dynamics of marriage
Marriage may not be a necessity in today’s modern day American society but it is still most desired upon.
Marriage is no longer an institution where the men are the breadwinners and women are the housewives. American family has changed , the dynamics of marriage has changed , it’s shifted from mutually dependent partners to self sufficient, self reliant partners. The increasing rate of divorces showcases that people (partners)are moving forward and not sticking on to the death do us apart concept as in the olden days ,this can only co exists in a society which does not discriminate or judge a marriage if it fails. At the same time , people with failed marriages are not holding behind, nor staying single , a majority of them again remarry which proves that though their approach towards the institution of marriage has changed they still value it and its desired upon. Though a small percentage of people do believe in spending their lifetime being single around 85% of people marry in their lifetimes and 99% say they plan on doing so even though 40-50% of marriages end in divorce. Despite the divorce statistics marriage is still the most desired upon event of people’s life because people still feel that marriage adds value to their life though they have changed the dynamics of marriage and their perception of a life partner .
The most recent statistics depicts that the marriage rate in USA is declining and continues to decline. But divorce is less likely than what it was 30 years ago. Although the following figures show that the marriage rate is declining it is majorly because of repercussions of the new concepts that have been introduced into the modern day society and marriages had hit an all time low during the time of recession. According to the National Marriage Project 2012, “The total number of marriages fell from 69.3 % in 1960 to 52.1 % among the male and the total number of marriages fell from 65.9 % in 1960 to 49.5%among the women in 2011.For the average couple marrying for the first time in recent years, the lifetime probability of divorce or separation now falls between 40 and 50 percent.”
The decrease can also be attributed to the introduction of the concept of unmarried cohabitation in the recent times. As couples feel that live in relationships serve as “trial marriage” experience before getting into an actual one . Also the statistics given by national marriage project in 2012 depicts that percentage of men and women divorced was 1.8 and 2.6 in 1960 has quadrupled today, women who get divorced tend to not get remarried most of the times as opposed to divorced men who tend to remarry most of the times as a result the divorce rate of women tends to be higher when compared to the men. This change in the behavioural pattern among the divorced women too to an extent has been responsible for the current declining rate. Successful Marriages are directly dependent on the culture and educational exposure of the couples committed to the institution.
According to the institute of family studies , “there is a wide disparity among the divorce rates with respect to the people belonging to the highly educated class and the least educated class”.
The divorce rates might be around 40 to 50 % but over the last two decades the rates are slowing dropping . People with college degree and a good formal education background are still going strong with their marriage . The rate of divorce from the first marriage among such educative class is far less than 50 % . Also people who wait to marry until their mid twenties , haven’t lived with many different partners or the ones who are strongly religious and have partners of the same faith are statistically more likely to have successful marriages than end up in a failed marriage. Statistics from the national marriage project report also shows that the average age for males and females to get married in 2011 is 28.7 and 26.5 years respectively. The present rate of divorce is prevalent majorly among the lower educative class, for people with less education there is less marriage, more children born out of marriages and more stress.
The modernisation of the society to an extent is responsible for the failed marriages.
According to a survey conducted by researchers in the Denver university in 2009, “Divorces have also grown in number due to the introduction of unmarried cohabitation in the society”.
A study in 2001 concluded that couples who have lived prior together before marriage are more prone to divorce in fact they experience a 50% higher divorce rate after marriage than the couples who have not lived in. In 2011, the national marriage project reported that two-thirds of the children with cohabiting parents would see them break up before 12 and one fourth of the children of marriedo couples would experience divorce by age 12. So in a way we can conclude that the divorce rates have also increased because of the existence of unmarried cohabitation concept. With the advent of Internet not only as it taken the technological world by storm but it has become the most preferred medium for meeting new people and dating and statistics displays that marriages which have been initiated through online venues have been more successful than those initiated in the offline venues.
According to the study conducted by the Harris interactive “The percentage of marital break-ups was lower for respondents who met their spouse on-line 5.96% than off-line 7.67%.” The study or analysis concludes that even today most of the people meet offline and among those who have met in different offline venues the ones with the most successful marriages are the ones who have met in religious places, social gatherings, schools or growing up together. However in the recent times from 2005 to 2011 one in three marriages have been initiated through online venues especially social networking sites and dating sites. People often feel authentic online self disclosures are associated with more enduring face to face friendships. People also have associated better marital satisfaction in marriages which have been initiated online than offline.
People have not only changed their approach or attitude towards marriage let that be meeting through online venues or let that be taking their own time to get married and not rush into the institution but their outlook and attitude towards their partners too has drastically changed. Today in an age where equality among men and women is often spoken about and believed , women are expected to be self reliant and work their way through ,earning and supporting the family thereby sharing the onus of the man.
