One of the things I’ve noticed when I talk to people who are delaying marriage is they’re in a cohabitation situation. When I ask them why, at first, I was expecting a Low view of marriage. And sometimes you will [see that]. But I’ve actually found in talking to people that I rarely come across that sort of attitude of “marriage is just a piece of paper, we don’t need it.” Instead, what I find is really a high view of marriage that assumes that everything should be in order, and that the marriage itself should happen after the struggle, and after all the ambiguities and mysteries of life- that marriage happens when you know that this person is your soul mate, and when you know that the marriage is going to be idyllic.
This doesn’t apply to anyone. And so I think one of the reasons that we see weddings often costing inordinate amounts of money, being huge productions in a given community, really, I think has less to do with our expectations about marriage. The marriage itself is seen as a kind of production that has to be maintained. And, of course, that’s not what any marriage is, and that’s not what happens. So often I find that when those really high expectations disappoint, and they always do, people conclude, “Well, what I’m missing is the kind of marriage that I’m meant for which would meet those expectations.” And they either simmer in disappointment or they leave. And I think that leads to a great deal of misery.
Source: Five Questions with Family Studies: Russell Moore on Marriage, Family Life, and the Church by Alyssa ElHage