I think it’s safe to say that we are all aware that we live in a society with an astronomically high divorce rate (something above 60%?), TMZ telling us which celebrity had an affair this week, social media newsfeed stories about couples breaking up, getting back together, fighting, breaking up again, and it goes on.
Yet…when we look into our parents’ and grandparents’ generations…they have been married the majority of their lives. What changed?
Is it lack of quality choices in our generations? That is what most people chalk it up to. They say people have changed. They don’t make them like they used to. Nobody has any values anymore. There is probably some truth to this, but before we accept it, let’s examine the roots of this whole monogamous mindset, shall we?
When our grandparents and their grandparents were in the courtship phase, it was a world where the man “brought home the bacon,” and the woman stayed home and cleaned the picket fence, the Chevy, the dog and the 2.54 kids. The American dream. Nobody got divorced, it wasn’t even an option. But – this brings up some interesting ideas.
Women, even if they wanted to, couldn’t even get jobs (or at least high enough paying ones to support a family and a house). So it was essentially necessary for them to get married. Men were out working all the time, so they could not run a household or raise children effectively alone, and probably wouldn’t anyway because it was a “woman’s job.” Enter: Codependent monogamy and gender roles.
Get married, the husband will work, the wife will clean, and you grow old together. That’s all the world ever knew.
What happened? Empowerment, equal opportunity, big salaries, and finally, equality for women. One of the many reasons why these things are great (yes, I am saying it’s great) is because it allows each individual in a relationship to be just that – an equal individual, as it should be. I am a strong advocate of equality for all.
Now, as empowerment and living expenses increase, necessary reliance on each other (for good and bad) decreases. “Back in the day”, women searched far and wide to find a man with a good job, a good future, and strong family values. Now, those same women are self-driven, accomplished, and don’t need someone else to fulfill certain areas of their lives that the women of past generations needed. They are just hoping for a man who isn’t an idiot.
See, the “need” for a marriage is decreasing, but, is the want for it also decreasing?
Marriages are no longer based on necessity, they are based on desire. A choice. And if a person makes a choice to commit to a single individual for the rest of their lives, it better be for the right reasons. This might seem like a simple thing to say, but if everyone followed that little rule, the divorce rate wouldn’t be where it’s at, now would it?
Hair and teeth fall out, money can get lost in investments, cars get old…all of the things that attract us to each other in today’s society are fleeting and temporary. These are good for fleeting and temporary relationships, but something of this nature as a foundation is like trying to build a house on sand…there’s no steady ground to keep it together when the weather gets rough.
We must go back to connecting with people on a real level, this is not just for relationships, it’s for the good of future generations and the world. Future generations need to be strong, solid, smart and educated. The basis and values that many things are based on these days are risky when it comes to securing the upcoming leaders of this, and all countries.
If we focus on the fact that we don’t need each other, we are damaging the very fiber of relationships in the first place. We may not need anyone out of necessity, but to want them so badly that you cannot picture your life without them, to love every small part of who they are, to develop an emotional connection to someone so strong that you share their emotions, their happiness, and their fears – that is what holds a couple together for decades to come.
We need to bridge the gap between want and need. Understand that sharing responsibilities is okay. Throw gender roles out the window and have each teammate do what they’re good at, not what they’re “supposed to.” We have to accept the fact that we are entering a relationship with a fully functioning individual whose life would be just fine without us, and embrace the fact that we are together because we want to be, not because we have to be.
Our society is losing the ability to do this, but if we just take a deep breath and let our heart and mind work together to make better decisions, we might just get it back.
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