SOUTH KOREA - Millennials Propose Marriage to Themselves

Arno Froese

To 20-somethings, marriage is no longer a dreamy future but a costly reality. When asked what pops up in their heads when hearing the word “marriage,” the response was “cost-to-benefit ratio.”

According to a 2017 Statistics Korea report, 57 percent of people in their 20s said it was more beneficial to not get married. The cost of marriage can be both materialistic and non-materialistic―finance, stress from the relationship and personal time, while the benefits remain unsure.

“I don’t want to give up my life that I have worked so hard to build. From what I have seen of my parents’ marriage, the wife has to sacrifice her personal life. Even if culture seems to have changed, traditional roles and awareness still remain in households,” a 25-year-old woman surnamed Lee told The Korea Times. “For me, I still need my own space and time.”

According to a 2016 survey conducted by Macromil Embrain of 1,000 people in their 20s, 59.5 percent of women chose not to get married because they want to have “freer life.” When multiple replies were allowed, 58 percent of the women also opted out marriage to avoid stress from new relationships and in-laws.

According to Duo, a matchmaking company, an average couple in Korea needs 230 million won ($202,322) in wedding cost including housing in 2018. Considering a median annual income for workers here is 25 million won ($21,989), a couple has to save money for five years without any spending, just to get married.

“In society, marriage is a possessive relationship between two people, but relationships can take different forms,” Ohn Jeong-min, 23, told The Korea Times. “I didn’t want my relationship to be trapped in the norms set by society. What is a normal relationship anyway?”

For the reason that marriage became something to endure, Oh Chan-ho, a sociology professor and the author of “Sociology of Marriage and Nursery,” explains: “The current generation has seen their parents, who received a better education than previous generations, but had to sacrifice their career for marriage.”

Although the number of people having “unconventional” family types is growing, such as unmarried couples, single parents or just people who commit to living alone, government policy is not yet prepared for such changes., 1 November 2018

Arno's commentary

South Korea is an East-Asian success story. Life expectancy stands at 82.5 years. Twenty percent claim to be Protestant, 15.5% Buddhist, and 8% Catholic. The largest percentage of the population claims no religion at all. So, the question is: what is the most important thing for Koreans? The answer: having possessions. This is quite typical, not only for Koreans, but also for many of the super-successful nations around the globe. The spirit of self is evident, and here we are reminded of Revelation 3:17: “…I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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