Terry Martin Hekker states that “I’ve been told that I am an anachronism . I have been made to feel so outmoded”
Terry Martin Hekker explains that she being a house wife made her always feel like an endangered species in today’s world which believes in “do your own thing”. She didn’t understand that no work is worth doing until you get paid for it . She truly believed that raising her kids and looking after her husband was her primary duty and that she never really wanted to do anything more . For this reason she was called an anachronism and was always made to feel outmoded.
Hekker goes on to state that “So I was predictably stunned and devastated when, on our 40th wedding anniversary, my husband presented me with a divorce”
Terry Martin Hekker was taken by shock when she was served with a divorce on her 40thwedding anniversary . Her views on marriage had now gone in for a toss. Terry Martin hekker considered herself as one of the few people who have been left behind with the society’s change of pace . She eventually realised that for a divorced mother the work she gets paid for is the only work that keeps her afloat. She also realised that while in traditional marriages the partnership was based on mutual dependency , the modern day marriages demands greater self sufficiency. Hekker strongly feels that “If I had it to do over again, I’d still marry the man I married and have my children: they are my treasure and a powerful support system for me and for one another.”
Terry Martin Hekker though after facing a lot of adversities post divorce she regrets that she didn’t change herself to the modern day working wife , however if given a chance she would still go back to the same man and children , thus she showcases her faith in the institution has not been jilted even after facing tough times.
The wedding of the 20th century, in 1981, Princes Charles and lady Diana’s marriage turned out to be a huge bust. It ended as badly as a relationship can: scandal, divorce and, ultimately, death and worldwide weeping. When Britain’s Prince William married Catherine Middleton though not a Royal blood, his choice depicted marrying a girl who was 6 months older to him, went to the same college as he did and someone he had dated for a long period of time. She is the first English queen with a university degree, so in fundamental way their union is based on equality. This new age couple depict that though people’s choice of their partners has radically changed but they still value marriage as the most significant event and their decision of whom to marry a life changing one. Prince Williams choice though unconventional but his careful selection of his life partner displays his sheer commitment to the institution. Together the couple represent the change in the dynamics of marriage in the past few decades.
Though the dynamics of marriage have changed, yet marriage is still very important to the individuals involved in it as well as to the society, as it is held and still believed that children are best protected by loving parents who are bonded by wedlock as they seem to take on the responsibility of their offspring in a better way and this assures a brighter future for them and at the same time also saves a lot of the tax payers money from the society’s point of view.
According the Department of Social and Health Services, “23,000 babies were born to single moms in the state of Washington in 2001,the Medicaid program that funded by the taxpayers themselves paid for seventy five percent of the births . At a cost of $7000 per birth and 17,250 total births a total of $121 million were spent only in the birthing segment by the state”. As the births of so many children were paid by Medicaid , both the mothers and their children were eligible for continuing their health care coverage with Medicaid including several other welfare programs sponsoring such mothers , all of this required several tens of millions more. The consequent year thousands of more births were paid by the tax payers money even as the subsequent years mothers and their children were still on the general assistance roll. The more we separate childbearing from the bond of marriage, the more taxing it becomes on the economy and more expensive on the tax payers pocket.
Marriages provide companionship, emotional support ,mutual help and comfort to the partners by being together. Most married couples experience completeness in the presence of their spouses in their life. Marriage provides fundamentally a strong environment supported by values and customs to the kids to grow, learn and develop into better human beings with brighter futures when compared to the kids who come from broken homes . Every marriage has its difficult moments or difficult dynamics but that does not make the institution unwanted or anachronistic. It’s shown that 65% of the people who live in unmarried cohabitation get married eventually to the same partners which means that even live in relationships culminate mostly into marriages thus sanctifying their relationship, this showcases that even among the people with unconventional views about life have firm belief in the institution. Financially too the onus of the household is shared by both the partners as a result in marriages, couples they tend to accumulate more wealth by combining their households and this results in reducing their living expenses too. Marriages make it easier to inherit wealth from one and other . Most of states do give a preferential treatment to the surviving spouses at the time of probating an estate. A no. of tax benefits are enjoyed by the married couples from the IRS including the gift tax free transfers and estate tax free transfers . Also a person cannot pay into an IRA when he/ she is single but when married they become eligible and in this way they can save thousands of dollars from their earnings towards their retirement and also receive substantial tax benefits simultaneously. Marriage therefore is not just a ritual or a custom followed since our ancestors but it’s the logical next step to take in life to experience love, family, support, stability and most importantly it provides direction to our life .