According to an article by Jessica Hopper of BBC News she states “For centuries, economic security was the reason to say do. Marriage thrived as a practical way to divide labor, allocate resources, have children and arrange for someone to take care of you when you get old”(Hopper). This statement economically makes sense. Americans today seem to focus more on happiness and the right now rather than focusing on the future and what they need to survive later in life. Stability is an attractive attribute of marriage. There is no way to prove that a marriage built on stability will or ill not have the same longevity as a marriage built on love.
The quantity of people getting married is on a steady decline; this directly relates to the economic trends in today’s society. With the economy in the state it is in many youth are now having to pay for their own weddings. With the deterioration of the American dream wedding there is less marriages. An article written by Erik Chuckhole of the New York Times states “If you are not comforTABLE about your future it makes sense that you would postpone a big decision like this” (Chuckhole). Traditionally the bride’s parents would be expansible for footing the bill.
Most parents are now feeling the economic downturn and can no longer afford to pay for this. The young adults are forced to try and find a way to cover all expenses. Several of my friends are currently in this exact situation and are waiting to tie the knot until they can afford the marriage of their dreams. America’s Economy and income is playing a devastating role in the state of marriage in America. When money is an issue to tying the knot, the other alternative is people marrying for financial gain. According to the Center for Disease Control currently 43. Million Americans do not have any source of healthcare (CDC).
The steady decline in health insurance leads people down the aisle for the wrong reasons. Unemployment is on a steady decline year after year, which leaves millions of American citizens uninsured. For many Americans this is a scary epidemic. Scary enough that many American are getting married to someone who has full coverage so they can be covered as well. Although the fear for these Americans is reasonTABLE, the constitution of marriage takes the loss. Health insurance is not a reason to say “l do”. The definition of marriage and Emily has changed the dynamics of the American dream.
According to Webster s dictionary the definition of marriage is as follows ‘the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law 2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage”(Webster). This traditional definition of marriage has changed with the change in definition of family. The traditional definition has stayed the same for many but we are seeing a change as the decades pass, a ore modern twist to the traditional definition.
By showing the difference in the current American family we can see a valid cause why people are marrying less. Many families’ now operate with a single parent dynamic. According to an article by Jessica Hopper 86 percent of Americans said a single parent and child constitute a family, 80 percent said an unmarried couple living together with a child is a family; and 63 percent said same-sex couples raising a child is a fame'(Hopper). This is not the same as it was decades ago. The definition of family has changed the definition of marriage.
As has been noted another dynamic we are seeing is many unwed couples living together. An article by Justine Hollers of the New York Times states “Census Data shows that the number of unwed couples living together rose sharply last year. With rents high and jobs hard to come by, it’s no surprise that people are doubling up”(Woofers). This is a new trend we are seeing and that is accepted in society. We have already established that weddings are expensive, and weddings lead to marriage so it is no surprise that people are skipping the marriage and reaping the benefits of living together.
Economically this makes sense, but the effect it has on marriage in America is devastating. The level of commitment diminishes when there is no assurance to the other person will stay. It also gives the other person the ability to up and leave whenever they feel like it. If one person was to pass away there are no rights set forth for the other person or their children. Marriage would have this legal obligation already in effect for these couples. Marriage is more that legality and paperwork but the legal aspect of marriage can help in a situation that warrants it. In an article by Cattail Flanagan of
Time magazine states ‘The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported in May that births to unmarried women have reached an astonishing 39. 7 %”( Times). This is again four out of ten women who are not wed having children. This again proves the idea of the American family is changing. With the changes in the American family comes the change in some women’s idea of marriage. With the education of women dominating so much since the sis, women can take care of themselves. Women do not need men to support them like they have in decades past. The American housewife has become a thing of the past for most.
A person is less judged in current times that they were before. More people are accepting of several types of families. Decades ago a person was looked down upon for having a child out of wedlock. Now we are at almost 40% of women having children without being married. Although it is more accepted it is not ideal. This is not to say women cannot be independent and do it on their own, but the missing link of having a father in the picture can be devastating for children. This is not the typical American dream. The American dream was set forth as white picket fence, owning a home, marriage and children.
This is becoming less common. With the changes in what constitutes a family America is getting married less and less. We now have clinics a woman can go to if she wants a child. This is a fully accepTABLE means of starting a family. Marriage has become more and more obsolete. In an article by Cattail Flanagan of the Times she states that we live in a society of “frequent marriage and frequent divorce” and many “short-term co-habiting relationships” “Taken together these forces it creates a turbulence in American family life” (Times). She goes on to explain that nowhere else in any other western country do we see these rends.
