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Want your friends to get married? Be careful how you tell them
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Do you have two friends who just wont get married? Put them on a path to marriage by talking about something other than getting married. - photo by Herb Scribner
Do you have two friends who just wont get married? You know, those friends who, no matter how hard you push them towards the sound of ringing wedding bells, dont budge an inch towards the white wedding chapel?

Well, heres one researcher's suggestion on how you can get them to tie the knot: Put them on a path to marriage by talking about something other than getting married.

Through research, David Lapp, of the Institute of Family Studies, found that getting people to marry is less about making them understand the benefits of marriage, and more about putting them on a path that will help them see why marriage is important.

Lapps research found that people sometimes go through life-changing experiences that make them more interested in marriage.

There could be a million such factors: a steady and decent-paying job that boosts a persons dignity and overall sense of stability, psychological healing, more intentionality in sex and dating, recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction, a religious transformation, a sense of belonging in a community, Lapp wrote.

He mentioned one example where a man decided to get married after his mother died and he got a job promotion. Both of these inspired this man to get married because he saw that he could afford marriage and he understood the brevity of life.

But this might not work for every soon-to-be married couple. Many young Americans only want to get married when theyre sure its something they want to do and only when theyre prepared. The Pew Research Center found in 2011 that 70 percent of millennials want to get married, with 66 percent of millennials saying they want to get married and have children, even though the demographics marriage rate has declined.

Millennials also want to make sure theyre well off financially before they tie the knot. Pew specifically found that 34 percent of people aged 25 to 34 years old have held off marriage because they feel they arent financially prepared. Young women, specifically, have held off because men have yet to rebound in the job market since the Great Recession, which I wrote about last October.

So it seems one way to get people to marry is to have them focus on something else thatll inspire them to tie the knot. But if young Americans only want to get married when theyre financially well off and ready, pressure may lead them into an unsuccessful marriage, Lapp wrote.

I suspect that the focus on something else approach might be effective for getting people married, but Im not sure that it would work for keeping them happily married, Lapp wrote.

It also may lead Americans to feel constrained by their marriage, which is one of the top reasons for divorce. For example, if millennials get married because they focused on something else other than marriage and made the decision when pressured, they might find themselves unhappy down the road and may seek the escape, Lapp wrote.

And inspiring someone to get married by having them focus on something else may send them the wrong message, which could also contribute to a failed marriage, Lapp wrote for the Institute of Family Studies back in October of last year. Young Americans are constantly bombarded with the wrong messages about marriage like that love is easy to manage and simple to find that they take getting married for granted, Lapp wrote.

Lapp suggests that our culture find a new way to embrace marriage in order to make sure young Americans feel comfortable tying the knot.

Unless we as a society take collective responsibility for the messages about love and commitment and family that we transmit, we do a disservice to young adults, Lapp wrote. And especially to working class young adults, who are struggling with uncertainty and wondering how to sustain love and commitment and a stable family if its all contingent upon the (irrational) fate of all-powerful feeling. They deserve a better message.