The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Not tying the knot

Illustration by Nicki Winstead
Illustration by Nicki Winstead

As many little girls dream of their perfect wedding day—walking down the aisle to meet the man of their dreams and live happily ever after—just as many young women are putting off that day where it gets to be all about them to give themselves more time to pursue other interests.

According to “Knot Yet,” a report released in early March from the Relate Institute, The National Marriage Project and The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, more Americans are pursuing their education and establishing careers before exchanging wedding vows, leaving the age at which they marry at “historical highs.”

Meanwhile, Americans are increasingly more likely to have a child before a marriage, the study also reports.

“Knot Yet” explores the benefits and costs of delayed marriage in America and the reasons why unmarried motherhood moved from the domain of the poorest population to the middle class. According to the report, the current median age for marriage is approximately 26 years old for women and approximately 28 years old for men.

The report also explores the “why” in delayed marriages. It poses the question, “Why are women entering motherhood without marriage?” and it studies the changing relationship culture in America. The report also looks at the trend of cohabitation before marriage.

By delaying marriage, men and women are taking the time to finish school and start careers, the report says. “Knot Yet” reports that college-educated women who delay marriage earn $18,152 more per year than those who marry young. Even single women who graduate high school but don’t finish college earn $4,052 more per year on average, than women marrying at a younger age.

At the same time, women who don’t delay marriage are more likely to become mothers before becoming wives. As statistics in the report indicate, at the age of 25, 44 percent of women have had a baby, while only 38 percent have married. By the time they turn 30, about two-thirds of American women have had a baby, typically out of wedlock.

“Women and men are pursuing educational and careers goals before they settle down,” says Susan Mannon, a City College adjunct sociology professor. “Which indicates that marriage is seen more as a marker of individual achievement than a foundation upon which to build a career and family life.”

Hannah Fremon, a 24-year-old business major, is a single parent. She says she takes classes at City College in hopes of providing a better future for her son.

“I’m making it happen to support my son the best I can,” Fremon says.

She has had her share of failed relationships and says her last relationship was with her son’s father, with whom she lived over two years ago. Fremon left the relationship because it was detrimental, she says.

“It was like everything he said was the law. I felt brainwashed. I paid for everything and lived with him and his parents, and he threatened to kick me out,” Fremon says.

Fremon says healthy, successful relationships require communication, wanting the same things out of life, and courtship. According to her, people today get married young out of necessity.

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She says that shouldn’t be a reason to get married, however.
“People shouldn’t get married until they are at least past 21,” she says.

Now Fremon says she puts her best efforts into providing a positive life for her son. It’s pretty easy for her to do, she says, since she lives with her parents, and her father is a great role model for him.

Fremon says she is not looking for a serious relationship or a father for her son. She believes the “right guy” will find her eventually.

Women are not the only ones wanting to delay marriage. Men like Henry Fisk, who works as a student assistant in City College’s Information Technology department, says he believes marriage does not dictate the happiness of a relationship.

“It all depends on your perspective,” says Fisk.

Fisk lives with his girlfriend of six years and their 20-month-old daughter, Ilithyia. He says he knows some people who are married and not happy.

Fisk says he and his girlfriend have friends who are getting married. After talking it through, the two decided to tie the knot since they are already paying bills together, though marriage made his girlfriend nervous because her parents are divorced.

According to Fisk, his relationship is solid, and marriage doesn’t have to be for everyone.

Indeed, “Knot Yet” reports that today’s relationship culture has changed because of rising divorce rates and more people having children out of wedlock, which separates marriage from parenthood.

That doesn’t seem to bother Fisk.

“Having a child matured me and [makes] the terms of unity less abstract,” Fisk says.

Fisk says he knows people who say they want to be financially stable before having children and getting married, but he believes having people around to provide support is more important.

“Any form of support is better than money. This can be anything from moral support to just venting [to someone],” Fisk says.

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