Marriage may not be so obsolete after all

Married Couple

A recent survey said that 40 percent of Americans think marriage is obsolete, but there's more to the story. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

A recent survey said that the social institution of marriage was becoming obsolete, according to some people. The traditional view of marriage has certainly been challenged and in some cases it is for good reason. However, the institution of marriage might not be as obsolete as some might think.

Signs of hope for institution

The study in question, conducted by the Pew Research Center and TIME Magazine, said that up 40 percent of Americans think marriage is becoming obsolete . However, the people who provided that answer didn’t define how they meant it — for instance, it’s unclear whether they meant they thought it was obsolete, or thought it was becoming that way due to societal trends. There are some glimmers of hope for marriage in the study.Of the already married subjects of the survey, more than 80 percent reported their marriage was as good, if not better, than their parents’ marriage. Of married adults, 93 percent said love was the most important part of getting married, and 84 percent of unmarried people agreed.

Divorce rates falling

One of the largest changes in the American landscape over the past century is that women have entered the workforce in record numbers. Of American wives, 61 percent are working in some capacity, and having fewer children. Despite the notion that divorce is spiraling out of control and threatening the very moral fabric of America, divorce rates are actually declining. However, the Pew Center/TIME poll indicated that 52 percent of adults are currently married, though that says nothing about how many will marry later on. Interestingly enough, nearly two-thirds of married couples were college educated, but fewer than half of people with a high school diploma or less were.

It is not that marriage is not valued

If there is one thing that is clear from the survey, it is not that fewer people value marriage. Quite the contrary; it seems that people value being in a good marriage more than just being married. If anything, that means that people have more respect for the institution than disdain.


TIME Magazine

Pew Research Center

Other recent posts by bryanh