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The Relevance of Marriage in Modern Times

Since 2006, it has been reported that an increasing number of US couples have cohabited together despite being unmarried. The estimated number of unmarried couples who share lodgings has fluctuated between 5 and 6.4 million in the last 4 years, but regardless of the exact quantities the trend is leaning towards an average increase year on year. 

These statistics and the ever publicised ascent of the divorce rate (which most experts suggest is currently estimated at between 45 and 51 percent) have drawn sharply into focus the relevance of marriage in the modern era. There are various factors which deter couples from marriage and matrimony, from financial concerns to the more fundamental issue of social trends and they way that marriage is perceived by the younger generation. 

Times of Financial Hardship 

Though many financial experts suggest that the number of couples who seek divorce actually falls during times of economic depression, this is partly due to the fact that fewer couples decide to wed through the same circumstances. As costly and as complicated as a divorce can be, the average wedding cost for a US service and reception is $20,000, and many couples simply cannot afford this or are loathe to spend such huge sums on a single day in their lives. 

In terms of finance influencing whether couples intend to marry or not, it needs to be remembered that times of economic hardship also affects the cost of living, fuel prices and the value of housing and properties. Should a couple be fortunate enough to possess $20,000 or more within their personal bank accounts, then they are far more likely to invest this capital in a property or a savings bond than a wedding day and celebration. 

Given this, the continued global recession is certainly forcing the traditional concept of marriage into irrelevance. Of course, a couple have an option of arranging a smaller and more affordable wedding to celebrate their union, but the couples that do wish to wed are unlikely to compromise on their dream day and expectations to facilitate a more cost-effective outcome. They are much more likely to defer the proposed date of the day until the economy has stabilized and money is far less of a concern. 

Marriage in its Social Context 

Economies will always falter, and marriage and divorce rates will often fall in line with this trend. A more worrying issue that affects the declining number of wedding services held in the US each year is the place of matrimony within modern society. It is no longer the accepted norm in civilization for a couple to undertake courtship and then marriage, and the gradual changes in the way relationships are conducted and the ensuing perception of marriage has left its entire existence in jeopardy. 

It has to be remembered at this point that children are influenced primarily by the behaviour and conduct of their parents, who are in turn governed by their own set of principles and circumstances. As an increasing number of infants born through the 1990’s and the turn of the century emerged into broken relationships or unmarried unions, this practice has slowly but surely become the acceptable and most presented face of modern relationships. As these children have grown and become young adults, they have taken the examples set to them through their formative years and used these to develop a passive and skeptical perception of marriage. 

Even for those who are not completely against the idea of marriage as an entity, the modern ethos presents and entirely different problem. Couples are, in the absence of engagement or definite long term direction, living together for a number of years before even considering marriage. Though many say this is sensible practice prior to wedlock, it can prove to be the death knell for more incompatible unions, as couples are led to the realization that they cannot cohabit the same space in peace and harmony. This then leads to separation, and the concept of marriage and finding a life partner drifts further into insignificance. 

Can Marriage Recapture its Sense of Majesty? 

Marriage, at its best, is the durable meld of two soul mates who are equipped to spend the entire remainder of their lives together. In its worst cases of separation and divorce, however, it breeds contempt, bitterness and undeserved levels of cynicism. The last 20 years have unfortunately exposed a young and impressionable generation to increasing levels of marital discord and breakage, leaving them to grow into functioning adults with a grim and unfavourable perception of the entire entity. This, coupled with the unfortunate and persistent decline of the global economy, has forced the notion of marriage to lose much of its relevance and lustre over the last 4 years. 

The issues that face society are whether it can reinstall the majesty and significance of marriage in the modern social circumstance, and if so then how it can achieve this aspiration? The decline of interest in marriage may be specific to the current generation of young adults, but it must be remembered that it has not reduced the numbers of children that are being born into unmarried relationships. Therefore, the US is faced with a secondary generation of children being born with ever less respect for marriage, and in some cases even the potential of it as a viable or necessary option. Governments insist that marriage remains a core fabric in the weave of civilized society, and they are keen to reinforce its relevance. However, unless they act soon, there is a serious danger that marriage will not only become even less popular amongst couples, but also become an ever more redundant notion.

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Navaid I. Syed is the owner and CEO of www.ExcitingAds.com / ExcitingAds! Inc. He is a medical doctor and was born in Mirpurkhas, Sind, Pakistan, on July 31, 1964. He graduated from Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Jamshoro, Sind, Pakistan, in 1990. He is Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, Philadelphia, PA, USA, certified.

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