By Kate Ricciardi SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE
It’s a tale as old as time: two people love each other, get married and live happily ever after. Or, at least, that’s how it used to be.
Sadly, things just aren’t that simple anymore. Now, more than ever, according to a recent report by the Pew Research Center, people continue to marry later in life, or they just don’t get married at all.
The Pew Research Center cites a shift in individuals’ priorities as a cause for the decrease in marriage rates. The report found that women care about the stable job and steady income, while men place importance on finding someone who shares their ideas about raising children. Both men and women put less emphasis on finding someone with the same morals and religious beliefs.
The numbers are clear. Thirty-two percent of today’s never-married adults say they do not know if they want to get married, according to the Pew Research Center report, and a rising 13 percent say they do not want to get married at all. Marriage is losing its popularity, and society is worse off because of it.
The National Center of Health Statistics recently reported that among women who first cohabited at age 25 to 29, their premarital relationship typically lasted about 17 months. Without a marriage certificate, a couple is much less likely to stay committed to one another. It is easier to leave a marriage when a couple doesn’t have to spend money on divorce.
As the institution of marriage grows less important, children suffer. Without a legal commitment to a relationship, unmarried parents have a much easier time stepping out of the picture. Parents who are not married are 50 percent more likely to break up and have much higher rates of spousal abuse, according to a study conducted by David Popenoe, a sociology professor at Rutgers University.
A change in priorities of Americans looking for romantic partners is partially to blame, according to a Pew Research Center report on marriage. Children are much better off when they are raised by two parents in the same house.
Popenoe also said that children “have fewer economic resources, receive less parenting from their fathers, and face a much greater risk of parental break-up, leading to two to three times the risk of serious social problems when they become adolescents and young adults, such as juvenile delinquency, and teenage, out-of-wedlock childbearing.”
Marriage is about commitment to the other person and the love you share. Choosing to marry someone you love is a beautiful thing. Not only is the institution of marriage crucial to maintaining a strong society, but it is also beneficial for a child’s development.
If you love someone enough to be with them the rest of your lives, then you should marry them.
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