Marriage and cohabitation play a central role in how family life is carried out. The way in which society views marriage and cohabitation is changing as individualism becomes an increasingly mainstream ideal. Marriage rates have decreased significantly on average over the past 60 years, but different groups show different rates of change. While certain sects each have their views, the general trends are showing decreasing marriage rates in lower income individuals, and increasing marriage rates in higher income educated individuals. These rates are directly connected to racial-ethnic groups, leading to larger gaps in socioeconomic status.
Cohabitation, over the last two decades has gone from being a relatively uncommon social phenomenon to a commonplace one and has achieved this prominence quite quickly. A few sets of numbers convey both the change and its rapidity. The percentage of marriages preceded by cohabitation rose from about 10% for those marrying between 1965 and 1974 to over 50% for those marrying between 1990 and 1994 (Bumpass and Lu 1999, Bumpass & Sweet 1989); the percentage is even higher for remarriages. Secondly, the percentage of women in their late 30s who report having cohabited at least once rose from 30% in 1987 to 48% in 1995. Given a mere eight year tome window, this is a striking increase. Finally, the proportion of all first unions (including both marriages and cohabitation) that begin as cohabitations rose from 46% for unions formed between 1980 and 1984 to almost 60% for those formed between 1990 and 1994 (Bumpass and Lu 1999).
In her essay “I Wish They’d Do It Right”, Jane Doe highlights her ideology that marriage is honorable and legitimate, yet cohabitation is unacceptable and “socially awkward” (222). Doe illustrates her disagreement with her son’s decision of living in cohabitation, and tries to persuade him into marriage based on what the whole family will say or on society’s judgment. Doe argues that a marriage will create economical benefits between her son and his “girlfriend”, and provide a sense of stability for her soon-to-be grandson. However, it is noticeable that Doe’s views on marriage are based on her family and societies negative judgment on cohabitation, and the social acceptance of a traditional marriage. Based on my parents’ divorce, I disagree with Doe’s argument that marriage is always beneficial, real, and can guarantee a “happily ever after” (223); however, cohabitation can be as sincere, genuine, and exclusive as a marriage. I believe marriage should be based on the couple’s feelings and their readiness on taking the next step, instead of it being based on family and society’s opinion.
Cohabitation is “to live together as if married, usually without legal or religious sanction; to live together in an intimate relationship” (Dictionary.com). In the past thirty years, there have been several changes in trends of American families. Cohabitation of males and females has been happening earlier and more frequently resulting in it being viewed as normal (Waite 19). The median age of first marriage has risen approximately by six years (Morris). Between late 1940s and early 1960s the amount of women who have cohabitated by age twenty-five increased by thirty percent. The increase in cohabitation correlates with a decline in marriage (Waite 20). You might say that couples who were already living together no longer felt the need to get married because they were already living together. **Cohabitation can lead to intimacy, so if a couple is living together before marriage they are likely to be intimate before marriage. At one point in time, cohabitation and intimacy would have been unacceptable before marriage but now they are seen as the norm. In A Brave New World, they mock that at a time, children having sex would have been frowned upon. “…erotic play between children had been regarded as abnormal (there was a roar of laughter); and not only abnormal, actually immoral (no!): and had therefore been rigorously suppressed” (Huxley 34). People are thankfully arrested today for crazy
Natalie Angier, author of “The Changing American Family” offers different perspectives of why are Americans delaying marriage. One reason might be that “a growing number of Americans are simply intimidated by the whole idea of marriage” (Angier). On the other hand, Americans have chosen to organize their priorities by first getting their college degrees, finding a job, and being financially stable before thinking of marriage and children. This new generation is choosing to try things out before committing to them. That is why they are opting for cohabitation instead of marriage, Furthermore, most cohabitating couples are discouraged by the economic and emotional standards that a “successful” marriage
Throughout the years, societies view on marriage and cohabitation has been changing, especially from the 1950s up until now. Marriage and cohabitation are in relation to social location, education, immigration and social class. In addition, these changes are influenced through socialization and their surrounding environments as people’s beliefs and expectations vary from what a defined family really is. Same-sex couples are now getting married and the divorce rate is on the rise, including non-married couples raising children. Most importantly, each individual determines who they marry or whom they share their love with through conditioning or in the course of shared similarities. People have dissimilar values, beliefs and attitudes and throughout the life course may change again, including the future generations. This paper reviews why marriage is on the decline and cohabitation is now the accepted social norm, including other aspects such as specific rights that couples have over others in the past. Religion is a powerful tool that alters minds of those who are affiliated with it. As a result, their beliefs are conditioned and marriage is valued differently than those who are not married. All in all this paper will further explain the change, continuity and
This correlates with data found in Steuber and Paik (2014) article regarding cohabitation. The researchers found that majority of cohabitating relationships are formed in early adulthood (Steuber & Paik 2014). The responses from the five couples also show that cohabitating can be a short-lived union (ibid). Couple D moved the quickest and married within a year of cohabitating together (Personal experience D 2014). Couple E separated after three years of cohabitation (Personal E 2014). These two experiences show that cohabitation can be short-lived relationships that end within three years (Steuber & Paik 2014).Of the duration of my research, Couple A, B, and C remain in cohabitating relationships, it will be interesting to see how these three cohabitating relationships will end. Couple A, B, C, D and E list some type of financial constraint as a reason for cohabitating. Couple A are in entry level position jobs and living in Toronto (Personal experience A 2014). This couple expressed that it is cheaper to share expenses especially rent (ibid). Couple B decided to cohabitate together because it is financially more stable to share expenses (Personal experience B 2014). The female in this relationship is finishing her postgraduate education and the male works full time (ibid). Couple D also had financial constraints because of the expensive rent in Toronto, and the male is still completing his education (Personal experience D 2014). Couple E had financial constraints because they were employed in low income jobs (Personal experience E 2014). They both only have high school education (ibid). The personal experiences experienced by these four couples show the financial insecurity of this age group. This correlates well with data found in the Statistics Canada (2012) financial security survey, the median net worth of individuals under the age of 35
