With 50 percent of all marriages now ending in divorce, it begs the question “Is the tradition relative in our modern society, or better still, why can so few of us no longer make it work?”. As a 24-year-old nomadic traveler, marriage is not currently the highest item on my to do list. With that being, I often ponder if this tradition is for me considering my parents are separated, as well as both of their parents. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe in love, but it appears to be so rare to find and so much harder to maintain in our modern world that I wonder if a happily ever after ending is a lottery that only a few of us are lucky enough to win.
There are clearly many reasons people choose to divorce. Money worries, infidelity or lack of communication can all be key issues. None of these are particularly new problems that we face, yet in recent years we have consistently seen a rise in divorce rates, but why? Are we just becoming less and less patient due to modern expectations, or is it just because society now allows us to show our true colours regarding commitment? The answer is complicated as research appears to suggest a combination of both.
Many studies indicated that we now have a higher expectation of what marriage should provide. For many of us, when we find that special someone, we now expect them to provide so much more than our previous generations. We rarely have the luxury of only one person needing to work to hold down a household, as a result this has become a shared responsibility which also adds to financial concerns. Along with household responsibilities we also expect our partner to be a source of unconditional trust, adventurous love, a constant source of support, and above all to fulfil our need for a close companion. In previous years, these roles are likely to have been spread out among multiple people. In addition to this, modern married individuals spend less time with friends, and family members compared with their single counterparts.
Our society has also encouraged a dangerous attitude of immediate gratification and expectation. With amazon prime giving us whatever we desire the very next day and Netflix releasing the whole series at once, we never need to wait. This expectation can infectiously spread to other areas of our lives leading us to believe that all our problems can be easily fixed. As a result, many couples are not willing to give marriage the same effort that many generations before us had too. Furthermore, ease of divorce has increased while the taboo surrounding divorce has notably decreased, increasing the appeal of taking the easy way out.
One final factor to consider is the amount of quality time partners spend with each other. This is a great indicator of a marriage’s success rate and over the previous year, we have seen the amount of quality time partners spend with each other decrease. Without this essential element marriages can often end up disappointing and unsatisfied.
The good news is that marriage isn’t dead. Despite the decline in its success at least half of all couples that make a go at it still manage to make it work. In our modern society, it is important to understand that we must give our relationships more effort, and above all more quality time for them to succeed. It is easy to get caught up in the modern rush with an overwhelming list of expectations from a partner.