Children, Cultural Change, Culture, Ethics, Extended Family, Family, Love, Marriage, Morality, Morals, Nuclear Family, Relationships, Values

Marriage: “Except for the Kids’ Sake, Why Bother with it?”

“I think marriage is a bit of a farce these days”, she said.

“Oh?  Tell me more”, I replied.

“Well, back in the day, it was a proper coming together of families and material, and the commitment was to go forth together and prosper, raise children, etc.  Now it’s not that.  Now it seems to be just a reason to have a party.  People get divorced as soon as they get married.  There is no joining of families. ”

I knew Brenda was right about the family bit.  If you travel back in Western history more than about 200 years, the main reason for getting married — apart from raising children — is to form strategic alliances between families, mainly for financial and economic purposes.  The son of a mason might marry the daughter of a “builder” (i.e. the equivalent of a contractor/architect in today’s terms) in order to take financial and economic advantage of linking the two trades under one roof.   That, and raising children, were the core purposes of marriage.  The love between a man and wife had nothing to do with marriage back then, and marrying for love was actively discouraged.

“So is marriage totally bankrupt?”, I asked her.

“I suppose where kids are concerned, it’s nice to have married parents”, she said.  “Kids are really the only reason I can fathom to bother getting married.”

I think earlier this evening Brenda in her conversation with me more or less summed up what many of us in the West think these days about marriage:   Basically, except for the sake of kids, why bother with it?

Of course, one still hears of other reasons to get married.  Perhaps three of the most frequently heard reasons are (1) that we should marry to make sex safer; (2) that we should marry to commit to our love for someone; and (3), that we should marry to avoid loneliness.  And, like most of us,  I know people who would find all three of those reasons to be weak.  Whether they are or are not weak seems just as debatable as saying the only reason to get married is for the sake of kids.

But what do you think?  Are kids the only good reason these days to get married?  Are there other good reasons?  Your opinions, please.

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