It has been suggested that marriage in the U.S. has become deinstitutionalized (Cherlin 2004), as a consequence of its diminished status in American society. In the past, marriage was a commonplace, even required, stage of the life course and a marker of the transition to adulthood. Today, it is a less obligatory institution (Thornton and Young -DeMarco 2001), and some openly question the decision to marry. Those who do choose to marry do so at a later age than in the recent past. Between 1960 and 2005, the estimated median age at first marriage increased from 23 to 27 for men, and from 20 to 25 for women (U.S. Census Bureau 2006).