Is marriage a 'thing of the past'?
In order to understand how and why society's views on marriage have changed in this generation, I've decided to interview both my Nana and my mum, to see what the social norms were around the time that they were married.
Nana (71 years old, baby boomer)
Every ones life followed a cycle; you courted a boy or girl, started a relationship, became engaged and planned your wedding. People rarely moved in together before they were married, as that was looked down upon. Children were only 'allowed' during marriage. Having children outside of wedlock bought shame to your family. I remember one girl from my town who fell pregnant to a married man. She was whisked off to Adelaide to deliver the baby and forced to give up her child for adoption. Upon her return, no one ever talked about it.
Mum (49 years old, gen x)
Getting married was something that you 'just did'; no one questioned it. Many people married younger because there wasn't a push for women to have a career. It was only after I had been married for 10-20 years that I started hearing people referring to marriage as 'just a piece of paper.' Having children outside of wedlock was a definite no no. Many people also didn't live together until they were married.
So what has changed in today's society that has bought marriage into question, in just one short generation?
After talking with both my Nana and Mum, it stood out to me just how much of a shift there has been in our thinking, expectations towards the progression of an intimate relationship, and what is now 'socially acceptable' behaviour.
People no longer have to be married in order to have children by social standards. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 'marriage as the traditional social institution for family formation is declining'.
People are now left wondering what, if any, is the 'right way' to go about life. This grey area of expectation can be a case for anxiety and stress for a lot of people, particularly when different generations expectations upon them are different.
But seriously, now, if you don't live together before you are married, it is almost frowned upon. Many would think that you should live together before you married, just to make sure that you can live together before making a major commitment.
I think we need to open our minds even wider to understand that marriage is more than just a set of rules, expectations and acceptable behaviour within it.
Marriage is taking the next step in the level of commitment that you promise to make to another human being.
To me, marriage means that you will share the same last name as the children that you create together out of love.
To be honest, I think it is sad, that society now questions marriage due to the perceived affordability, alikening it to 'just a piece of paper' and using excuses like 'we're practically married anyway'.
And, if marriage is 'outdated' then why are gay couples continuing to fight for this right?
****By the way, I thought that I should add here that I definitely don't 'judge anyone' who chooses not to marry, or who have children outside of wedlock; each to their own, and in today's society, we can make that choice and it is still supported by society.
Do you think marriage is out dated?
Why do you think views have changed so much?
Look after yourself and those around you,