The concept of marriage in the 21st century has been deconstructed, revolutionized and revamped for society to assemble their own ideas of what a marriage should be. Initially, my idea of what people marry for was one-sided and horizontal when in fact this topic is more multifaceted than that. When examining the idea of people marrying for security or true love there are many sub-topics that accompany this umbrella of an issue. These ideas include, gender, sexuality, culture and what you define for yourself as love.
Since 1960, the average amount of American men who are married has decreased from 70 percent to 55 percent, with over 50 percent of marriages in the United States ending in divorce. While the amount of marriages has decreased, the age when people are beginning to marry has increased. The average man living in the United States is marrying at 30 years old while the average woman is marrying between the ages of 28 and 29.
Through many conversations with friends and family there seems to be a discrepancy in answering the question of, “Is marriage a business contract or a courtship of love?”
The majority of people unable to come up with a defiant response unveils the complexity of the answer and therefore needs to be investigated.
The root of marriage being a business contract or pure act of love stems from sexuality and gender identity based cultures. Being male or female contributes to one’s morals when considering the foundation of a marriage. Most female interviewees believed that marrying for love was still a plausible goal and not a prehistoric fantasy only to come true in fairy tales. Men on the other hand had a different idea. They felt marriage was a form of a contractual agreement and in order for women to secure their futures, success and fortune would be valued over love. The difference in opinion when considering gender is not opaque, but apparent in the different ways men and women are raised. Which brings me to my next topic, sexuality.
Marrying for true love seemed to be more viable for homosexual couples than heterosexual because they did not follow the stereotypical female and male lineage of what a man is supposed to do in a relationship and vice versa. Homosexual couples, both male and male, and female and female believed that marriage was more about love and less of a professional commitment. To homosexual couples, this angle may seem brainless because same sex marriages were not recognized until June 26, 2015. This could possibly contribute to homosexual couples having a deeper connection to what marriage is and a more hopeful dream for the union that marriage could be.
In early civilizations individuals married for survival, and the idea of love was overshadowed by the necessities of society. Family units were created in order to strengthen the American economy and roles in marriage were formed to designate jobs for the unit to run efficiently. Men worked, while women were encouraged to be domesticate vessels. Today, the traditional culture of family has been transformed into something more flexible and modernistic. Men and women are equal, and due to the progression of the times, a family unit is no longer necessary to uphold American economics. More often than not, men and women are focusing on themselves first, and incorporating love into their everyday lives when the time is right. This ideology leads to a more for-love approach, rather than the business mode of thinking. The more people can take care of themselves, the less they have to rely on others granting individuals liberation, and the privilege to choose who they would like to settle down with.
To answer the question, “Is marriage a business agreement or an endearing act of love?”, the explanation is clearly in the inability for one to answer the question for an entire group of people. Marriage is subjective and can only be rationed through one’s personal experience and what is most true for that individual. Ideas on marriage are situational and the choice of whether your courtship should be situated in formal agreements or operate on love is solely up for the two involved to decide.