Once upon a time marriage was the step that meant that you were an adult. Before you had to worry about getting a full time job or even having a house, you were thinking about getting married. People got married in their twenties since waiting even until the age of twenty five would make people eye you as if you were going to be a spinster. Giving yourself to someone else was the definitive sign that you were an adult and in control of your life.
Marriage was something that you would do first and then figure out your adult life afterward, but now marriage is something that people do generally once they’ve got their ducks in a row. They focus on their careers, they make sure that they’re financially stable and that they’ve got their life planned out. Marriage is a detail rather than the foundation of adult life in the modern world.
The reason for this? There are probably plenty. The economy isn’t good which means that people are going to want to make sure that they’re financially solvent before they even consider marriage. There’s also the fact that kids aren’t really that much of a factor. Fewer people in the Western world are having kids and when you add onto that the divorce rate which we’ve all become strangely used to, it makes sense to wait until we’re sure before we get married.
After all, who wants to go through the commitment of all those years, the cost of living with someone (not even including the wedding ceremony) only to have it fall apart in the end. There is more than one path to happiness than a monogamous marriage. Marriages that are open and where the spouses are allowed to indulge in extramarital affairs are becoming more common. Marriages between those of the same gender or people who consider themselves to be gender queer are also quickly becoming the norm and when so much change is happening naturally, it’s very hard to argue on the sanctity of marriage.
While most institutions are constantly reinventing themselves, marriage has been placed on such a pedestal that many of the main themes within marriages are remaining the same when they need to evolve so they can match the needs of a modern, fast-paced society.
This is a society, after all, that still clings to the idea of romance and yet is ignoring the beauty of that chapel ceremony because the promise that you need to make is beginning to suit the world less. We’re not saying that there aren’t people who get married still who will have marriages that never fall apart, but with stress at an all time high marriage is something which needs to be stepped into more carefully than ever.
If you’re someone who is already in a marriage and starting to wonder if it was the right choice for them, you can only look forward. Marriage was supposed to be about sacrifice of self in order to create a single unit within the couple, but as time passes people are beginning to question the idea of that more often. Why should they have to sacrifice themselves for the sake of a marital unit? While the idea of being selfless is a wonderful thing, it can have damaging consequences to people who are forced to be selfless all the time or to give up an area of their lives which is essential such as emotional or sexual intimacy.
One day, marriage is going to evolve past the narrow parameters that it has trapped itself within and when that happens, there will be no such thing as cheating. There will just be relationships with your spouse and relationships without. While some will stick to the strict monogamous version of marriage we’re willing to put money on the fact that the majority of the people who are wedded by this new version of marriage are going to indulge elsewhere.