Throughout the world, the power of marriage is gradually diminishing.
In countries around the world, more and more men and women have completely abandoned marriage, not just postponed marriage. Among women in the late 1930s and early 1940s, the proportion of unmarried people accounted for 29% in Denmark, 18% in Italy, 22% in Lebanon and 32% in Libya.
In the United States, one in six women did not marry before they were forty. In Japan, this ratio is nearly the same, and once was close to the highest rate in the United States.
This is the first time in the history of the United States that the number of single people exceeds the number of married people, that is, most adults currently live outside of marriage, such as single parents, cohabiting with their other half, or single.
In short, in this case, childbirth, childcare and child rearing are yielding to more diversified social structures. In all births in the United States today, two out of every five newborns will be raised by single mothers.
A century ago, those outside of marriage did so because of flight or the premature death of their spouses. Today, the situation is different. The main reason for this phenomenon is divorce, separation, cohabitation or the desire to remain single.
What is behind avoiding marriage?
The Wall Street Journal recently proposed that is it the "self ethics" formed due to the desire for personal freedom, self-realization, self-satisfaction and the aversion to sacrifice and dedication? Or are other forces at work?
There are many factors at work. This includes:
·The economic reality that women no longer marry for economic reasons;
·The new gender standard weakens the old idea that the husband should be the head of the family and the wife should compromise for the husband;
·It is expected that marriage will bring a higher level of expectation in terms of intimacy, emotion, communication and sexual satisfaction;
·Marriage itself deepens the contradiction.
This contradiction has many forms. In some contradictions, it is a concept that marriage is the product of patriarchy, which requires women to make disproportionate sacrifices. Among other contradictions, it is a belief that marriage is outdated because it is too restrictive and can not give space for personal growth. Some people reject marriage because they find dysfunction in many marriages. Recently, a Pew Research Center poll found that half of adults felt that if people give priority to other things besides marriage and having children, it would not cause any harm to society.
The decline of marriage has a profound impact, but it is unpredictable. One of the historic responsibilities of marriage is to raise children and support the elderly. The biggest challenge of our era is to establish a relevant system that can be based on advantages and minimize the vulnerability of today's family diversity.
Marriage is still the highest guarantee of love.
Although the proportion of divorce and unmarried cohabitation is high, the vast majority of American adults will marry and expect their marriage to last. Marriage is still the most powerful witness of vows and love in this society.
Of course, marriage is also a legal state, and it is closely related to more than 1000 rights and security, including tax, medical care, social security, disability and the interests of veterans. Marriage also has a lot of economic benefits, at least when the income exceeds that of the other half.
But marriage is more of an emotional relationship, which is largely judged by the sense of satisfaction and fulfillment it brings. In fact, for most adults, marriage will be their most lasting and intimate relationship.
However, just as there are various expectations in marriage, the marriage relationship has become more uncertain. Compared with couples in 1950, today's couples actually spend little time communicating with their other half or their common friends, which is reflected in the substantial increase in their time devoted to work. Due to the lack of clearly defined standards, couples must negotiate how to allocate family roles and responsibilities, which is a special problem in the second marriage.
Marriage is a relationship that falls into romantic fantasy, but in real life, it is a relationship that couples must undertake the most complex tasks in life, including the right to negotiate, authority and decision-making after many years. No wonder so many marriages will shake.