7 ways millennials are changing marriage, from signing prenups to staying together longer than past generations

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7 ways millennials are changing marriage, from signing prenups to staying together longer than past generations

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Millennials are marrying later in life - and breaking other marriage conventions.

  • Millennials are being strategic when it comes to love, and it's changing marriage.
  • Millennials fear getting divorced and are financially burdened, so they're marrying later in life as they take time to get to know their partner, accumulate assets, and become financially successful.
  • But some millennials aren't getting married at all - and it's causing the marriage rate to decline.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

Marriage is getting a generational facelift.

The reasons are many.

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Often the children of divorce themselves, millennials fear going through a divorce themselves. So, they're being strategic when it comes to love. They're taking more time to find the right partner, cohabitating before legally committing, and signing prenups to protect their assets. As a result, they're bringing the divorce rate down.

Millennials are also delaying marriage for economic reasons - burdened with financial struggles like debt, they want to become financially successful first. And because more couples are coming together from different cultural or religious backgrounds, they're more likely to pay for multiple ceremonies.

But that's for those millennials who do marry - the generation is also bringing the marriage rate down.

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From love to weddings, see how millennials are evolving marriage.

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Millennials are fueling a declining divorce rate.

Millennials are fueling a declining divorce rate.

Millennials are driving a 24% decline in the US divorce rate, reported Hannah Smothers for Cosmopolitan. Often children of divorce themselves, many millennials fear breakups and are taking more time to find the right partner to avoid an unstable marriage.

They're also taking time to get their financial act together first — like establishing a career and paying off student loan debt — so they can enter marriage with less stress.

Millennials are marrying at a later age.

Millennials are marrying at a later age.

Taking more time to find the right partner and prioritize financial success is causing millennials to marry later in life compared to previous generations. The median age of first marriage in the US is 27 for millennial women and 29 for millennial men, according to the US Census Bureau.

And those who have found the right partner are waiting longer in their relationships to get married — 4.9 years on average, reported Kristin Salaky for INSIDER, citing a Bridebook study.

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Millennials are cohabitating and even buying homes together before marriage.

Millennials are cohabitating and even buying homes together before marriage.

More couples are cohabitating before marriage — a sixfold increase from their parents' generation — and it's just another move contributing to a decline in divorce rates, reported INSIDER's Kim Renfro. A study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family asserted that living together "has become part of the pathway towards marriage."

Some couples are even buying homes together before getting engaged, prioritizing homeownership over marriage. This reflects the generation's shift in attitudes toward marriage and is a result of economic conditions — high housing prices make splitting a mortgage favorable.

More millennials aren't marrying at all.

More millennials aren't marrying at all.

But some millennials aren't marrying at all. Marriage rates are declining because some millennials find marriage less important than it used to be, Rachel Sussman, psychotherapist and relationship expert at Sussman Counseling, previously told Business Insider.

Among Americans, marriage has decreased from 72% of adults wed in 1960 to half in 2014, and its partly due to traditional gender roles and economic forces that make men less appealing partners. A decline in typically male-dominated manufacturing jobs have made men less attractive as husbands because they benefit from said jobs, according to a paper by University of Zurich economist David Dorn.

There's also this fact: an estimated 25% of millennials will never marry.

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More millennials are signing prenups before getting married.

More millennials are signing prenups before getting married.

Prenuptial agreements, which set expectations for a division of assets and finances in the event of a divorce, are usually associated with the wealthy. But that's not preventing them from shedding their stigma and becoming increasingly popular among Americans, especially millennials.

More than half of lawyers surveyed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers saw an increase in prenups among millennials, and 62% saw a rise in prenups overall from 2013 to 2016.

The trend is more evidence of how millennials fear divorce and marry at a later age. As children of divorce, many are predisposed to protect their interests, especially when it comes to the assets and debt they've had more time to accumulate before marrying.

More millennials are having multiple wedding ceremonies.

More millennials are having multiple wedding ceremonies.

Multiple wedding ceremonies are a rising trend among couples tying the knot. Combined, these ceremonies cost $50,000 on average but can exceed $100,000, Jessica Schiffer reported for The New York Times.

"Multiceremony wedding experiences are becoming more common among couples looking to accommodate different cultural and religious backgrounds, not to mention guests who may not be able to afford pricey destination weddings," Schiffer wrote.

More than half of couples today are marrying someone with a different background, which has reduced the perception that multiple ceremonies are "over the top," Schiffer said, citing stats from WeddingWire.

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Millennials are having more nontraditional weddings.

Millennials are having more nontraditional weddings.

When tying the knot, millennial couples are doing things outside the norm.

They tend to ditch traditional weddings, opting for unconventional venues such as barns and farms over banquet halls and hotel reception rooms, reported Business Insider's Mary Hanbury.

And because they're waiting longer to get married and cohabitating first, millennials have already build a collection of household staples. As a result, "honeyfunds" have become a more popular wedding gift option, reported Linda Marx for The New York Times. Millennials are more likely to ask for cash on their wedding day, instead of a toaster or gravy boat.