There’s a saying that everything changes with time. Looking at the past and the present is a good example of that. The way things were done then and the way they are done now has been changed dramatically so that they can fit into society. Just as things have been changed to fit into the society we live in today, we, as individuals have also been changed to adapt to these changes occurring in our society. An example of this is clearly evident in the change in our values, especially towards marriage. Today, couples do not value the sanctity of marriage as in the past. This is clearly reflected through the lessening of religious influence in marriages, the increase in cohabitation and divorce.
In the past, marriages were seen as a covenant before God to bring two people together. Today, however, the religious aspect is largely missing in the institution of marriages and this is simply why it is not valued as much as it was in the past. It has become more of an individual’s choice, in which religion is not really regarded with as much importance. Personally I feel the reason for this is simply due to liberalization. In the past, there was no such thing as equality.
In a sense, that was partly why couples valued marriage so much in the past. Since women had few rights, they had to rely on the men to support them, and thus considered it their duty to make the marriage work in any case. Whereas today, women put more emphasis on rights rather than duties. Since they have acquired the rights in almost every aspect of life, they know they don’t have to rely on the men for support as in the past. Such liberal views have caused many to view marriage as not a permanent commitment because they now have the right to freely walk away from marriage anytime they want. I am not trying to imply that women having equal rights is a negative thing but the notion of equality has raised the expectations of people in marriages, causing them to lose the value of marriage. (This sounds gay).
Another reason why couple today do not value marriage as much is due to the fact that today individuals are given more options because society is showing acceptance to the changes occurring. Cohabitation accounts for one of these changes. Personally, I feel that cohabitation has greatly influenced in changing people’s values towards marriage because most people don’t see the purpose of getting married since cohabitation is now available. Whereas in the past, cohabitation did not exist because society frowned down upon it. Since people did not have cohabitation, the only choice they had was marriage. They saw marriage as the only way in which two people could get together with the acceptance of the society. However, in the eyes of the people today, marriage isn’t a big issue because there are so many other ways that are now available and widely accepted by society in bringing two people together. So we can say, marriage held more meaning to couples in the past than to the couples today.
Another perfect example of these options is divorce. Even if a couple gets married today, they know it’s not a permanent commitment because they can end it anytime through divorce. Again, for couples in the past, marriage was a permanent commitment because they didn’t have the choice of divorcing. They knew they had to stay in the relationship and work things out. Whereas for people today, divorce has become the alternative to a failed marriage. Most opt for the easier solution, which is divorce, rather than resolving their conflicts and making their marriage to work. This goes on to show that couples do not value marriages as they did in the past.
Moreover, I think couple’s values today have changed because our expectations of what we want in a marriage have changed. In the past, couple did not expect much from each other because marriages were arranged and each partner did not know the other well. Today, most individuals have love marriages and usually with love marriages, a couple enters into their relationship with high expectations from each other, which when not are met result in conflict. And usually, instead of using conflict resolution and communications skills to resolve their conflicts, most just call it quits and go for divorce.
This shows that couples today have developed a lower threshold of tolerance. While more is expected of marriage, couples today are less tolerant about its challenges and less willing to sacrifice. Most don’t see marriages as an institution centered on mutual responsibilities but rather, it is now based on the pursuit of happiness, fulfillment, and companionship. Thus, today more is demanded of marriage in terms of personal satisfaction, which clearly reflects how much marriage is valued because it’s more about “me” now rather than “us”.
In conclusion, I would just say that the main reason couples today don’t value marriages as much is simply because they don’t see it as a permanent commitment since it can be ended anytime with things such as divorce etc. Though having divorce as an option is good for people to escape abusive relationships, I don’t think couples should see it as the solution to a failing marriage. In the same sense, though cohabitation offers a good opportunity for people to have a trial marriage, so that they can see if both are suitable for each other, I don’t think people should perceive it as the same as marriage. Lastly, having equality is good but people should start focusing on their marriage rather their rights in the marriage.