December 20, 2019
We are living during a time of significant transition in the nature of intimate partner relationships and, consequently, the concept of marriage and long-term commitment is transforming dramatically. Why so?
Within the last 70 years the world has experienced:
This incredible evolution, or better yet, revolution has caused the concept of marriage to undergo a substantial metamorphosis. It is the first time in human history that we want a deeply committed, connected, passionate, fulfilling relationship with one person for the long haul, and we live twice as long as we ever have.
In the space of a few generations, we have gone from pragmatic, non-romantic marriages, where men drew their support from other men and women from other women, to expecting our spouses to be our best friend, our most intimate confidant, our emotional advisor, our constant source of unwavering support, our greatest champion, our intellectual equal, our consistently passionate lover, our perfect co-parent.
What this has done is put an unprecedented strain on the institution of marriage. So much so that marriage is on the decline and some experts in the field are predicting an end to this social construct, in its present form, in the foreseeable future.
Yet, the gender disparity is narrowing as women are becoming more autonomous, educated, and independently wealthy. Women are earning more, enjoying thriving careers, marrying later in life (if at all), having fewer children, and sharing more responsibilities within the family home with their spouses. All of which leads to a better quality of life for those women and men who still do choose to marry or enter into committed long-term relationships.
So some would argue that it is probably the best time in western history to be married as there has never been a greater degree of equality in relationships than there is now. Further, there has never been a better time to choose what kind of relationship to be in - marriage or otherwise. Possibly the more important note is not whether we marry, rather, who we choose to be in relationship with, why, and how.