The Importance Of Marriage In American Culture

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In contemporary society, particularly in contemporary America, divorce rates have spiked to rates as high as 4.1 marital separations per 1000 individuals. This escalation has left many very ambivalent of the future of marriage in the world, a commitment that in many respects has been viewed as a lifelong or even lasting for eternity. Such surges in divorces seem to be more visible in cultures that allow for free-choice mate selection, where individuals are free to choose whom they wish to marry. This is highly contrasting to other cultures such as Japanese culture where arranged marriages are the regular practices of many kin-groups. Often free-choice societies are blamed for their elevated divorce rates because such individuals fail to take…show more content…
As Stephanie Coontz writes, “through most of human history, marriage united not just two mates but two sets of families” (Coontz 25). American culture provides many freedoms that other cultures do not, such as the freedom to choose a partner. Thus, in American culture an importance is placed on the two individuals in many cases, rather than highlighting the socialization of the two families conjoining as a result. This negligence can be very detrimental in many cases. For example, in the Flats, where marriage is often viewed as threatening to the stability of the kin network, families may not be very supportive. Therefore, without the support of the family the marriage can be compromised in many ways. Carol Stack discusses how it is virtually impossible to break out of poverty, but that the family survives by holding very close and supportive kin networks (Domestic Networks). Therefore, each kin relies one another and because men often “present themselves as economic exploiters to women” marriage is inherently undesired and hated (Women and Men). As a result, families can encourage, start rumors, and gossip, all in an attempt to inhibit the success of he marriage (Women and Men). Therefore it is important to remember that marriage establish[es] and maintain[s] relations between groups, rather than…show more content…
Italian couples often have very long engagements that can last as long as fifteen years (Kruase 94). During this time the couple stays together and works to prepare and outfit their home prior to moving in and getting married (Kruase 94). Thus, although much of mate selection is based on love, the couple ensures their relationship and financial stability well before their marriage. This system is potentially more preferable with respect to marriage compared to the typical neolocal style in the United States because love may exist once marriage begins, but after moving in issues may arise that the partner are unable to negotiate, fights may arise, and the marriage can crumble. In contrast, Italian couples often deal with many of these issues prior to marriage and thus if their relationship dissipates there are few hurdles to separate. This can cause divorce rates to depress because if couple live together and have longstanding partnerships prior to marriage less marriages would be likely to fail because either irreconcilable difference would have already presented themselves or differences would have been dealt with prior to marriage. As a result of ensuring a partner’s financial and personal stability prior to marriage divorce rates can be depressed for a few reason. Initially,

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