In 1968, about 40 percent of young adults aged 18 to 24 were married and living on their own. As of 2018 that number has plummeted for this group to around 7 percent. A third of young people in the US, 24 million of those aged 18 to 34, still live with their parents. About 9 percent of this 18 to 24 age group that does not still live with their parents cohabitates rather than marrying.
All of these statics I have just stated can be found in two Census Bureau studies. The first is from a study entitled “Living with an Unmarried Partner Now Common for Young Adults” just released on November 15th, 2018. The second is from a study entitled “Jobs, Marriage and Kids Come Later in Life” which was released August 9th, 2017.
Here are some more observations about millennials from the study we have just mentioned entitled “Jobs, Marriage and Kids Come Later in Life”:
“What was once ubiquitous in their 20s is now not commonplace until their 30s – a trend that some demographers describe as a new stage between childhood and adulthood. They call it “emerging adulthood.”
A look at this new generation of young adults:
1 in 4 young people aged 25 to 34 living in their parents’ home (about 2.2 million) neither go to school nor work.
Most Americans believe educational and economic accomplishments are extremely important milestones of adulthood. In contrast, marriage and parenthood rank low: over half believe that marrying and having children are not an important part of becoming an adult.
Young people may delay marriage but most still eventually tie the knot. In the 1970s, 8 in 10 married by the time they turned 30. Today, not until the age of 45 have 8 in 10 people married.
In 2005, the majority of young adults lived independently, which was the predominant living arrangement in 35 states. By 2015, the number of states where the majority of young people lived independently fell to just six.
More young men are falling to the bottom of the income ladder. In 1975, only 25 percent of young men had incomes below $30,000 a year. By 2016, that share rose to 41 percent (incomes in both years are in 2015 dollars).
Between 1975 and 2016, the share of young women who were homemakers fell from 43 percent to 14 percent.”
These statistics confirm what I and many other older adults have observed about millennials in their everyday lives.
Millennials value education and economic accomplishments more than marriage and children.
When you couple this with the fact than one third of millennials still live with their parents it tells us two other things about Millennials. They are both fearful and selfish. They are afraid to go out on their own and struggle financially as most young adults have done since the beginning of mankind. Millennials in their 20s think they need to make what their parents do in their 40s before they can marry and have a family.
But if you really talk to many Millennials as I have you will also find that for a lot of them while they will say they can’t afford to have a family the truth is they “Just want to have fun and enjoy their life. Marriage and children can wait for much later in life”.
Another problem with millennials is the utter lack of ambition in millennial men. They are willing to take their sweet time climbing the economic latter and live with mommy and daddy for a decade or more into adulthood with no shame about it. This is one reason young men’s incomes have dropped compared to what they once were.
The other problem with millennial men is that they don’t want to get their hands dirty. Many of them want a cushy office job with corner view and a nice parking space. The skilled trades like carpentry, plumbing, electrical and welding jobs are screaming for young people to come and be apprentices. The older generation that did all this work is not retiring and its ranks have not been replenished.
My 19-year-old son starting apprenticing as plumber just before he turned 18. He has worked hard doing all the dig-ups and dirty work but at the same time he was hungry to learn the finer parts of the trade. Now just over a year later he has excelled so well and learned so much that they are gave him his own plumbing truck and he is now working on commission. He is looking forward to eventually getting his journeyman’s card.
My son told me a story about when he was apprenticing and shadowing another plumber. They were working on bathroom at a local high school where the plumbing had backed up and they were fixing the issue. As with many plumbing jobs it was messy.
One of the teachers walked by with a few young men and as they saw the mess in the bathroom, the teacher made the following comment “Boys – that is why you want to stay in school and go to college, otherwise you will end up doing that kind of work”. The older plumber whispered quietly to my son “And I make twice what that teacher does. So, who is the smarter one?”
My 20-year-old son recently finished his two-year IT certification program at a local community college and he is now working full time in IT. He was shocked to find out at his new job that the overwhelming majority of young men there who were in their late 20’s still lived with their parents. My son knows that he needs to be preparing to go out on his own soon. I have been preparing him for this his whole life. The goal I have set for my sons is for them to be on their own and financially independent by age 22 or 23 at the latest. If they can do it earlier so much the better. The way I reached that number was giving them 4 years after high school to get a degree or go through some trade school or apprenticeship program and by then they should be ready.
