MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The countdown is on to the Royal Wedding. So that has us wondering about the state of matrimony in our own country.

How is marriage changing? Good Question.

We all know every marriage is different, but 90 percent of Americans will say, “I do” at least once in their lives.

“The state of marriage is a lot better than a lot of people think it is,” says Dr. Carol Bruess, a marriage expert at the University of St. Thomas.

In 2016, 50 percent of American adults were married. That’s down from 72 percent in 1960.

Experts says it’s important to look at these numbers with a critical eye.

“People typically think of non-marriage or divorce as driving the change in marriage, but there is some demographic change and delayed marriage shaping the trend as well,” says Minnesota State Demographer Susan Brower.

According to the U.S. Census, the median age for first marriage was 20.3 for women and 22.8 for men in 1960. By 2016, it had risen to 27.4 for women and 29.5 for men.

There’s often a common myth that 50 percent of American marriages end in divorce, but Bruess says it’s just not true. The rate is closer to 42 percent, when all adults are factored in. When just people married within the past 20 years, the rate is 35 percent. That’s way down from peak divorce rates in the 1960s and 1970s.

“It was at this time our expectation about what our partner brings to marriage, what a marriage should do for us changed,” says Bruess. “We now expect intimacy, love, friendship, best friendship. We expect a lot from our marriages.”

Heather Brown