In this day in age, when everything in the world seems to be changing and evolving- from the economy, to the environment, to the boom of the internet world- it’s only fitting that the institution of marriage should be changing as well. In a recent Times article, a few interesting and thought provoking questions were posed: Who needs marriage? What is marriage for, and for whom? And finally, Is it obsolete?
Framing the entire article around the new marriage between Prince William and Catherine Middleton, The Times takes us on a journey- exploring the fundamental differences between marriage now, and what it has been in the past. Why is it that in 1960, the year before Princess Diana, William’s mother was born, almost 70% of American adults were married, and now, only half are. In the 60’s, two-thirds of 20-somethings were married, versus 26% in 2008. And why is it thatcollege graduates are 64% more likely to marry than those with no higher education? In 1978, when divorce rates were higher than today, a TIME poll asked Americans if they thought marriage was becoming obsolete. Twenty-eight percent thought it was; when asked again this year, a Pew survey reveals that nearly 40% of Americans think marriage is obsolete now, and yet, as the Times article points out, marriage is still very desirable. The article continues to explore the nature of marriage, showing how the wealth disparity between married and the unmarried has grown so much over the past 50 years, and how this disparity relates to other issues regarding marriage.
Connecting marriage statistically with the economy, socio-economic differences, and education is not a perspective we often choose to examine, but it is definitely an interesting one, and one worth paying attention to. In the end- beyond understanding these statistics and findings- the Times article has inspired us to take a critical look at ourselves- to stop and think about where we might rest on this spectrum, and how these new parameters transform our own views on marriage and what it means to us personally. What does marriage mean to you?