My sons would view themselves as failures as men if they were still living with me by their late 20s.
Millennials Were Brought Up Wrong by Their Gen X Parents
The Gen X generation, my generation, also bears much culpability for problems we see with millennials today. For instance, the idea of a parent sitting down and setting life goals with their sons and daughters as I have done with mine is foreign to most parents today. “It is their life” after all and we as parents have no business telling them what they should or should not do. That is what we are told and have been told for decades.
The Gen X parents have raised a bunch of fearful, selfish and entitled young people and my generation even encouraged their children to take their time, wait to marry and have kids and “just do whatever makes you happy”.
These Gen X parents of one third of millennials are culpable by allowing their children to remain in their home at such late ages.
Parents have a duty to teach their children and prepare their children to go out in the world. As parents we should be doing this from early teen years on. We should be preparing our young men and young women for the responsibilities of adult hood which includes marriage and having children.
When Does a Person Become an Adult?
From a biological development perspective, girls begin the process of puberty at age 10 or 11 and typically finish puberty between 15 and 17. Boys typically start puberty at 11 to 12 years of age and finish by the time they are 16 or 17. This is why it was common in older civilizations for a girl to be entering womanhood by age 12 (because most girls would have their first period before this age) and for a boys would be considered to be starting manhood by 13 because they would be showing signs of puberty before that age.
But the question we are posing is not one of biological adulthood, but rather one of social adulthood.
I want to return to this statement from the Census Bureau study I cited above:
“Most Americans believe educational and economic accomplishments are extremely important milestones of adulthood. In contrast, marriage and parenthood rank low: over half believe that marrying and having children are not an important part of becoming an adult.”
So, by our modern standards, if a person finishes college and has a good job and a nice new car in the drive way, they are considered to be an adult. Whether they still live with mommy and daddy is secondary. And even for those who consider that a person must move out of their parents to be considered full adults, many today do not consider marriage and having children a critical part of becoming an adult.
But this thinking is in stark contrast to what has defined social adulthood throughout the history of the world.
Before the millennial generation, young men learned their trades from an early age and in their early teens they were often working full time in their trade. By no later than the early 20s in most cases, and often times earlier, young men had saved enough money to build or buy a home and then they went and took on a wife to have children.
Young women often married in their early or mid-teens and became wives and mothers. Unlike how we raise our girls today, they witnessed child birth at much younger ages, learned to cook and sew and they were excited about and looked forward to marriage.
It was marriage and then having children that were considered critical milestones in becoming a full adult man or adult woman.
Today these milestones have been cast aside by millennials and Gen X parents’ bare responsibility for utterly failing to teach their children the importance of striving for these two milestones as soon as possible.
Secular Humanism Has Corrupted Parenting
What we are experiencing today can be very much explained by the definition of Secular Humanism found in the article “What is Secular Humanism?” from secularhumanism.org:
“Secular humanism is comprehensive, touching every aspect of life including issues of values, meaning, and identity. Thus it is broader than atheism, which concerns only the nonexistence of god or the supernatural. Important as that may be, there’s a lot more to life … and secular humanism addresses it.
Secular humanism is nonreligious, espousing no belief in a realm or beings imagined to transcend ordinary experience.
Secular humanism is a lifestance, or what Council for Secular Humanism founder Paul Kurtz has termed a eupraxsophy: a body of principles suitable for orienting a complete human life. As a secular lifestance, secular humanism incorporates the Enlightenment principle of individualism, which celebrates emancipating the individual from traditional controls by family, church, and state, increasingly empowering each of us to set the terms of his or her own life.”
What do we see today as America has immersed herself in secular humanism for more than a century and removed all these “traditional controls”?
We see sons and daughters freed from the control of their parents.
We see wives freed from the control of their husbands.
We see church members freed from the control of their Pastors.
We see anarchists marching in the streets wanting to take down nations and borders.
The result of removing all these controls has been the devastation of marriage and the family unit not to mention the devastation of personal morality.
While the Bible absolutely shows certain “inalienable rights” as the United States Declaration of Independence states, it does not grant the rights that our modern American society has given its members. God instituted the spheres of authority of the family, the church and the civil government. He gave to each of these spheres different controls for the betterment and stability of society. And now that we have removed all of these “traditional controls”, we are reaping the consequences of those choices.
