Marriage and Family Life in America
Marriage according to the Collins Cobuild dictionary means the relationship between a husband and a wide. The bible also adds that the relationship must be God ordained. A marriage in essence is designed to last for a lifetime and not some years. Even so, our generation considers marriage a contract that can be terminated at any time.
While some say marriage is co-existence, others consider it an ideal way to share daily expenses. According to recent studies, marriage has been identified as one of the institutions that are crumbling at a very high rate. This essay is therefore aimed at underlining the American marriages status (Donovan). Additionally, the paper is designed to educate us on reasons behind failing marriages in the US.
Broken marriages in the country present the American government with new challenges economically. As the US government thinks of ways of reversing the trend, it is imperative to note that the damage cannot be fixed easily. Even so the national and state governments are worsening the situation. The tax code has a lot of marriage tax penalties preventing development of sustainable marriages (Glen).
Perhaps the government should begin by eliminating the penalties and start encouraging family life as well as supporting marriages. Marriage in the past generation was considered sacred and divorce was a very rare thing. Currently however, divorce is a very common scenario. The number of single parents is increased as well as cohabitation and divorce rates. Child poverty on the other hand is some of the failed American marriage institution pointers.
The culture of American marriage is aping many European nations where one can easily marry and divorce as he or she wishes (Glen). Sexual morals have also changed at a tremendous rate and family ties are being frayed with welfare states and reckless abandons which are always preventing family creation.
Worryingly, the trend is being nipped across the middle class in the bud in the country. In the past, the social class was seen as a very stronghold of the US marriage life. Today, Americans do not take the institution of marriage seriously as they did decades ago. Many Americans according to Donovan prefer casual arrangements where a person can walk in and out of a relationship without necessarily having to go through an expensive and painful divorce process.
There are also those who prefer to marry later on in life when they are sure of settling down and managing challenges characterized with the institution. The number of kids born out of wedlock has additionally increased at a high rate. The perception of the institution by the general public has also changed.
Americans are no longer responsible about the state of the institution as kids from single parents complain that they do not enjoy the company of a mother or a father. Opinions are also divided as to whether individuals or couples should simply cohabit or marry. Even though the term cohabitation is seen as the most ideal arranged as opposed to marriage, research reveals that marriages are more stable.
Cohabitation even in the presence of children cannot be considered a long term relationship. Researchers additionally hold on to the fact that those who settle for cohabitation are running away from the duty of band commitment (Walton). Instead, they are looking for ways to end one relationship and jump to the next.
If the demerits of cohabitation were to be weighed against those of a lawful marriage, they would definitely outweigh that of a marriage. This can be closely linked to health effects that cohabitation presents. Glen emphasizes that cohabitation is more likely to generate one or more of the following health effects
- Increased rate of substance abuse
- High rate of emotional, physical and mental abuse
- Unstable relationships
- Violence amongst those cohabiting
- Increased rate of depression, suicide, homicide or death cases triggered by violence
The family unit in the US has also been affected by work. Many families in the states work for long hours to cater for their daily family needs. Parents as a result, do not enjoy enough time together. Parents are more like acquaintances to their kids because they do not spend a lot of time with them. In the past 20 years, the number of people working for long hours has increased (Newman).
It is also clear that those working for long hours are still very slow in the earning bracket. Because of the fact that many people spend most of their time at work, they additionally lose touch with their partners. As a result, it is more likely for clandestine relationships to grow at place of work leading to divorce in the end. Additionally, the idea of carrying work to home poses great challenge to many families (Newman). In the event of such, many parents fail to spend more time with their kids and this is the reason as to why many marriages fail.
From research, it is also clear that the family life affects an individual’s performance at work. Disrespecting for example at home increases the rate of depression, anxiety and worry. Such feelings reduce a person’s performance at place of work. Studies also reveal that “staff can be distracted during work hours when they worry about how to handle their family members’ negativity” (Newman). They also find it hard to concentrate on work. What’s more, staff members may lose focus as well as the ability to anticipate what they can do next.
The role of religion in marriage also cannot be underestimated. Research studies indicate that many religious families in the country experience the lowest divorce rate compared to non-religious ones. The protestant church specifically allows a person to divorce with special reasons or cases. (61) percent of Americans believe in church despite the fact that they are not church goers.
The church often offers a solution to challenges that marriages present almost on daily basis (Walton). The law in the country additionally supports band and in equal measure, discourages marriages. On the other hand, there are still tax laws including tax cuts and financial benefits that are highly favorable for married couples. America on the other hand compared to Italy has the shortest divorce waiting period.
Now, it is very clear that the marriage institution is on its deathbed. The institution will soon be a thing of the past if nothing is done to address the situation. It is additionally worrying to realize that there is no divine intervention that has been of significant help to the institution. There is also no doubt that the institution is a lifetime commitment hence, normal for every person to be anxious when getting into it.
Even so, many Americans are anxious and do not prefer the entire idea of getting married. Therefore, they prefer cohabitation, which is a shortcut. Opinions are also divided on the issue of cohabitation. Nonetheless, the number of those favoring cohabitation has over the past years increased.
Personally, I believe that cohabitation is not good. Marriage should be based on commitment and love. Therefore, people should start loving unconditionally and be committed in their marriages. Besides work family balance must always be created for the marriage to survive. A lot of work affects the relationship of couples in marriage as well as that of kids and their parents. An abrasive marriage on the other hand can affect an individual’s work performance.
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Walton, Alice. The Marriage Problem: Why Many Are Choosing Cohabitation Instead. Feb 7,
2012 Web, Feb 5, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/
Donovan, Chuck. A Marshall Plan for Marriage: Rebuilding Our Shattered Homes. June 7, 2011
Web, February 5, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.heritage.org/
Glen, Stanton. Young Adults Consistently Express Marriage and Family as Important Life Goal
August 2009 Web February 5, 2014 http://www.focusonthefamily.com
Newman, Jennifer. Abrasive family can affect your job performance. November 2013 Web
February 16, 2014 http://www.vancouversun.com