We Are More Open No Matter How Things Might Look
When I was young there was an understanding that you get married. You reached an age and got married, and then you had children.
That was how it was done. Gender roles helped shape this perspective.
People once perceived marriage as a "duty" though that is less today than it was before and want to "stay young" longer than before.
Birth control and the economy have changed that for many people now who get married later in life.
Back in the day before you could have kids in a socially acceptable manner you had to be married. And since birth control wasn't really a thing you generally had to be married to have sex so people got married so they could have sex with each other.
As birth control became a thing the age moved back a bit. And as college became the norm for women as well as men it pushed things back again further. And now with the economy being difficult and housing/wedding costs on the rise getting married can be financially stressful for a young couple.
Our grandparents likely could afford to get married, buy a house and afford children much earlier in life. Those days are long gone in the new global economy we have. But you still see remnants when you look around. The bridal shower before the wedding, baby showers that are held when the first child is on the way, and the way our culture perceives not owning a home are all remnants of this time.
There are also other factors:
- Premarital sex is less taboo.
- Birth Control/Abortion is available so less shotgun weddings.
- Less expectation/need for large families so there's less pressure on marrying early.
- More people are going to college/graduate school.
- Women are less tied economically to men now so they don't have to marry to provide for themselves anymore.
Combine that with the percentage of superior level of education among population has grown so, while my mother and dad could get married while they were 21 (high school and primary school level of education), I was still studying at university and couldn't marry before being 26. In facts is kinda hard to have a revenue that's enough to pay for studying and live and get a family while studying.
Escaping family roles, that once forced people into a model that was designed for "the husband to get a job, the wife care for the house and the children" the roles were kinda dependent one from the other. Nowadays males and females get a job and work and time for house-caring has become much less (washing machine, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, etc), as much as time for shopping (think about superstores compared to the grocery and the butcher and the greengrocer and...) so "technically" marriage is less necessary than before and people worry about that later because either male or female are less dependent one from another.