The trend of marriage in the modern society
The meaning of marriage differs from one person to another, and from one time to another. In ancient times, for example, a marriage meant a condition in which the legal union of a man and a woman as husband and wife. For much of human history, marriage had been a permanent institution that, once entered into, cannot be dissolved except by the death of one of the spouses. In the modern world, however, marriage is a vastly different thing.
On the up side, marriage is today more of a gathering of equals, rather than the subjugation of one to the other. On the down side, marriage often becomes much more temporary than it has been in years past. In this modern society marriage is just a contract for a relationship, but it cannot guarantee a marriage lasting a lifetime. It has often been ending up in a divorce. This is different from the past decades. According to the recent research, there is more than fifty percent of Americans will end up divorcing. Now, the question is what is going on with married couples, and with marriage in general? There is no simple answer for that, but all the changes in the world in the past years could be part of the answer. Society has changed its mentality in a lot of ways, and one of them is the acceptance of divorce as a normal way to end an unhappy relationship. People marry each other for love most of the time; they want to share a life together. But feelings change, families change, and sometimes these changes are irreconcilable. The difference from the past decades ago and today is that, now people are getting divorced for all kinds of different reasons that did not exist before. One important example is the change in women’s independence. The women’s movement opened the gate to women competing jobs with men outside home.
Therefore women no longer only stayed at home being a house wife. They also could make money and do not need to depend on men. Women who adopt egalitarian ideas, pursue higher education, or establish careers, we are told, are less likely to attract a husband and more likely to divorce. In contrast to the old time, marriage were much more stable, and the divorce rates were near zero percent when wives were legally required to obey their husbands and lacked the economic or educational resources. I think the reason why couples would stay in an unsatisfactory marriage in the past instead of getting divorce is love is not the only and first thing they consider. Besides, children, financial support, and the culture norms are the more important things to be considered. This is true, marriage is not just about love, but it’s about everything. However, today couples will just get divorce when they feel the love is gone, other than that is not important, because women are financial independent, and children are grown up in a single parent or stepparent’s family is a normal things. That’s why the divorce rates are so high today. Most people will think carefully before they get married, especially the divorce rates are continuously increasing, which make couples so keenly aware of the fragility of marriage. Common “wisdom” says that living together in a “trial marriage” is a good way to determine if couples are compatible before marriage. Living together, couples can share expenses and learn more about each other. Furthermore, if things don’t work out, it is easier to break up than getting divorce. People can just move out the house and do not need to take any responsibility. After all, if you know that you are not compatible before marriage, you don’t have need to spend all that money for the wedding and the inevitable divorce. It seems that cohabitation is a good way to achieve some of the benefits of marriage and avoid the risk of divorce.
Not surprisingly, young adults favor cohabitation. Living together before marriage is a new concept in the United States, and it is noticeable increasing, it’s also growing acceptability in our society. We recognize the larger social and cultural trends that make cohabiting relationships attractive to many young adults today. In a cohabitating relationship, people don’t have to take the responsibility as the marriage couples do, but they can freely enjoy the similar benefits as marital couples do, such as marital sex. Plus, it’s a good trial of marriage. This is what many people believe today, and it becomes a norm in our society. So the new generation will learn that from their unmarried parents and the society. Therefore, unmarried cohabitation is not likely to go away. Instead, the rates keep on going up. A dramatic rise in unmarried cohabitation has blurred the boundaries of “marriage.” Moreover, rising cohabitation rates extend that living arrangement may as a more important pattern than marital status for determining family structure. Yet many people only know the “good things” in a cohabitating relationship, but they do not know the basic facts about cohabitation and its risks.
Cohabitation does not reduce the likelihood of eventual divorce; in fact, it may lead to a higher divorce risk. They are more apt to divorce, particularly if they have lived with several people in the past. In such a union involves no public commitment, no pledge for the future, and no official pronouncement of love and responsibility. Thos is essentially a private arrangement based on an emotional bond. It means that they can end up the relationship for any reasons any time. “If you don’t behave yourself and keep me happy, I will just move out.” It reduces commitment of marriage. On the other hand, a newly married couple who didn’t live together before marriage will make an effort to accept each other’s everything, no matter shortcomings and good things because they know their relationship will last for life time once they get into marriage. As cohabitation rates are increasing, the marriage rates are decreasing, and rates of birth to unmarried women are increasing. Although many unmarried parents work together to raise their children by cohabiting or maintaining frequent contact, father involvement is not always stable.
These children usually live apart from at least one of their parents. The child could live alone with the mother, with the mother and her new cohabitating partner, or with mother and a stepfather. The unstable family may contribute an insecurity feeling to them. Compare to the old time, there are fewer children today spend their entire childhood in homes with two married parents. In short, this new family type is a fragile family. This trend is driven by the delay in marriage, the decline in births among married couples relative to births among unmarried couples, and the increase in childbearing among unmarried women. I believe that in the future, we will see less divorce because there will be fewer people getting married, and more people will choose cohabitation. Compare to the ascent time, the family bond and marriage are weaker. People today do not cherish family and marriage as people in the past did. Nowadays, people are more self-interested. Family is not the first thing they think about but themselves.