Now I want to bring this back to Gen X parents. The Gen X generation has helped advance the ideals of secular humanists more than any other generation of American parents. Who could have imagined back in 1960s or 70s that gay marriage would not only be legal, but that gays and transgenders would then take their new-found freedom to launch an all-out assault on religious liberty in this country in only half a century?
The Gen X parents took off the controls of family, church and the state. It told its children they could do anything they wanted. They could live with their parents as long as they wanted. Get married or don’t get married. Have children or don’t have children. Get a job or don’t get a job. They taught their children to worship the false American gods of equality, education and the pursuit of individual happiness to the detriment of society.
And now we are reaping what the Gen X parenting generation has sown.
Feminism Has A Lot to Do with The Problems with Millennial Men
While Feminism had its origins in the egalitarian movements of the mid-19th century its most devasting blow to the institutions of marriage and the family were not felt until the rise of second-wave feminism in the 1960s. Up until that point feminism had only been dropping small bombs on the God given institution of patriarchy in the home, the church and society. But in the 1960s, second-wave feminism dropped the societal equivalent of a nuke on traditional gender roles and by extension marriage and the family. It was also during second-wave feminism where feminism became more than just an equality for women movement, it became a full-on misandrist movement.
The Apostle Paul asked the following rhetorical question in I Corinthians 9:5:
“Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife?”
Now before anyone gets silly about this when he said “sister” he was referring to a “sister in Christ” meaning a Christian woman. What he was saying is “Don’t we have the right to lead about a wife as long as she is Christian?” Most new translations say “take”, “take along” or “be accompanied by”. But the KJV’s translation is actually the most literal of commonly used translations when it says “lead about”. It literally has the idea of man leading his wife through life. This is why in Biblical times and still some older cultures today when a man walks his wife walks behind him and then their children behind her. This was a symbol in pre-modern cultures of the order of the family.
In Ephesians 5:23 the Bible tells us “the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church” and in Ephesians 5:29 we read that husbands have a sacred duty to “nourisheth” meaning “to provide for” and “cherisheth” meaning “to protect” their wives.
God has literally designed men with this natural instinctive desire to lead, provide for and protect women. God also gave men a strong physically based sexual desire toward women and that is why in Proverbs 5:15 he commands them to liberally drink of the well that is their wife’s body and in Proverbs 5:19 he tells men regarding their wives to “let her breasts satisfy thee at all times”. In the New Testament the Apostle Paul tells men in Romans 1:27 that sex is “the natural use of the woman”.
It is a statistical fact that the vast majority of married men with children go much farther and faster in their careers than men who never marry or have children. Why? Because men are given a strong desire from God to seek out women so they can have sex with them, lead them, provide for them and protect them. And without a woman and children to provide for most men are far less driven in their careers.
Feminism has robbed men of the ability to lead women, provide for them or protect them in marriage by making them independent of men. It has robbed men of having wives who actually need their provision and appreciate it. It has robbed men of having mothers to care for their children and homemakers to care for their homes so they can excel in their careers. It has robbed men of their sexual rights in marriage. It is a common joke today that the best sex and the most sex a man will ever get from a woman is before they are married.
Feminism has so radically redefined marriage, sadly even amongst many Christians today, that women no longer seek a leader, provider and protector in a husband. Instead they just want to “marry their best friend”. Friends are great and even friendship in marriage is wonderful and should be a goal in marriage. However, friendship is not the core purpose for which God designed marriage. God designed marriage to paint a picture of Christ and the Church. The husband is to emulate Christ in how he lovingly leads, provides for and protects his wife. And the wife is to emulate the Church by following his leadership and submitting to him everything as the Church submits to Christ.
Before 19th and 20th century feminism economically freed women from men, women were highly dependent on men in order to survive. Except for rare instances, women could not own property and it was difficult for women to work and make money except through their father or husband.
So it was primarily through economic means that a man acquired a wife. Men did not have to “win the heart” of a woman in order to marry her. They did not need to be the most handsome man . They did not have to flatter the woman and tell her they wanted to worship her with her their lives. They simply had to make enough money to support her and then if her father was impressed by his economic means then he would approve the marriage.
