IS MARRIAGE DEAD?



When asked why all of her marriages failed, anthropologist Margaret Mead replied, I beg your pardon, I have had three marriages and NONE of them was a failure.

Why do Americans believe that one life long marriage is the only real road to happiness and success?

Marriage has changed more in the last 50 years than in the past 5,000. Yet many cling to traditions that evolved among our farming ancestors.

When our forebears began to settle permanently to the land, they began to need to cement their social ties. What better way than to wed your daughter with my son? One married someone with the right social, economic and political connections. Virginity at marriage, strictly arranged marriages, till death do us part, the belief that women are less sexual than men, and many other traditional beliefs about women, men and marriage arose.

The Greek, Roman, Chinese and early Christian philosophers and theologians regarded ones love of kin, God and civil duty as far more important than love for a spouse. Strong marital commitments were not regarded as the foundation stone of society until the 20th century.

Today love, communication and companionship have become central to a partnership. We are shedding many of our past agrarian beliefs and returning to patterns of sex, love and marriage that our ancestors practiced a million years ago traditions that are highly compatible with our ancient human spirit.

Forward to the past: this trend began with the Industrial Revolution. As men and women began to leave the farm for city work, they no longer needed to marry to maintain time honored social ties. And by 1800 more and more had begun to choose their spouses for themselves, live together before wedding, and divorce and remarry to make happier partnerships.

This Marriage Revolution continues. Today some 91% of American women and 86% of American men would not marry someone unless they were in love with him or her, even if this person had every trait they were looking for in a spouse. People in 37 other cultures agree; they want the chemistry of passionate romantic love.