Over recent decades, Americans have become more cynical about marriage. It all began in the 1960s with the sexual revolution. Suddenly, people could apply for “no-fault” divorces, and this led to a cascade of failed marriages. The divorce rate shot up to unprecedented levels and even now it’s still hovering around 50 percent. On top of that, around a quarter of men and a fifth of women admit cheating in their current marriages.
The statistics are shocking. And they reveal just how hard it is to make a marriage work. The 50 percent of people who do eventually get divorced may only be the tip of the iceberg. We have very little information about the other 50 percent. But we can be sure that if a full fifty percent are prepared to go through all the costs of separation, many more would like to. If that sounds like you, you can contact Barbara May for your divorce situation.
But is what’s happening to the American family an unmitigated disaster? One piece of good news is the fact that people who are unmarried appear to be a lot happier than they were in the past. According to research from 2010, 61 percent of unmarried adults wanted to get married. But that figure fell to just 53 percent over the course of a couple of years.
Big research institutes like Pew are suggesting that marriage might also be a bit of a waste of money. They assert that hard economic times have led to fewer people spending money on costly wedding ceremonies. The average wedding in 2015 cost around $25,000. But with financial security such an issue right now, this could well be the biggest obstacle to marriage in the future.
It’s an interesting idea. Marriage isn’t declining because of some philosophical or social reason. It’s in decline because people simply can’t afford the wedding ceremony. It’s not that people just want to stay single for the rest of their lives because they’ve got lots of new, shiny entertainment. It’s just that cohabiting and other relationship setups make a lot more sense.
Right now the price of the average American wedding is on the rise. New Jersey is one of the wealthier states in the union. Here families spend more than $51,000 on their wedding ceremonies on average.
But that might not be the only reason why marriage is in decline. Other, more sinister reasons need to be considered. The first of these is that getting married just isn’t seen as a valuable institution anymore. With the rise of the welfare state, there just isn’t the economic incentive to get married like there once was.
Then there’s the fact that a lot of people don’t think that marriage is about children anymore. Pew asked Americans whether they thought society would be better off if kids were made a priority. Half said that they thought it wouldn’t make much of a difference. Thus, it seems as if the cynics may have won the day when it comes to marriage. The question is, are they right?