In the past few decades, we have witnessed the rise of divorce and a drop in marriage rates. In the US alone, the total number of people getting married has dropped half a million since the record peak in the 1980s, spiking at 2.5 million marriages a year.
It is worth noting that a drop in marriage rates is a global trend recorded in ⅘ of 100 countries over the world.
Interestingly, even though 44% of Americans under 30 indicated that marriage is becoming obsolete, only 5 percent of this sample doesn’t want to get married. It seems people are rating marriage as extinct, but nonetheless giving it a shot. So, the question arises, is marriage obsolete?
What is making the marriage obsolete?
Many factors could be making the marriage obsolete.
Amongst them, we recognize financial freedom of women, the general rise in the freedom of choice, postponed pubescence, the transformation of the relationships, the possibility to have sex without being married first, etc.
A financially independent woman nowadays enjoys the freedom to choose her future husband herself. Earlier, it used to be decided by her family, and she had to settle for a good husband that could provide for the family.
However, today. women can work and provide for themselves, making marriage a matter of personal decision instead of a forced choice. But, at the cusp of this newfound autonomy and relationships, they often ask themselves, “Is marriage obsolete?”
Unlike in the past, when women married for financial security, today, the main reason is love. This also means that if they choose not to marry at all, they can do so. All this together is making the marriage obsolete.
At least in the developed and developing world, women don’t have to wed a man to become financially dependent on him.
A shift in the role
Both women and men, after growing up, have a chance to become financially autonomous. A woman can work if she decides to and a man no longer has to rely on his wife for housekeeping.
These roles can now be such that a man can be a stay at home dad, while the mom is the family’s provider. Additionally, being financially independent allows women to choose if they want to be single moms since they don’t have to have a providing husband to become a parent.
Marriage requires compromise and work on the relationship
Often a lot of both. Knowing we will have to make bargains in a marriage makes marriage seem less appealing. Why compromise when you don’t have to, right?
Our mindset and culture are largely focusing on being happy and getting the most we can from life. If it seems like marriage is not adding value to our lives, we are less likely to opt for it.
It used to be we married for financial security and having children, but being able to that while being single makes the marriage less needed nowadays.
People choose to remain single
Today we, mostly, marry for love, and we are willing to wait until we find the right person. People choose to remain single until they encounter someone with whom they will have to make the least possible compromise.
Not having to be married to have children is one of the main factors for making the marriage obsolete.
Sex used to be one of the key reasons for getting married. However, having sex before marriage is more acceptable than it used to be. We no longer have to be in a relationship to have intercourse. Is this respect, for some, the question “Is marriage obsolete” is a yes.
Furthermore, live-in relationships have gained legal status in many places. Being able to formalize aspects of live-in partnership by writing a legal agreement made the marriage seem less alluring.
We should take into account that the time when joining in holy matrimony has significantly changed. People used to marry in their early 20-is, but now most people get married and have children after they are 30. Teenagers are not rushing to become adults and enter matrimony. There are many opportunities and freedoms they didn’t have before and that they wish to explore before they lock themselves in a marriage.
Lastly, many do not get married simply because they see marriage as a “piece of paper” that does not define their relationship with the chosen partner. So, for them, the answer to the question, “Is marriage obsolete” is in the affirmative.
Why would one want to get married?
Will marriage become obsolete? Highly unlikely. The rate of marriage may decrease, and it surely will go through many changes, but it will continue to exist.
Marriage may seem like an outdated institution, but for many people, it is a crucial way of showing their dedication to one another.
Many find this the ultimate way of solidifying the commitment and declaring their love for one another.
Is marriage obsolete? Well, not for those who place a premium on commitment. Marriage is about commitment, and that makes it easier to invest in solving relationship problems. While in a relationship, it can be easier to stop improving the relationship and to break up, but a marriage is all about committal.
Knowing something is supposed to last, and the person is not going anywhere can make it easier to invest effort in the betterment of the relationship.
The stability of the marriage provides security and acceptance that we all seek.
Marriage strengthens the bonds and increases trust in someone’s devotion and loyalty.
Marriage paws way to building a stable family in which the children can thrive and feel secure. Marriage makes it easier to build a family since there is someone to share the load with. Especially since you and this person share a strong emotional connection.
Finally, there are many financial benefits to marriage. Lowered income tax, social security, pension funds are just some of the financial profits a marriage brings. When married, your partner is able to make legal decisions on your behalf and this is something that is unavailable for cohabiting couples.
To marry or not to marry
Nowadays, people have more freedom, and one of them is to define their relationship in a way they want to. Choosing to be single, in an open relationship, married or something entirely other is a personal choice we are free to make.
Each of those options has its pros and cons and is a legitimate choice to make. Is marriage obsolete? No, and probably will never be. It is an option that still makes sense to many people for emotional, religious, financial, and cultural reasons.