Marriage is an institution that brings people with common interests together (Regneurs & Uecker 2008, p.41). In the modern world it is seen as a couple living together in love. However, some cultures allow polygamous marriage relationship in which more than two people are brought together in a marriage. The widely accepted definition of a marriage is an institution in which two people of the opposite sex and who love one another come together after a decision to exist as spouses. In contrast, some people accept marriage between people of the same sex. The union of spouses can be done legally, customary or religiously, with all these three ways being accepted by various groups (Foster 2008, p. 21).
Marriage brings kinship; in addition, people in a marriage institution share intimate things such as sex among others. Additionally, some communities do not accept any form of sexual activities between the youths until after marriage (Weir 2007, p.58). Other people view marriage as an event (social, legal or religious) that formalizes the conclusion of two people to guarantee themselves to one another as spouses. Wedding for a long time in history has been known to be attached strongly with emotions, some of which can be termed sentimental, and carries on the board a long list of requirements, as well as expectations.
American population is made up of a large group with wide cultural base (Alsenas 2008, p.25). For this reason it becomes a bit tricky in generalizing the way they all view marriage. However, through civilization, this group of people has developed to have a common or related view of things, and an excellent example is in marriage. This is perhaps due to their facing of similar circumstances in a similar environment. The way Americans view and understand wedding could be significantly different from any other peoples’ view (Cherlin 2009, p.43).
In contrast, it is possible to find another group of people living far from geographical location of America, but holding a similar understanding of marriage as the Americans do (Haugen & Musser 2011, p.8). Around 50 years ago, an individual’s success was evaluated partially on the ability to raise a happy family, due to this; some people quit their full time employment for their marriages. Further more, the institution of marriage was accorded the sense of permanence it deserved.
In the history of America, there were cultural values that promoted the culture of the permanence of marriage (Coontz 2005, p.51). During this time the rate of divorce was significantly low compared to the case today. As a result, the number of children raised by two parents was high. Research shows that this was a better way of children upbringing. It is argued as being a more holistic children raising approach in terms of generating emotionally balanced generation than having one parent doing it. If the number of people taking care of kids is two, kids will get better care and attention (Epstein 1974, p.34).
According to (Cherlin 2009, p.12) the status of marriage has undergone a radical change; he further notes that the percentage of people who opts for no covenant marriage is on the increase. This shows how the marriage is taken as a temporary arrangement, as only 2% of the American population would opt for a covenant marriage. This is a decrease from 67% who could have opted for a covenant wedding about three decades ago.
The Divorce Rate
Currently America, there is a lot of emphasis on personal happiness in the marriage (Amato 2007, p.81). The above is the reason why the divorce rate is estimated to be around 50% according to resent research. The same organization projects that about 40-50% of the marriages today may end up in divorce (Raunch 2004, p.18). The result of this has been extreme hardships for the couples, as well as, the children.
The underlying reason for this increase in divorce rate is the erosion of the family culture. This culture was once extraordinarily strong among Americans, and was instrumental in binding the family together (Dudley & Charberg 2007, p.12). Its place in the society is now being taken by unmarried parenthood. People thought that unwed parenthood could substitute the American family culture, in contrast, this substitution is no longer favorable as it has only worked to increase poverty in the American society. This has also overloaded American population with heavy social costs. Furthermore, it has not led to increased happiness for the adult, hence failing to improve the status of relationships.
Family Oriented Society
Some other people in other countries of the world are family or society oriented; this is seen particularly in the eastern countries. However in America, individual orientation takes a center stage; many people have expected marriages to work in total accordance with their personal views or specifications (Alsenas 2008, p.19). In other cases people in their married relationship do not take into consideration the society or the family wellbeing. A marriage cannot work totally in accordance with ones expectations; one should bear in mind that there are often more than one party in a marriage. Therefore, a favorable balance has to be the sort for taking care of each and everyone’s consideration.
Another characteristic of Americans is non adherence to societal morals. Elsewhere in the world it is possible to have somebody taking a decision on the basis of societal morals. In some cultures of the world, such social morals have been taken as they were and adopted by everybody in the society. It has its disadvantages that personal feelings are not considered, this arrangement also does not take into consideration ones individuals feelings. On the other hand, considering the philosophies of communitarianism, it is most beneficial to take the decision that benefits the society (Raunch 2004, p. 12).
The role of any generation in the society is to raise the next generation of the society for continuity. This is forgotten by many people and especially young American couples. Some people do not view marriage as means to raise and nurture the next generation. Others think that marriage is supposed only to generate happiness for the current generation of adults. This can have deleterious effects on the modern day institution of marriage.
Categories of Marriages
A careful look into all the marriages contracted in the world today, reveals that all these marriages fall into two categories. The first category of marriages is what is termed as arranged marriages. Such marriages take place mostly in the east or some parts of the world where everyday life is directed by kinship relationships (Weir 2007, p.15). In the developed world and especially the west, another category of marriage referred to as love marriage is consummated. There are some people who enter into marriage which cannot fit perfectly into any of the above mentioned categories. They borrow the favorable aspects from the two categories and come up with a balanced blend.
In love marriage two individuals are brought together purely by love. After some time they formalize their love and become a husband and a wife. It is worth noting that no consultation is done in this category and no consent is sought. The formalization can be done either religiously or legally. In some marriages no consideration is done to the family, and individualistic specifications dominate (Popenoe 1996, p.17). Research shows that a large percentage of such marriages does not last long and they culminate in divorce. In the developed countries human rights come first followed by personal preferences. Everyone also likes taking control of his or her personal destiny, and this has worked to lead to collapse of love marriages.
On the other hand, some parts of the modern world readily accept arranged marriages. In this arrangement, the marriage may be arranged by parties other than the ones getting married. The contributions of the elders are taken into careful consideration. The elders’ consent of the marriage and the future of the couple are given the first preference, as well as the family to be formed is well anticipated. In this category the society comes first, the family follows and individual needs come last. As for human beings, what is considered suitable for the society is suitable for all of the individuals. This form of arrangement is also lacking in some way and cannot be suitable for everybody. It is insensitive to make a person have a lifetime partner who is chosen by a third party (Cherlin 2009, p.31).
Judging by statistics, arranged marriages outdo their love counterparts in terms of longevity. Nobody is trying to prescribe arranged marriages to the Americans; however, an urgent move needs to be taken to solve the current situation whereby the basic unit of a nation is facing a threat of collapsing.
The view of arranged marriages by some people as primitive behavior cannot work to better anything; what it can do is enhancing further deterioration. Arranging the marriage can be reviewed so that couples in love can have a bit of futuristic view. This implies that lovers can come together and arrange for future events, especially the fate of the marriage when love no longer works. The children and dependants can be discussed at this time.
In the event that no marriage can proceed in the absence of love, such a marriage should be avoided; since even family scholars suggest that sometimes love may just vanish (Coontz 2009, p.29). In addition, an egocentric view to marriage should be done away with at all costs. People should always have a consideration for other people at all times.