In a word?
Now… I’m not saying that people should stop getting married – it’s still a dream that’s impressed upon the youngsters of the world by various sources.
I’m here to talk about whether or not it’s a practical dream.
To really understand marriage, you have to examine it’s roots in history i.e. why weddings were invented in the first place.
Getting married was both a religious statement and a control point in social engineering when the human population was much, much, much smaller than it is now – designed to guarantee a steady line of baby breeding to bolster the local populace.
I know the above disregards the personal feeling involved, and that’s somewhat on purpose since I was only summing up the institution of marriage and not the per-person reasons.
The personal incentive for marriage was somewhat selfish: the odds of finding another compatible male/female was greatly reduced in the days of yore… and the amount of time you had in your life that you had to find that person was roughly half what it is today.
So you really felt the need to lock down that one suitable mate as soon as you found them or, otherwise, your lot in life would be somewhat pointless and your social standing would be somewhat awkward (and we all know feeling awkward kind of sucks).
Also, marriage was born eons ago when the concept of sexual equality was non-existent: marrying ultimately was contract between a man and his bride’s father that transferred ownership and control of the woman in question – which still has an anachronistic throwback in today’s world in the form of more ‘romantic’ men asking their girlfriend’s father for permission to marry.
In fact, in certain populations today, marriage is still very much no different that buying a goat or a used car (in those areas of the world us Westerners deem to be less civilized i.e. much of the African continent, broad swaths of Asia, and various Pacific island nations) and love has nothing to do with it at all.
Which brings me to this: what does love have to do with it?
Is it impossible to love someone without wanting to marry them?
Of course not… and to say so is pure brain atrophy caused by religious brain washing.
Remember what I said about marriage facilitating breeding? Can you guess what parties benefited from there being more people in ancient times?
Churches and governments – and both for the exact same reasons, and those reasons are the same today as they were back then… and are why both priests and politicians still embrace marriage: taxes.
The more people there are in any given area, the more the local government makes in tax revenue.
The more people there are in any given church congregation, the more the church hierarchy makes in tithing fees e.g. 10% of your income going to church coffers.
How else are politicians supposed to pay for strippers and gay prostitutes?
How else is the Pope going to afford to wipe his geriatric ass with satin and velvet?
Blooming populations pay for those… at least in theory.
However, that theory is clearly broken in the Western world: 50% of first time marriages end in divorce (67% of second and 74% of third marriages).
There are more people alive on this planet than ever… more than the total number of people that have ever lived and died on Earth prior to 1900A.D.
7 billion choices for every man and woman – and given the rise of same-sex relationships, that is entirely accurate.
Sure… someone who lives in Seattle, Washington may not immediately have access to a relationship with someone in Brisbane, Australia when they’re born worlds apart – but now that the planet is largely wired and connected via the Internet, what’s stopping those two people from connecting in Second Life or on 4chan?
Also… marriage used to be the only place where you could legitimately have sex with another person without society condemning you as either a pervert or whore.
But in today’s age, the sexual revolution has done away with that almost completely in the Western world.
Hookups, booty calls, and ‘friends with benefits’ are increasingly the normal way of things in the population younger than 40 years old.
I’ve had sexual relations with upward of 35 women in my lifetime – and I’ve only married one of them (ended in divorce 8 months later), and got engaged to another (lasted 5 years on and off).
The rest of the women I’ve been with? Zero interest in marrying – and in fact, with each subsequent relationship, have had less and less interest in a formal relationship.
And this is generally the experience expressed by today’s generation: the overall softening of the relationship boundary.
Sure, kids today still want to have relationships, but the function of that relationship is rapidly changing.
In a wave of teens where ‘third base’ is now anal sex, relationships are increasingly less about emotional solidarity and more for exploring sexuality in a controlled environment.
What would marriage have that would interest these kids?
Being stuck with the same person for eternity is a notion frightening enough to give them an asthma attack.
In that world, marriage is an abhorrent concept – something antiquated… something that their parents and grandparents did, like talk on phones attached to a wall with a wire.
It’s not something that’s realistic – except in the minds of naive teen girls who have been spoon fed the marriage idea by a lifetime of Disney Princess programming and other ‘timeless’ cultural inputs that proclaim themselves to be the sole bastions of romance.
Is romance dead?
Romance is alive and well – but it’s upgraded itself for a new world.
However, romance has also been perverted by backwards thinking morons like Stephanie Meyer who are trying to enslave teen and ‘tween’ girls to a religious standard that no longer functions in the real world with antiquated sexual identities i.e. women are not complete without a man to control them.
Thankfully, the perversion of romance is a self-contained blip in the overall societal scope.
As romance evolves to veer away from the pre-programmed goal of marriage, various product vendors and cultural groups are forced to re-evaluate their stance – often in dramatically different ways and to varying levels of success.
Product vendors like Harlequin Romance have had to rethink their ‘literary’ platforms in efforts to snag new, young readers to replace the old and rapidly aging readers of yesteryear that got off on the sight of Fabio’s bare chest.
Many internet dating sites are seeing an increase in their ‘intimate encounters’ sections and less popularity in their traditional dating lines.
Wedding planners and other people associated with the marriage industry are pushing more and more elaborate packages to turn up the pressure on those people who would get hitched in an effort to mold the couple’s view into seeing getting married as a social event instead of a romantic ideal – especially focusing on young couples in hopes of selling the concept of wedding as a more personally tuned high school prom.
Changing the act of getting married from an act of devotion between two people to a dressy pageant that eeks out the couple’s position in their social circles.
Which begs that question again: what has love got to do with it?
Not a damn thing.
Love has nothing to do with marriage.
When you love somebody, and they love you, why complicate things?
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
If two people are in genuine love with each other, then they don’t really need an antique label that only advertises what their friends already know.
A marriage is only going to push couples toward debilitating amounts of debt – both on the front end marriage ceremony and the better than even odds of divorce lawyers.
Is marriage going to disappear?
I don’t know.
It’s hard to say, really – given the global scope of things.
Churches are struggling to stay relevant in Western society – but that doesn’t mean that countries like Canada, the United States, and the U.K. aren’t going to have a constant influx of immigrants from countries where religion is still a big influence on people… and therefore bringing scores of new people who will be interested in getting married by default belief.
My best guess is that marriage will never completely disappear.
However, I can say with absolute certainty that marriage will never again be as important to current and future generations than it was prior to the 1950’s.
Is that a bad thing?
Well… anything that keeps divorce lawyers from getting richer is a good thing, no?