Marriage is commonly understood to be the embodiment of a lifetime commitment between a man and a woman. It is a long standing tradition that seems to have more of a religious connotation rather than a social meaning. The social view of “slavery for the woman and prison for the man” seems to have been floating around in society as far back as the 1920’s and has since seen an evolution in beliefs that still adhere to the original basis.
These days, we have already come to know and accept that marriage has lost its relevance in modern culture due to a number of social and relationship changes over the decades that have passed. My paper chooses to discuss this controversial viewpoint and present proof of the irrelevance or marriage even as staunch advocates still believe in the sacrament of marriage.
According to people like Madeline Somerville’s article “Marriage Obsolete”, the reason marriage has become so unpopular these days is because women are no longer financially reliant upon men in order to survive in the modern world. The equal rights movement successfully made women independent power thinkers with the ability to be anything and anyone they want to be. Women can now take care of themselves and their needs even without the help of a man.
These days, men and women carry equal responsibilities in making a relationship work. A man no longer lords it over the woman and neither does the woman lord it over the man. Thanks to the various laws in place all over the country, the rights of children who are born out of wedlock have also come to be protected thus rendering marriage, then the only way to insure a safe future for the child, has now been rendered moot and academic.
Marriage used to have a religious symbolism attached to it. It was a sign that the partnership of a man and woman was meant to last a lifetime in the eyes of God. But because of the high rates of divorce in our land, with statistics that change everyday, marriage has become a farce. After all, why should one marry if changing of partners at any given time via a divorce creed is allowed under the law of the land?
Supporters of marriage will argue that a non marital union should be unacceptable because one of the core reasons for being married is to procreate, thereby allowing man to become, just for an instant, a sort of God him or herself. What these believers fail to see is that pre-marital sex has existed far longer than the debate about the relevance of marriage and PMS has long been producing children who are not affected by the way their parents brought them into this world.
Whether their parents were married or not is not the issue but rather how the couple choose to rear him as a responsible and respectable part of our world. In the end, marriage can only be viewed the way it should be, as a failed part of social ritual that is done even thought we no longer understand why. This lack of understanding is what is causing marriage to fast fade into oblivion.
However, the act of marriage can still be saved. Provided that all religious and social importance be stripped from it making it instead something that a couple choose to do as a part of a non binding ritual meant only for the thrill and experience of a legacy long past its prime. Real love thrives regardless of how a couple choose to stay together and raise a family. We have enough laws enacted to protect the common law partnerships and the offspring of such unions. Let us not forget, marriage is an empty ceremony when the couple are not committed to each other regardless of what vows are spoken as half hearted pledges of love for one another.
“Why Marriage Matters, Second Edition: Twenty Six Conclusions From The Social Sciences”. Center for Marriage and Families At The Institute For American Values. 2005. Web.
Somerville, Madeleine. “Marriage Obsolete”. Gauntlet. 2003. Web.