This is not to say that fathers did not often consider the character of a man to whom they would give their daughters in marriage in addition to his economic means. But the point is, it was not the woman that the man had to impress in order to marry her, but rather it was her father.
But because of feminism there has been a massive paradigm switch in how men come to marry women. No longer are fathers the ones who determine who marry their daughters, but it is the women themselves who set the terms.
And because women no longer want leaders, providers and protectors in men and because of how women routinely sexually deny men in marriage many men see absolutely no point in marrying. Their core drivers to seek out marriage have been removed.
Marriage used to offer security for both men and women. The man knew his wife would belong to him and him alone. No other man would have her sexually or otherwise. She would bear his children and care for them. She would care for the domestic needs of his home. The woman knew the man would provide for physical needs and the needs of her future children. He would also be a source of protection for her and her future children.
But feminism has now all but shattered the security that marriage once offered to men. Men risk a 50 percent chance their wives will grow tired of them and divorce them within the first four to seven years of marriage. And our society has made it so easy for women that in divorce they will walk away with half of everything the man has and most likely majority custody of the children unless the husband fights hard for 50/50 custody.
Sex is the most powerful driving force for men to seek women for marriage, but now that women freely offer sex outside of marriage men can get that need met without risking the damage women can do to them in marriage.
So, it for these reasons that we see many millennial men giving up on the institution of marriage altogether.
So How Do We Turn the Millennials Around?
So how can we turn back the tide of secular humanism and feminism that has so poisoned our millennial generation?
First and foremost, we need to pray for our nation and our world each and every day. We need to pray that God will bring about a revival amongst his people. That he will raise up a new generation of young pastors who call out secular humanism and feminism as ideologies that are evil and opposed to Biblical values.
And even many who are not Christians in America would agree that the Biblical values we once held as a nation resulted in far better marriages and families and individuals than what we have today. People in America used to respect their parents and their country. They were proud of their families and their country. They proudly served in the military. And they were excited as young people to marry as soon as they could and start a family and raise children.
Millennials are not focused on finding a person who would make a good spouse to them and a good parent to their children. Starting a family is for “older people”. It is not surprise that more and more millennials do not marry until they reach their late 20’s or earlier 30’s if they ever marry at all.
They are focused on what video game is coming out, what movie is coming out and talking with their friends on the phone or online. They are focused on parties and taking trips around the country or even around the world. They are obsessed with education and material things. Homes get bigger and fancier each year and so do cars. And these new fancier homes and cars come with much higher price tags that many millennials are willing to pay.
And to get and do all these things millennials sacrifice what matters most in this world – God, marriage and children.
But there are some other things that we who believe in Biblical values can do. We can encourage the young people we meet to do what is right. We can tell them about what truly matters in the world. We can teach them the Biblical concept that you will never be happy focusing your life on yourself and your own desires.
Millennials need to be taught that true happiness only comes by serving God and serving others for his glory and honor.
In my personal life I have made an effort both with my son’s young college age friends and even the young men I work with at my job to encourage and admonish them to do their duty that first to God and then to their society. I have a duty to pay forward what their parents did for them and what their grand parents did for their parents. They have a duty to marry, have children and love their spouses and children. They have a solemn duty to the next generation.
Many of these young people will at first laugh and joke when I say these things. They will say things like “So do you think it’s wrong to have fun and enjoy life?”. I have told them absolutely not! Its not wrong to have fun and enjoy life. The Bible teaches us that God has given us things that were meant for our pleasure and joy in this life:
“18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. 19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.”
“3 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”
“18 Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion. 19 Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.”
God has blessed us so richly and has given us many sources of happiness or “fun” as younger folks would call it. God has given us companionship and sex in marriage. Sex was definitely meant by God to be a source of fun! But God also gave us children and he tells us directly in Psalm 127:5 that he meant children to be a source of happiness for us. I can tell you as a father of five children, while it can be hard sometimes, my children have been a great source of happiness and even fun.
I was a big computer game player in my youth. But you know what is more fun than just playing video games? Its playing video games with your children! But we also watch movies together and go places together and we enjoy life together. We learn about God’s Word together.
And God wants us to truly enjoy the fruit of our labors. We don’t have feel bad if the Lord provides so that we can take a nice vacation with our family.
