OPINION: Traditional marriage is overrated

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(Photo courtesy of Pixabay)
By William L.G. Stephens

Do you ever reconnect with an old friend who got married straight out of high school and is now going through a divorce, and thought to yourself, “I’m so happy that isn’t me?”

Common belief used to be that once you graduated high school, you found a decent job, got hitched, bought a house and had the perfect nuclear family.

This was considered to be the “American Dream” that was inundated by our society and parents to pressure an untimely marriage.

However, is it possible that this was just a dream our parents had forced on us? What happens when our “American Dream” manifests into nightmares?

Luckily, in this day and age, our dreams are allowed to suffice.

We are in a generation where we have options in which we don’t have to rely on a partner for support.

The wrongful ideology of the woman staying at home with the kids while the man goes to work is long outdated and rightfully so.

It is 2021 and we want independence. We want to be independently wealthy and want to be recognized for our perseverance through every obstacle we’ve had in life. We don’t need to add anyone else’s last name to do it.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2007 an estimate of 14 million Americans were in cohabiting relationships. In 2016, those numbers increased to 18 million. How high will those numbers be in the year 2025?

People are choosing to live with their partner but abstain from marriage, and why not? At the end of the day, the only difference is a piece of legal document that allows you to file jointly on your taxes. 

Do you really want to be bonded together because of that? Or do you want the option to bail anytime you want, once you realize that Dr. Jekyll is actually Mr. Hyde?

In 2020 households consisting of married couples in the U.S. fell to 49%.

So then why have traditional ceremonial marriages decreased significantly in recent years, all the while non-exclusive relationships rise higher?

Maybe because we now have dating apps like Tinder, Badoo and Plenty of Fish, which basically allows you to list your deal breakers right on your profile conveniently. It also means your phone vibrates when someone in your area is wanting to hook up.

Who doesn’t want a little variety in their lives?

Since the beginning of time, the church has preached that living together without marriage is a sin. We have been told by our friends who have never had to make the choice of separating, “Stay together for the kids.”

So, what happens when the two of you realize you’re better off as friends? What happens when the children you’re staying together for, are the same children who are always listening to you fight? What happens when that emotional abuse turns to physical abuse?

We like to throw words around like unholy, blasphemy and sacrilegious in certain circles. However, the word that is seldomly used is brave.

Marriage is not a one-size-fits-all. I believe we’ve known that for a while now. In this generation, we’ve just gotten to the point where we don’t allow the fear of persecution from outside parties interfere with our decisions to remain unmarried.

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