themselves. Oftentimes women have been deterred from exercising control over their own bodies on religious or moral grounds. Sexual needs of a woman too are conventionally put on a back burner once she becomes a mother on the grounds of what’s best for the child. The millennial woman chooses to differ and exercise her rights to both economic independence and sexual gratification on her terms in the marriage. As women become more aware of their physical, emotional and economic rights, they naturally incline towards better negotiations to wade through these dicey grounds.
As the conventional idea of marriage loses meaning, it is perhaps inevitable to ask whether society is headed for the better or for the worse. It is always important to note that society more aware of itself is surely a better one, even if that might entail more loosely knit familial structures. It is not an unknown fact how much negligence or wrong parenting affects children, leaving permanent scars on their psyche. Even in families that are seemingly harmonious from the outside, children might not get the much-needed love and care they might from single parents truly committed and dedicated to give kids everything as much as they need.