The three main monotheistic religions in the world, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, place a great emphasis on the importance of marriage. Because of this importance, dating has many limits, if it is allowed at all, prior to getting married. As many modern societies and cultures have found their moral stances rooted in one of these three religions, so too has the practice of marriage. However, as more millennials are turning away from practicing these religious traditions, they are redefining the American perspective on relationships as a whole and moving toward normalizing long-term dating, sacrificing the benefits of marriage. 

One of the most common reasons as to why Americans are moving away from marriage and toward accepting dating as the establishment of a relationship is because they are afraid of commitment. Dating allows for casual interactions and interchangeability, and though these may appear to be positive characteristics, this opens a shell of issues. Although studies have shown that on average, it takes 172 days for two people to know whether they want to spend their lives with one another, there is an overwhelming amount of people who date for that and much longer only to end up in a bad breakup. Being in a continuous cycle of getting to know someone, dating and then separating greatly damages a person’s mental well-being. 

Substituting the emotional and physical instability that dating creates with the stability that marriage provides places a person into an increased likelihood of prosperity. According to both Harvard Medical School and Iowa State University, married people tend to live longer and healthier lives, thereby proving that science favors married relationships. 

Similar to the common negative effects that dating has on a person’s mental health, social situations become significantly more muddled when involving children. Though there are undoubtedly some exceptions, children who grow up in married households tend to do better in school, develop stronger skills and go on to reciprocate those same effects in their own futures. More times than not, children whose parents are married have a firm sense of stability and don’t have to deal with bouncing between households or consistently having to acquaint themselves with a new father or mother figure as their parent engages in the dating scene. 

In an economic aspect, married parents grant their children more financial stability, especially within households where both parents are working. This is in contrast to the financial dynamics presented within nontraditional relationships, where oftentimes, one parent has to get the law involved in order to get child support. All that isn’t to say that non-nuclear families are inherently of a lesser state — but marriage tends to simplify certain matters. 

Though there are common caveats that Americans face in their marriages, like some financial situations that spouses may find themselves in, the aforementioned benefits tip the scale toward showcasing marriage in a brighter light. Perhaps all of this is why some of the religions with the most followers in the world have placed an emphasis on establishing familial structures through marriage. Though perspectives regarding religion may differ from person to person, there is an abundance of ways in which religion has intentionally orchestrated a guide in which to better society, with marriage being one of them. And to those who say marriage is not ideal for them in their present lives as they deal with academics and finding economic stability — it’s better late than never!