There have been numerous articles, books and debates about whether romantic relationships should lead to marriage. Each individual looks at marriage and relationships differently depending on socioeconomic background, religion or instilled importance of marriage from their family. While in some cases especially since the turn of the 21st Century some prefer commitment in a non-traditional way. Willing to forgo marriage and stick to a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship dynamic. Although the mainstream media, societal norms and popular opinion still portrays marriage as the “next big step” in becoming an adult. Some people are challenging this ideology of the ultimate goal of a relationship. Consequently, this has prompted us to ask the question should marriage be a goal?
With the rise, of unmarried couples living together some would suggest that this is one the main attacks of marriage. According to the 2012 U.S Census there are 112 million unmarried people over the age of 18 living with their significant other. Thus, representing nearly 47% of all adult relationships in 2012 and reportedly has risen to over 53%. Most experts point out that most couples live with each other, because they like to and because they want to. They point out that the importance of having the approval from parental figures or society has lessen over time. Citing that most adults especially young adults don’t see the need that they need their parent’s approval on life decisions. Which in the past has played a major factor from stopping young adults from moving in with each other before marriage. For some people the stigma of having sexual relations without a title is an intolerable act. Thus, playing into the rush to have or be in a committed relationship.
Does Marriage Always Have to Be the End Goal?
In today’s society, we often see images of marriage in the media on a daily basis. Which can influence us to believe that marriage is the right of passage for every relationship. Even as a child growing up in America there are social cues that give children the impression that as an adult you should be married. These cues are often subtle and indirect for the average person to recognize or acknowledge. Thus, implementing the social construct that marriage is a natural occurrence for adults over the age of 27-28 for men and 25 and older for women. This impression is often reinforced by religion and spiritual beliefs that permits sex before marriage. There is an overwhelming norm in America that marriage is secondary while falling in love with the “right person” is primary. Rushing into the first phase can often lead to heartbreak, because of societal pressures to be married. Working on your relationship and building a stronger form of commitment should come first before marriage.
In the end, there’s nothing wrong with daydreaming about marriage and looking forward to the big day. The social construct of marriage being a goal is a subjective point-of-view that will differ from person to person. Making our own definition of love and what that means to us is key.
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