But what is my point to these young people? The point is the lie of this world is that marriage and children hold you back. They keep you from truly being happy. They tell you living for yourself is the only way to be happy. That is a lie! It is a lie straight from the devil himself.
We can serve God, marry, have children and serve our families and have a great joy in doing what God has designed us to do.
But when I speak to these young millennials whether at my house or at my job, I also express to them the darker consequences of the way they are living their lives. I show them the fact of the fertility crisis that the world faces. I show them UN studies that show by 2300 if the world continues living as American and Western millennials live the world population will drop to 25 percent of what is today. And if no change is made in the selfish life style choices of future generations the world will die out within few centuries after that. Literally the human race could become extinct by 2600 if the rising tide of secular humanism is not turned back.
I tell them this is why it is their duty to God, their parents, grandparents and other ancestors as well as their nation to marry and be fruitful and multiply.
A Message for Millennial Men Who are Afraid of Marriage
If you are millennial man who is a Christian reading what I just wrote on how feminism has robbed men of the security marriage you might have been saying “Amen! That is exactly why I am not getting married.” While that might be an option for non-Christians, as a Christian man you don’t get to run away from marriage because it is scarier now than it is has ever been for men since the creation of the world.
God’s rule is marriage and his exception is celibacy for service to him. If you are trying to use God’s allowance for celibacy as your excuse to get out of marriage you need to re-read your Bible.
God’s first command to mankind in Genesis 1:28 was “Be fruitful, and multiply”. He never rescinded that command, even in the New Testament. In Hebrews 13:4 we read that “Marriage is honourable”. In the New Testament he offers an exception to this command for service to him, not because one is afraid of the commitment of marriage or has a fear of divorce, but rather for undivided service to him.
The Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:9 that “it is better to marry than to burn” with sexual desire. If you have the gift of sexual desire then you do not have the gift of celibacy. God does not give these two gifts together because they are contradictory to one another.
God wants you to marry, have sex and have children. He wants you to find a woman so that together you and that woman can do what he designed you both to do together and that was to model the relationship of Christ and his Church.
Even if Millennials Do Not Listen Things Can Get Better
Many people write me accusing me of being such a huge pessimist about our current culture and our immediate future and I plead guilty to that accusation. I am extremely saddened and discouraged by many things I have seen happen over the last couple decades in this country. And our immediate future, as in the next few decades or even next half century does look very grim. It will get much worse before it gets better.
But I also find hope in the fact that not all millennials have gone down this selfish path. Many millennials when they get a little older return to church. And traditional minded millennials are far out-breeding liberal millennials. So, it is very possible that we could sit back and watch as the conservative and Christian millennials who actually marry and have many children raise up the next generation.
In the same way that socialism can only survive on the back of capitalism, so too liberalism which is anti-natal at its core can only survive on the back of pro-natal religious conservatives. Another way of putting this is, liberals need conservatives to have babies with the hope that they can convert those babies to liberals by they time they reach adulthood.
This is how secular liberals use their church, the American public education system, to indoctrinate the youth of conservative born children into their secular humanism.
For many years this insidious agenda was hidden and naïve conservative parents who failed to teach their children the lies of secular humanism would eventually find by the end of high school or college that their children had become converts of secular humanism.
Thankfully over the past couple decades with the rise of conservative radio and TV media this insidious agenda has been exposed. Many conservative parents are now inoculating their children from the disease that is secular humanism. They are prepared for the secular humanist arguments and can even challenge their teachers and professors. The tide has turned and this is what has progressives more frightened today than ever.
They can’t reproduce by converting children from native born conservative homes any more. Even some liberals are sounding the alarm on this. They see the demographic writing on the wall. The many children of conservative millennials could far outnumber the few children of liberal millennials in the next generation resulting in a sea change in this nation.
This is also why liberals are for the allowance of mass immigration from poor countries with people that are far less educated and dependent on government. These people are much easier to indoctrinate into liberal ideology and it will often not be until the the third generation of these immigrants that their children may turn from liberal ideology to conservative ideology.
But the Scriptures give us this hope for our millennials and the next generation they will give birth to:
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14
We need to continue to pray for a revival in our land and pray that God will bring up a godly future generation to replace the secular humanist society that has come to dominate America.