These trends are viral and all over our media for the world to see. With the current media coverage of many people in the public eye getting married and divorced so quickly it puts a strain on what people think of marriage. We all remember the 56 hour marriage of Brittany Spears and her high school boyfriend. What message does this give to America? The message this sends is marriage is a joke and not to be taken seriously. We are also seeing trends of celebrities on their fourth, fifth and sixth marriages. What does this say about what marriage means in American culture?
We see liberties like Jennifer Lopez or the late Elizabeth Taylor who changed men like they change vehicles. The main focus in the media of these marriages is what are they wearing? Or look at their beautiful flower arrangements. The focus should be more on what is wrong with these women and why do they keep making the same mistakes. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Seeing this in the media again and again forces Americans to view marriage as a temporary situation not a permanent one. In American culture divorce is much more accepted than it was in decades past.
Many impressionTABLE people want to be like their favorite celebrity, this does not set a good example for the American people. Recently we have seen in the news all we are hearing about is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Schwarzenegger and his wife have been together since the sis. Given his recent campaign in the media and his recent rein as governor of California, not to mention he is a very well-known actor this was very disappointing to see. Apparently ten years ago he had an affair with his housekeeper and had a child. This example of married life in the media sheds a negative light.
To emphasize even further we hear of Mark Sanford the governor Of South Carolina and Bill Clinton our ex-president and their public indiscretions. There is a direct correlation between monogamy and marriage. This is a big blow to Americans seeing the sanctity of marriage dissipate. All American young and old had heard of these indiscretions. The media coverage on both these men left American with a feeling of why bother. Marriage is no longer sacred. If these public officials and celebrities cannot make a marriage work with all the luxuries they have, how are simple Americans to make marriage work?
While watching a show on E! News they described a marriage lasting eight years as a “long run”. This idea that the media and pop culture really thinks eight years is a long run for a lifetime commitment is ridiculous. Marriage is a lifetime commitment and is not supposed to be temporary. The media should be showing everyday couples celebrating their fifty year marriages. Showing Americas successes in marriage would stop the idea that marriage is temporary and not permanent. This silly definition is what America’s youth and population is seeing as an example in the media. This is a troubling epidemic to be teaching to
America’s youth. This gives a horrible example to America’s youth. America’s youth will either not want to get married or just be plain confused on what marriage really means. Nevertheless all over the television there are new shows every week about marriage. The newest movement in the media is a show called Sister Wives. This show is about a family that practices polygamy. Really America? This is what we decide to put on our televisions? This is entertainment? The storyline is of a man who has countless wives and how he balances and procreates with them all. This goes directly against the true definition of marriage.
It is not husband and wives, it is husband and wife. The media projects this society where anything goes when it comes to marriage, what they do not realize is that they are ruining one of life’s most romantic and eternal traditions. Since the family dynamic and what actually constitutes a family is changing it leaves America at a loss. According to a pole done by the US Census in 2009 divorce rates are at about 40 percent (Census). What does this mean for the American family? Four out often families do not have the traditional family dynamic. When children see parents of divorce it changes their view on marriage.
Since divorce is now more common in modern America, the children of these divorces are looking at marriage in a different light. Furthermore a child’s upbringing will dictate how they see their view of marriage and family. If a child is brought up in a house where there was a divorce they will look at marriage through a different lens that a child raised in a household where mom and dad are married and still together. Many children of divorce will take marriage more seriously because they have seen the devastating path it leaves behind. This means they will take their time in choosing a partner and evaluating their life plan.
The other side of that spectrum leaves children of divorce to see what their parents have done and repeat the negative pattern. A child that is brought up in a household of a same sex couple or a single parent will also have a separate outlook on marriage and family dynamic. With so many different American “families” marriage is becoming less common. With the current media coverage of the Royal marriage one can hope that the Americans will see this as a move in the right direction. With the current positive focus on this lifetime commitment the Royal wedding should be seen as this negative cloud being lifted, even if only for a short time.
This should be a break from the stories of Tiger Woods and others like him. The media should be focusing on more positive stories when it comes to marriage. No one is saying to blind Americans from the truth but there should be more of a balance between the negative and the positive. We never see the media coverage of the couple that has been together 50 plus years. Why is that? With the family dynamic changing all around us marriage is on a steady decline. Some of us hopeless romantics hope it does not become completely obsolete, but with all the speculating causes there is no telling what direction it is heading.