[Paleopsych] marriage pool shrinking?

G. Reinhart-Waller waluk at earthlink.net
Thu Jun 16 19:19:47 UTC 2005

I believe you could be correct that today young people consider marriage 
as an option and not an obligation but I think this may be true for 
women with higher educations and those (of both sexes) who prefer living 
in a metropolitan area vs the suburbs or rural areas of which there 
still remains a huge swath in our country.  Amongst non-college females 
or those without professional careers, I still think marriage is 
considered the only option they have to leave the family nest.  For 
males from certain ethnic groups, especially those that promote the 
importance of a matchmaker, marriage is considered the only option for 
success in the business or academic world.


Christian Rauh wrote:

> What about the idea that marriage is now more of an option instead of 
> an obligation and that drives the rates lower by increasing the 
> selective criteria for a lifelong partner including the criteria of love?
> Christian
> G. Reinhart-Waller wrote:
>> Michael, Here an alarming statistic:  since 1970, the marriage rate 
>> is down by 35%.  During this period we've viewed the impact of 
>> "feminism" on both the workplace and the classroom.  We've also 
>> watched co-habitation for young people replacing traditional marriage 
>> vows and advances in birth control measures preventing the arrival of 
>> unplanned/unwanted offspring.  Many women delay marriage until they 
>> finish their education and those entering a PhD program place their 
>> studies far ahead of birthing children.  Medical advances allow even 
>> post-menopausal women to give birth, something clearly unheard of for 
>> past generations.  Psychologically a 50% divorce rate  has to have an 
>> enormous impact on young marriage especially since many divorced 
>> women with children fall into poverty.  Your evaluation has sparked a 
>> discussion but in some circles could be seen as fairly naive.  
>> Nevertheless, it offers food for thought.
>> Gerry
>> Michael Christopher wrote:
>>> Gerry says:
>>>>> I know way too many females post 30 who cannot find
>>> any likely prospects.  Then again, there are many post
>>> 30 males who don't wish to enter the marriage scene.  I think the 
>>> problem is greater than "no one
>>> available".  Maybe an examination of the "why" might
>>> enlighten the question.<<
>>> --Possibly because everyone has "issues" that
>>> contaminate relationships. Fundamentalists and very
>>> sensitive/shy people try to solve that problem by
>>> being very selective and not getting heavily involved
>>> until they are certain they've found the person they
>>> want. Others have sexual relationships that don't
>>> involve enough emotion to risk rejection or loss of
>>> face. Others get married early, discover that marriage
>>> isn't what they expected it to be, and leave when they
>>> can no longer handle the obligations and routines. In
>>> poor areas, many women find they have better earning
>>> potential than the men, and reject marriage because
>>> they can afford to. The perception that "all men are
>>> dogs" or that "all women are whores who want your
>>> money" can make a mess of things as well, with many
>>> people exhibiting "borderline" traits in relationships
>>> (swinging from "you are my god/goddess" to "you ruined
>>> my life", grandiosity and dashed expectations, etc).
>>> After a few rounds of that, a lot of people decide
>>> it's just safer and less draining to have less complex
>>> relationships.
>>> There are two ways to address that: either improve
>>> communication between the sexes and give them tools
>>> for preventing catastrophic rifts in relationships, or
>>> create a sense of being a tribe, with romantic
>>> relationships on a lower priority level. If a single
>>> relationship means everything, it's easier to get
>>> disillusioned when minor obstacles accumulate, and
>>> it's easier to explode in rage if you feel betrayed.
>>> Romantic triangles dramatically affect people's sense
>>> of status and belonging, and creating a sense of a
>>> tribal safety net might even things out and make
>>> relationships less volatile.
>>> I'm not sure how fear of nuclear war and terrorism
>>> will affect marriage patterns... will people marry as
>>> soon as they feel safe (maybe feeling restless later
>>> when less afraid) or will they avoid marriage in order
>>> to avoid the pain of loss?
>>> Michael
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