The institution of marriage has been dying for years. It appears to be weakening as our society evolves and matures.
The reasons for marriage, including legal, social, financial, and religious, no longer hold the same power as they once did in most modern societies. Many people no longer feel any social pressure to get married. So for the first time in hundreds of years, we are free to choose.
The only remaining strong reason to get married is to support the raising of children. However, the fact that a couple with children is not married seems to make little difference in how the kids turn out as adults. The same is true of gay couples who adopt and raise children. It appears from interviews I’ve seen with children of unmarried or gay parents, that they are very well-adjusted. Certainly, they are more stable than children with traditionally married parents who constantly fight.
A strong romantic relationship guided by love shouldn’t need a controlling legal contract. Some might say the commitment of marriage is a demonstration of love. I don’t think so. It’s a demonstration that a binding legal agreement is needed to keep or force them to stay together. Would not the free choice to stay with a person be the ultimate demonstration of love?
The cost of marriage often greatly out weights the benefits. If one partner contributes a far greater financial portion to the marriage, he or she stands to lose a lot if they divorce. In many states in the U.S., it’s a 50/50 split! Which, coincidentally, is often the reported rate of divorce in the news?
Fifty percent divorce! A flip of a coin. Not good odds. Obviously, the traditional institution of marriage is not working. Yet thousands of people flock to Las Vegas each year, known as the marriage and gambling capital of the world, to get married. Isn’t it ironic, or fitting, that this popular place for marriage is also the gambling capital of the world. There is one caveat I should mention. In Las Vegas, the rate of success is much higher with marriage than gambling. 🙂
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control – U.S.), which gathers data from U.S. Census Bureau, the divorce rate is trending down but so is the marriage rate. With social and financial pressures greatly eased, especially for women, couples are free to choose if and when they get married.
Is it not possible that without the legal, social, and financial pressures to get married that the emotional connection and commitment to the relationship might be stronger since either party can walk away at any time? I compare this to a friendship outside of family. A friendship is the most unique close relationship that we have. There are no social or legal obligations whatsoever. Yet many people remain strong and loyal friends for life! I would imagine that the “breakup” rate of close long-term friendships is a fraction of the divorce rate. Perhaps a romantic friendship model is a more viable one.
Don’t let any anyone or anything outside your relationship with the person you love dictate whether you get married. It should be a free choice by both of you regardless of your situation or the culture where you live. Let love and respect be the strongest force that binds you together.