Marriage was once for the sole purpose of procreation and financially intensives. Living up to the roles that society had placed on married couples, more so women, is no longer the goal in marriage. Being emotional satisfied, having a fulfilled sex life and earning money is more important in marriage (Cherlin, 2013). Couples no longer feel the obligation to put the needs of their partner in front of their own needs. In the 1960’s and later it was the woman’s job to ensure that the house was clean, the children were bathed and dinner was prepared before the husband came home work. However, once more and more women began to enter the workplace and gain more independence, a desire for self-development and shared roles in the household lead way the individualistic marriage that is present in today’s society (Cherlin,
In The Marriage Crisis: How Marriage Has Changed in the Last 50 Years and Why It Continues to Decline, an article published in Virginia Magazine, Aja Gabel discusses why has marriage declined and the future of marriage. Gabel’s point of view is that people need to find their own happiness. First, her large number of data to get a result, that is, the United States, the divorce rate is rising year by year. Second, the author points out that the reason is
When we are born, we already have a predetermined path. Some people would argue that God has a reason for putting you on this earth, and others would say you’re a product of your upbringing and environment, others say it’s all in the genes. Some parents have their child’s path planned out straight through college. But is that where life ends? Once you’re done with college is your journey over? We are human, animals to put it simply. Since the dawn of time we have been looking for companionship, for another “soul” that is intertwined with our own. Sharing a special bond with someone is supposed to be a revelation, but throughout the centuries marriage has become so diluted that it has lost its meaning. I would like to discuss in this paper why marriage is just something that has become another step in life and people leap in and don’t even think twice about it. How marriage at one point in time was arranged for money, social standing, and power, and love came after. We as American’s believe in the freedom of speech, and I believe we took it to the next level and started marrying out of love. Then it became the social norm, and I believe we started to marry just to marry because it is the next thing to do in life without even thinking about the consequences. This paper will delve a bit into the history of marriage and why it means so much to people to get married. I will discuss divorce and how that has affected the “modern family”, as well as how I feel divorce has become the social norm.
Why cohabitation? One of the most popular reasons is cited as being that “couples can be sure they are compatible before marriage (Huang, et al, 2011).” Seemingly, many couples that cohabitate before marriage fear incompatibility with their current beaus and/or future spouses. Using cohabitation as a “trial period” before marriage can take away the fear of living together from both partners. It can assure both parties that they are companionable in living space, or affirm that they are not. Smock, Casper, and Wyse (2008) also point out several influences for cohabitation: there are cultural and economic influences. Young people see cohabitation as a part of life. “Two-thirds of both male and female 18-29 year olds who have never been married or cohabited explicitly disagree with the statement that ‘a young couple should not live together unless they...
The working definition of cohabitation is an arrangement where two or more people who are not married live together in an emotionally and or sexually intimate relationship on a long term or permanent basis. However, most cohabiting couples tend to have children. Cohabitation is seen as a less stable environment to raise children, when compared to those couples who marry. Cohabiting couples are less likely to share financial responsibilities. Equally because cohabitation does not provide the security of marriage, cohabitating couple tend have short term relationships. In “Reflections on “Family Structure and Child Well-Being...”” compares cohabiting parents with single parents. The article argues that while cohabitation is not better than marriage, “findings showed that cohabiting parents were closer to single parent families than married parent families in terms of economic disadvantage” (Thomson, McLanahan, 2012, 45). Thomson and McLanahan (2012) argue that children who grow with both biological parents who are cohabiting have more similarities with children who grow up...
50% of the people represented in the survey answered “doesn’t make much difference,” demonstrating that a fair amount of the population does not take a stand on the topic. Also, only 10% of the respondents said that cohabitation was a “good thing for society.” This is interesting information, considering that an estimated 70% of U.S. couples decide to live together before getting married (Adams pp.5). It shows that people know cohabitation is not necessarily beneficial to their relationship, but they still choose to do it. They may assume that their relationship longevity will not be affected by their decision and they will not be a part of the statistics that indicate otherwise. However, oftentimes this is a mistake that has the potential to leave them emotionally and financially
Getting married is the most important event in our life. From time to time, they always say, “Single life is a sweet dream and marriage is an alarm clock.” This proverb could make young people afraid when deciding whether or not they marry. However, there are differences that indicate pros and cons of both single life and married life. In general, single life can bring us freedom to experience life all by ourselves; at the same time, it also brings loneliness and detachment. In contrast, married life can fulfill us with love, care, and a sense of belonging; however, it also requires us a great deal of shared responsibilities. Understanding the differences between single life and married life especially on finance, emotion, and responsibility
The debate on whether to get married or stay single has been raging for a long while, with both sides of the coin having their own pros and cons regarding the matter. Many proponents of either marriage or single life have strong individual convictions, and it is difficult to reach a definitive objective conclusion. Is the married individual happier than his/her single counterpart, or is getting married just a comfort seeking ritual that people believe they have to fulfill at some point in their lives? It is necessary to dissect this issue in the light of four factors: health and other medical factors, the economic and finance front, mental and emotional wellbeing and lastly, the social factor.