Various governments across various civilizations have eschewed the virtues of marriage and long term union in contemporary society, and some have even introduced legislation and incentives to encourage marriage and the development of a family unit. However, as the global rate of divorce spirals towards a troubling 50 percent, and the rate of divorce in the US alone stands at approximately 48 percent, there is an increasing concern as to the relevance of union in a modern society.
The thought processes involved in attempting to create marital and relationship harmony is simple. Governments regulate society, to make its citizens law abiding and maintain their safety. The concept of the family unit, and all of the values of clean living and moderation that are incorporated within, ensure that it is used as a tool with which to govern and maintain a social equilibrium. This abates the concern that single individuals are more vulnerable to external influences and corruption without the support of family or their communal values.
While this trend of government thinking is clear, it is also a little misguided in contemporary surroundings. The nature of relationships and union has changed dramatically over the course of 4 decades, with the relevance of marriage slowly diminishing alongside the revolution in dating and methods of courtship. Quite simply, the encouragement of traditional family units and values becomes less pointed in a society where couples no longer begin their relationship in the traditional way, especially as marriage is often seen as an expensive luxury or a classification rather than the pinnacle of a relationship.
If you assess the outlets through which couples now meet, many are not conducive to fostering deep and compatible relationships. The contemporary trend is for online and virtual dating, where individuals with busy lifestyles utilize social networks and official dating sites to search for and meet potential partners. This is hugely different to how relationships were formed in previous generations, where couples took the time to learn about each other’s perspectives and values, while also learning about the others aspirations and goals in life.
The nature of the majority of online dating sites are appearance and profile driven, so members are often not encouraged to upload their deepest thoughts or inherent personal values. Dating websites instead ask for a photograph and a brief summary of a daters likes, dislikes, past times and occupational line of work. The majority of online dating profiles appear as inconsequential and fairly irrelevant, and the information within has little influence on whether two people are compatible for long term union, marriage or forging a family unit.
The Concept of Marriage
Some would argue that as the average cost of a wedding in the US is now estimated at $20,000, that this alone is the core reason why marriage ceases to carry the lustre or relevance of previous generations. This is a false perception however, as an enjoyable wedding can be sourced at a fraction of that cost with some creative planning and ideas. The more significant issue would appear to surround the notion that marriage and the most serious displays of commitment are simply not deemed as worthwhile by a large portion of contemporary society.
This feeling may have been cultivated through the nature of modern dating, and the remote and more light hearted interaction of online activity. These facts, coupled with the lack of time and communication that is devoted to encouraging a meaningful relationship, is rendering modern unions both frivolous and without consideration. This is why the less fashionable ideas of commitment and marriage are losing their significance in society, as its people shun the concept of codependency and instead seek excitement and romance through a more remote and easily accessible world.
Even in instances where marriage is the result of an online liaison, statistics show that these unions are ill considered and not based on core elements of trust or mutual respect. This is apparent through the ever decreasing cycles of courtship in modern relationships, where people are choosing marriage as either a novelty or out of a social condition and circumstance. The most worrying conclusion to draw from all of this is that marriage and committed relationships are simply not compatible with contemporary dating trends and lifestyles, and therefore less important and relevant.
Moving with Modern Times
If governments and regulating bodies are genuinely keen to elevate the status of union in society, then they first need to recognise the ever changing nature of relationships through time. It is not a case of accepting that marriage and long term union is less suited to the demands and expectations of modern life, but more attempting to understand how perception and understanding can be modified to make respect a more relevant factor in relationships. By accepting the change and adapting their view of modern society, then governments and social leaders can best promote the values of family and committed partnerships.