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Marriage losing its edge, in America . . .

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Ivan Kipling, Oct 16, 2006.

  1. Ivan Kipling

    Ivan Kipling Distinguished Member

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    More than half of American households, are now 'unmarried.' Is this a passing phase, or a portent of fundamental change, in America?
     


  2. Reggs

    Reggs Distinguished Member

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  3. Rome

    Rome Mr. Chocolates Godiva

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    Marriage, conceptually is placed on too high a pedestal.
     


  4. Pink22m

    Pink22m Senior Member

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    Actually, the method used to measure the divorce rate, makes it quite misleading.
     


  5. Rome

    Rome Mr. Chocolates Godiva

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    How is it misleadng, is it not 1/2?
     


  6. Ivan Kipling

    Ivan Kipling Distinguished Member

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    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20061015...styleussociety

    This is the article that I had read. I agree with its premise, vis a vis fewer children, less siblings, fewer cousins, fewer relationships within the family. A 'society' of individuals, rather than persons 'shaped,' by their families. btw: the woman on the front page of the Chicago Sun Times, is my cousin. We grew up together, went to school together; I was with her the night before her wedding, helping to make sure that every detail, was perfect. The rest . . . is history.
    [​IMG]
     


  7. Mentos

    Mentos Senior Member

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    A good treatment of the issue:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/15/us...dec&ei=5087%0A

    I think that most evidence suggests that relationships are becoming less institutional and more individualized. I don't see marriage making a comeback, especially given the steadily decreasing role of religion in American life. We'll almost certainly follow in the footsteps of the graying Western European nations--fewer marriages (but no fewer relationships), fewer children, less religion, longer lives.
     


  8. Thomas

    Thomas Stylish Dinosaur

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    I think it's the next sad step in our self-centered culture. It's hard to get married when you're 27 and still living at home to pay off your debts from all the things you wanted and had to have Right Now.

    I also think some people have their self-image dialed up way too high, and forgotten their own warts and failures, and want an escape hatch from anyone who might be "regular". BTW, I hope these two demographics are not as prevalent as I'm suspecting or seeing today.

    That said, I do know people who have lived together in a committed relationship who were not married (for one reason or another) and completely self-sufficient.
     


  9. Mentos

    Mentos Senior Member

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    I think it's the next sad step in our self-centered culture. It's hard to get married when you're 27 and still living at home to pay off your debts from all the things you wanted and had to have Right Now. I also think some people have their self-image dialed up way too high, and forgotten their own warts and failures, and want an escape hatch from anyone who might be "regular". BTW, I hope these two demographics are not as prevalent as I'm suspecting or seeing today. That said, I do know people who have lived together in a committed relationship who were not married (for one reason or another) and completely self-sufficient.
    (1) I don't think that the decline of marriage suggests any more of a self-centered culture than we've ever had. Certainly people can be self-centered and married. I think that the decline has more to do with how people view the institution than with how they view their interpersonal relationships. As religion and the Life Magazine view of American society have waned, so too has the one-size-fits-all solution of marriage. But I think that strength of interpersonal relationships actually may be more important to my generation than to the baby boomers and previous generations (as anecdotal evidence, there is an NYT article today about men and women these days spending more time with their children). As an aside, one reason is consumer electronics, as they have greatly lowered communications costs. (2) In most cases, if you're 27 and in consumer debt (or 29 and in student loan debt [​IMG] ), you are better served by getting married. Married people get tax breaks and it's cheaper to live as a couple (though not as cheap as living at home). Choosing not to marry when you have a partner picked out rarely makes financial sense. (3) Note from the NYT article that most people over 35 are married. This has not changed. A lot of people are just waiting. (4) As for the self-image thing, I think that there is much, much more choice than there used to be. We no longer are confined to our hometowns--many people go off to school or to work in a new city, and we have connections through the internet, etc. In a fluid culture, there is more selection and a better chance of finding a good spouse if you wait. This observation has more to do with professional culture than with blue collar communities, but it's an increasing aspect of the job. Also, women work now, which means that both parties in a hetero relationship have to clear their schedules to set up a date, much less build a household. This takes time. Nothing more frustrating than setting up dinner for two weeks from now. [​IMG]
     


  10. Ivan Kipling

    Ivan Kipling Distinguished Member

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    I could never have stood marriage for five minutes; my sister could have married very 'well,' but chose not to. However, my parents stayed together, such as their relationship was. They were something of a team; my sister and I knew it. This commitment to 47 years of relative misery, in order to see that children were at least raised, and nurtured, is extremely rare these days. Not saying that's wrong . . . but broken homes, blended families, in vitro-fertilization, will create different examples of human beings:

    individuals, running loose in the world en masse, minus a family and siblings to provide stability and nurturing, do not a society make.
     


  11. visionology

    visionology Distinguished Member

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    I think not getting married sure beats the 90s phase of getting married and divorced as many times as possible. It was getting a bit out of hand.

    Myself, I am 28 and putting it off as long as I can, I honestly see no reason to get married and I don't want to be doing it just for the tax breaks. Way too often in marriage I see the couples enter a comfort zone where they get lazy with each other, I think not being married keeps both parties on their toes. For the record I have no debt and a nice retirement account.
     


  12. Mentos

    Mentos Senior Member

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    individuals, running loose in the world en masse, minus a family and siblings to provide stability and nurturing, do not a society make.



    Humans are biologically programmed to be social. Just because you don't come from or choose to create a nuclear family most certainly does not mean that you're "running loose." Our social fabric is far more complex than that. While modernist alienation is certainly real, just because you live alone doesn't mean you're going to morph into Jeffrey Dahmer--friends, coworkers, family, and community still provide context to keep you in line.
     


  13. Ivan Kipling

    Ivan Kipling Distinguished Member

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    I'm not talking about living 'alone.' I'd clearly live alone, rather than be married. I'm talking about not being 'raised,' by parents who know half way what they're trying to do, vis a vis their marriage contract. That, I think, is disappearing from American society. And I don't think that's good.
     


  14. Mentos

    Mentos Senior Member

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    I'm not talking about living 'alone.' I'd clearly live alone, rather than be married. I'm talking about not being 'raised,' by parents who know half way what they're trying to do, vis a vis their marriage contract. That, I think, is disappearing from American society. And I don't think that's good.

    Gotcha. I see where you would think that. I don't think parenting is any worse now than it ever has been, but that's not saying much. As always, a lot of people with kids have no business being in a room with a child, much less raising one. But I don't think that there's any relation to raising a child well and being in a marriage. Certainly a child needs a stable environment, but there's absolutely no reason why stability needs to come from a marriage, and no guarantee that a marriage will provide it.
     


  15. Ivan Kipling

    Ivan Kipling Distinguished Member

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    The trouble is, though . . . that American society as a whole, will suffer. Not just one person, at a time. Those who are supposed to do the 'interacting,' and provide example, will have been affected too, by the current malaise in marriage and or, parenting. That's how I see it, anyway. My parents were far from perfect, but I'd hate to have depended on co-workers, who had their share of screw ups, and troubles, as examples for me to follow.
     


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