What Do People Really Think About Marriage?

What Do People Really Think About Marriage?
If you'll remember, one piece of news that shocked the world: the split of Seal and Heidi Klum back in January of this year, seemingly golden couple with the perfect family. But beyond that marriage, there was clearly strife and separation. And while the world was disappointed... How much can we really tell beyond the photos? Admittedly, I loved this couple, like much of the world. But when this one ended, it was a sobering, sobering reality that even the happiest seeming couples don't have it all together. And there's nothing wrong with that because well... It's just reality.

Sure -- there have been more break-ups in Hollywood than any teen soap lately... And it seems that less people are rushing to the altar (although I will personally be attending a slew of weddings this summer)... Which may make you wonder whether the institution has become a joke. But, does that mean it's worth giving up on marriage altogether?

Many hopeless romantics would say no. And, if you'd asked me 20 years ago what I wanted when I grew up, marriage -- on top of some fancy, important job -- would have been at the very top of the list. Fast forward to the present, and now there are a million other things that seem more interesting. Traveling more, spending time with the pup and my guy, Sav, and of course growing my career.

Sure, this is no surprise (and may even be true for some of you) but it looks like a poll of more than 3,000 women revealed the same thing in May's issue of Glamour Magazine -- marriage isn't quite the cat's meow anymore. Major findings?

Out with the old! Marriage is being considered a thing of the past:

  • Women think marriage is out, more so than men: 51 percent of women under 30 - and 46% of women overall - say the institution is becoming outdated. Men are more traditional, a full 58% believe the institution is timeless.
  • Single is A-OK! Nearly one in three women in our survey says she’d feel fine going through the rest of her life single.
  • Divorce? No problem! 59 percent of women say divorce is healthy if two people fall out of love.

Cheating isn’t a deal breaker:

  • Only 36% of women ages 19 to 29 would divorce their husband if he strayed even once –and more than a quarter overall say that sex outside marriage doesn’t have to ruin a relationship. Again, men are more traditional, 42% of men in their twenties would divorce if a partner cheated just once.

And kids? No problem there, either:

  • 53% of babies delivered by women under 30 are born out of wedlock.

But despite it all, people want to get married:

  • 92 percent of those surveyed said they want to get married someday and 87% hope theirs will last forever.
  • 44 percent of women in our poll say: Yes, the hoopla [of all the drama surrounding celebrity splits] is fueling the divorce rate.

What it comes down to is that sure marriage isn't quite the only option -- but people still believe in "forever after"... Even if it does look a little differently.

So essentially the marriage model is an option for most -- not mandatory. Definitely a flip from how it used to be, huh?


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  • Well I can say that it works for me and my wife. We're a team. The thing that destroys most marriages is lack of communication,immaturity,and not knowing your spouse's strengths/weaknesses. Having said that, I am aware that marriage is not for the timid and it's not for everybody.

  • I just passed my 25th anniversary last month. What people have lost sight of is that it is work. And a lot of people aren't willing to put in what it takes to keep it strong. Like Evan says, it takes communication and maturity. And, a great deal of patience. Without those things a marriage is doomed.

  • In reply to Teppi Jacobsen:

    Teppi is right, it is work!. My parents have been married for 55 years. Marriage is hard work but well worth it. Raising children is hard work too, if you do it right. Instant gratification is what everyone wants and I think that has lead people to settle. People are settling for what they can get. Marriage has lost its importance because people are settling for what they can get in a relationship. Two adults can deem that they don't need a piece of paper but children need that commitment. Children born out of wedlock tend to suffer from far more social and emotional issues than children born to married couples.

  • On the point that marriage is hard work, there is no doubt I agree with Evan, Teppi and Tracy. Being raised by my grandparents it blew my mind that through it all they weathered it together -- and for them being together not only works but it's vital to both of them.

    That said, Teppi, you are right -- it does take patience. But I think Evan really hit home by pointing out that it's not for everyone. Because it's not.

    Tracy - You raise an interesting point about children and wedlock. Sure, it could be validation for kids to have married parents. But if trends also seem to normalize the non conventional family, what does that mean for how we view normal? In full disclosure, I believe in long-term commitment and marriage. That said, people make choices for themselves that include forever without that certificate.

    On another level: If people get married, and then divorce bitterly, tearing their family apart, are their kids better off?

    I'll admit that I don't always understand the social and personal decisions people make. But I also know people whose parents were never married but seem way more adjusted than folks who had married parents that either aren't happy or are divorced.

    All in all, despite what people do, it ultimately seems that people still hold some regard for the institution itself -- in which case marriage will always be an option for most. Who uses it and why... That's always going to vary and choices will always be personal...

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