Marriage and divorce are all over the news these days. Have you noticed? I hope that the headlines will inspire meaningful conversations about what the institution really means to us, collectively and as individuals.
The story “All the Single Ladies” in this month’s Atlantic Magazine raises some big questions on the state of marriage in America. Writer Kate Bolick, 39, never imagined that she’d be single in her late 30s, but life rarely goes according to plan, and it seems that she’s not alone. A number of societal trends are creating a “crisis in gender” that makes it more difficult for women to find suitable husbands. I have several single friends in their mid-thirties, and the dating scene seems truly abysmal.
Of course women are also becoming increasingly self-sufficient—often able to make a great living on their own—and some are simply choosing to remain single. Bolick cites research that suggests that many of today’s young adults think marriage is less relevant than it used to be. And yet, it is still seen as a valuable institution by many, perhaps most notably by those who have been excluded from it. This week, I’ve seen many Facebook updates suggesting that people like Kim Kardashian are the ones compromising marriage in America—not the same-sex marriage proponents.
As a woman who was divorced after only one year of marriage, I wonder whether I, like Kim, am a big part of the problem. Maybe so. But I think people who stay unhappily married do their own kind of damage. By putting up with too much bullshit, they are modeling dysfunction for their children. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Marriages aren’t inherently good simply because they last. If we want to preserve the institution—for all couples, regardless of gender—we need to model healthy, equitable, and happy unions for the next generation. The good news is that many of us who didn’t get it right the first time will get another chance.
I’d love to hear from you on this!
Is there really a “gender crisis” in America?
Is marriage still relevant?
Why does Kim K.’s super-short marriage really matter to us as a society?
Are those of us who are divorced part of the problem with modern marriage?
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