Marriage, in America, was defined, in the 19th century, as a sacred long-term union between two consenting adults sanctioned by the church. People get into marriage for different reasons and over the years the reasons have somewhat changed because the times have also changed. This change in times has made the reasons for years back to become obsolete. In the traditional marriage, people got married for economic reasons. As much of work was manual, the muscle build of men was essential in the completion of tasks and this saw men earn the role of breadwinners in the marriage and family set up. The women became the housekeepers and took care of children which were more of a survival necessity (Strong et al. 214). Other reasons include pressure from the society, siring children among others. However, with the advancement of technology, marriage is no longer necessary for the attainment of some of these reasons. In the next three paragraphs, this article will discuss why marriage is no longer necessary; it has lost its value.
The first reason is women empowerment. With the advancement of technology came women empowerment and recognition. Laws and policies have been put in place to support and encourage gender equality in the distribution of resources, job market, academia and even the governments (Steinmetz et al. 312). Currently, women are entitled to competitive paycheck as their male counterparts unlike years back when men were paid better than women. Many women also have access to higher levels of education and high positions in government. This gives them independence in the sense that they can cater to their own bills and they can also voice their own opinion. Initially, this was not possible when they were dependent on men for the provision of the basic needs as men were the sole breadwinner ((Popenoe, 311). They could not dare challenge his opinion because that meant the risk of foregoing those basic needs. That women can now have a job and make their own money is one reason that marriage is not necessary.
Secondly is the high rate of divorce witnessed. A recent Pew Research Center's study showed that in 2013, 40% of newlyweds were former divorcees. This is seconded by the United States Census Bureau whose perpetual divorce statistics stand at 60% for remarriages and 41% for first marriages (Kabamalan et al. 403). Further shocking is a recent survey by the same institution which shows that 17% of Americans have remarried twice or more. In the United Kingdom, divorce cases have been on a rise from 1960 all through to 1993. From the 90's to the new millennium, divorce cases have remained at a constant level. The review of divorce laws has also damned marriage further by making the divorce process easy. This led to a high increase in the number of divorce cases filed by women in 1923.
Thirdly, abuse of alcohol and partying has led to the loss of the value in marriage. Under the influence of alcohol, a majority of people make bad decisions which negatively affect their marriage. Drunk people are prone to promiscuity be it male or female. This act of infidelity puts a strain on a marriage and it's inevitable that it will break (Kumari, 543). Also, money which could have been spent on managing the house, purchasing supplies or buying items for children is wasted on alcohol. Excessive use of alcohol also leads to wife battering and abuse of children. Arguments that arise from the use of alcohol tend to get out of hand and the victim is likely to walk out of the marriage.
Lastly, the other reason for lost value in marriage is modernity. Postmodernists argue that we are no longer living in the orderly and predictable society of years back. The current society is experiencing things moving at a fast pace. The family unit is fragmented and people have many choices in personal relationships, lifestyles and family union (Popenoe, 234). This diversity and freedom of choice cause instability in relationships, friendships and marriage and change the mechanisms under which they operate and function. This instability leads to breaking up of marriage and family life. Modernization has also brought about an upsurge in cohabiting. According to Pew Research Center, cohabiting is on a high among Americans. It further notes that today's couples prefer forming lasting and satisfying relationships based on cohabiting instead of legally getting married. This arrangement is seen to be more appealing because it is less demanding and is drama-free.
In conclusion, marriage has lost its charm and is not worth reinventing. The social set up has completely changed and is on the roll. Human and marriage expectations are getting redefined every day and people are having different definitions and understanding of marriage. The traditional roles that were placed on both women and men are now obsolete with the empowerment of women. Women are now capable of catering for themselves and so financial security is no longer a reason to get married (Strong et al. 223). The high cases of divorce as cited is another reason why marriage has lost its value. People find it easy to walk out of marriages instead of solving the challenges they face. This attitude in itself shows that the value of marriage is totally lost and that it's not worth fight for. Lastly, modernization has brought about a shift in attitude and mentality. The change in family dynamics and relationships has availed freedom of choice and great diversity. This has given people over the fulfilment of their needs. This freedom has created instability of these relationships and caused the failure of marriages.
Kabamalan, Maria Midea M., and Nimfa B. Ogena. "Marriage as ideal, cohabitation as practical: Revisiting meanings of marriage in the Philippines." Extended abstract submitted for the IUSSPXXVII International Population Conference. 2013.
Kumari, Aarti. "Self Evident-The Place of Women in Today's Modern Society." Social Sciences International Research Journal ISSN (2016): 2395-0544.
Popenoe, David. Families without Fathers: Fatherhood, Marriage and Children in American Society. Routledge, 2017.
Steinmetz, Suzanne, and Barbara H. Settles. Concepts and Definitions of Family for the 21st Century. Routledge, 2013.
Strong, Bryan, and Theodore F. Cohen. The marriage and family experience: Intimate relationships in a changing society. Cengage Learning, 2013.
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