Individualism Delaying Marriage in Youngsters

Individualism Delaying Marriage in Youngsters Individualism Delaying Marriage in Youngsters

Iranian youngsters are becoming less inclined towards marriage.

Traditionally, families and relatives shoulder the responsibility of arranging marriages for their children, whereas today, due to social and cultural transformation the very nature of marriage is facing novel changes and challenges.

Mohammad Esmaeil Motlaq, head of Population and Family Health Office at the Health Ministry, said, “Marriage is the 7th priority on the list for youngsters after employment, education, home ownership and others,” reports IRNA.

Economic problems have created obstacles to financial independence as well as attitudes with regard to matrimonial expectations. The changes in marriage criteria, cultural issues and most important, individualism which runs rife among the youth, has set the stage for many youngsters to delay marriage, said Tahoura Norouzi, family consultant.

According to Aliakbar Mahzoun, head of Population and Immigrant Statistics at the Census Organization, there is an increase in the average marriage age for men from 6.7% in 2005 to 8.7% in 2014 and for women from 6.3% in 2005 to 11.2% in 2014.

Fakhrosadat Mohtashamipour, a social activist pointed to the issue of “individualism and its adverse effects on the national economy, society and population.”

She pointed to the “intensified spirit of individualism” as a consequence of how families bring up their children. Families glorify individualism and vilify anything that appears to get in the way of their children’s lives.  Children are brought up egoistically to believe that “life is all about I, me and myself!”

In such a scenario, parents, spouses, children, friends, and community all take a back seat to the ambitions of the individual self. Personal happiness, personal success and personal growth are often seen as the main objective of existence. As a result, youngsters today routinely distance themselves from the traditional values, the teachings of religion, their filial responsibilities and so forth in order to satisfy their own personal desires.

There was a time when the idea of individualism and emancipation contained honorable qualities. But, over the years, these concepts, as practiced by the majority, “have morphed into an incredibly harmful force.”

 Hierarchy of Needs

Another aspect to the declining rate of marriage compared to the past can also be due to the “hierarchy of needs” outlined in the 1940s by psychologist Abraham Maslow.

Human needs fit into a five-level hierarchy: The lowest need is that of physiological well-being, including the need to eat and drink, followed by the need for safety, then for belonging and love, esteem and finally self-actualization. The emergence of each need characteristically depends on the prior satisfaction of a more basic need. A person unable to satisfy the need for food, for example, is wholly concerned with meeting that need; only once it is met can he focus on satisfying the need following it.

Psychologists believe that an analogous process has occurred in people’s expectations about marriage. Those expectations were set at low levels of Maslow’s hierarchy in the past but have reached high levels today, in the “self-expressive” era when women especially are taking big steps towards education and financial independence and refuse to accept the traditional norms in marriage, based on the lower levels of the hierarchy of needs.

Mohtashamipour pointed to the important role of the government and families in paving the way for youth marriage. The youth should lower their expectations accordingly and families need to intervene less in their decisions.

She also said the academic environment and media are important pillars in creating awareness and improving marriage statistics. However, unlike the past, such education should be tailored to the needs of today’s youth and not on the basis of tradition and customs only.