Millennial marriage

Waiting to wed

Millennials are spending more time together as romantic partners before tying the knot

Millennials are waiting longer than previous generations to marry and have children while also spending more time together as committed, romantic partners

Image caption: "Marriage used to be the first step into adulthood. Now it is often the last," says Hopkins sociologist Andrew Cherlin.

Image credit: Getty Images

Don't take it personally if you haven't been invited to a bunch of weddings lately.

The reason you've got so many free summer Saturdays? Millennial couples aren't in a rush to get married, according to several sociologists, anthropologists, and psychologists consulted by The New York Times to reflect on a recent survey commissioned by the dating site eHarmony.

Using online interviews with 2,084 adults who were either married or in long-term relationships, the survey found that American couples ages 25 to 34 knew each other for an average of six and a half years before marrying. For all other age groups, the average was five years.

The takeaway is that millennials are waiting longer than previous generations to marry and have children while also spending more time together as committed, romantic partners—creating what Johns Hopkins sociologist Andrew Cherlin calls "capstone marriages."

"The capstone is the last brick you put in place to build an arch," Cherlin told the Times. "Marriage used to be the first step into adulthood. Now it is often the last. For many couples, marriage is something you do when you have the whole rest of your personal life in order. Then you bring family and friends together to celebrate."

So you may have to wait a few more summers before those e-vites start pouring in.

Read more from The New York Times