Should Marriages Be Forever? The Pros And Cons
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines marriage in three different ways, “a (1): the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2): the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage. b: the mutual relation of married persons c: the institution whereby individuals are joined in a marriage.” The key points of the definition, to me, are that marriage is an institution and it is a relationship that is recognized by law. Until recently, love had very little to do with marriage. When looking back into the history of marriage many forms of marriage are seen, very little having to do with love. Frist, there were ideas of marriage to strengthen alliances between countries and families. Early historical records indicate, that even in the Bible, there were marriages to cousins in order to keep close family ties. Polygamy was also very popular, especially when looking at the Bible at men like Jacob and Solomon.
Love eventually became the strengthening factor behind marriage, and was once seen as a sacred institution. Most wedding ceremonies still include phrases such as “holy matrimony” or an institution “ordained by God”. The major issue, from a religious standpoint, is that religion is not as important to society as it once was. In a 2014 study completed by NBC and The Wall Street Journal, published by The Huffington Post, says that, “1 in 5 Americans say religion is ‘Not that important’”. Unfortunately, marriage is no longer seen as a lifelong commitment. To me, a majority of society views marriage as something as a fad, or like a pair of shoes. With marriage compared to a pair of shoes, what happens with a pair of shoes you get tired of or that get worn out? You just go and get a new pair of shoes!
To me, marriage is a lifelong commitment that does take some work from both sides. Sometimes things are tough, but that’s just life, and you have to learn how to work through them together. The Baby Boomers generation is past, and so comes the Millennial generation. With the new generation comes a wide away of socially and culturally accepted practices and norms. Society as a whole, does not get the concept of the typical Western wedding vows, which go something like, “I, (your name), take you (spouse’s name), to be my lawfully (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward, until death do us part.” Marriages are bound by law, through the good times and the bad, until death. It has become socially and culturally acceptable to throw around “Divorce” freely, opposed to those times of “better or for worse”. Putting society and culture aside, there’s a science behind marriage. Only about five percent of all mammals are monogamous, and within that five percent, fifteen percent of primates, including humans, are monogamous (Dow 2012). When looking at known human societies, only one percent allow polyandrous relationships (woman takes more than one husband), eighty two percent permit polygyny (man takes more than one wife), and only seventeen percent of known human societies only permit monogamy (Dow 2010). Statistically, according to the 2013 National Marriage and Divorce Rate Trends report published by the CDC: Marriage rates are down, and so are divorce rates. In 2011 there were 2,118,000 marriages, or 6.8 per 1,000 total population. This rate repeated from 2009-2011, down from a rate of 8.2 marriages per 1,000 total population in the year 2000. Divorces and annulments in 2011 were at a rate of 3.6 per 1,000 total population. There were 877,000 divorces and annulments in 2011. This was a two year trend from 2010 and 2011, increasing from 3.5 in...
References: Marriage [Def. 1]. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster Online. In Merriam-Webster. Retrieved November 1, 2014, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/citation.
Mosbergen, D. (2014, March 13). 1 In 5 Americans Say Religion Is 'Not That Important ' To Them. Retrieved October 31, 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/13/religion-poll-nbc-wsj_n_4957886.html
Dow, M. (2012). WHEN ONE WIFE IS ENOUGH: A CROSS-CULTURAL. Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, 7(3), 211-238.
National Marriage and Divorce Rate Trends. (2013, February 19). Retrieved November 2, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/marriage_divorce_tables.htm
Marriage And Divorce Statistics. (2011, January 1). Retrieved November 1, 2014, from http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/marriage-divorce-statistics
Why Have Divorce Rates Increased Over Time? (n.d.). Retrieved November 2, 2014, from http://www.attorneys.com/divorce/why-have-divorce-rates-increased-over-time/
Brandon, M. (2011). The challenge of monogamy: Bringing it out of the closet and into the treatment room. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 26(3), 281-287.
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