Is Marriage Dying Or Just Being Reborn?

Is Marriage Dying Or Just Being Reborn?

There’s been far too much blather about the death of marriage. It’s true that there a more single people than ever before. It’s true that equality in the workplace has negated the financial need for women to find husbands. It’s true that the stigma of being single has gone way down since the ’60’s.

Yet the vast majority of people eventually get married – just at a different pace than before. According to my favorite expert on this subject, Stephanie Coontz, “Today the average age of first marriage is almost 27 for women and 29 for men, and the range of ages at first marriage is much more spread out. In 1960, fewer than 8 percent of women and only 13 percent of men married for the first time at age 30 or older, compared with almost a third of all women and more than 40 percent of all men today. Most Americans still marry eventually, and they continue to hold marriage in high regard.”

There’s been far too much blather about the death of marriage.

All the talk about smart, strong, successful women pricing themselves out of the market? Also untrue. “New research by the sociologist Leslie McCall reveals that while marriage rates have fallen for most women since 1980, those for the highest earning women have increased, to 64 percent in 2010 from 58 percent in 1980. Women in the top 15 percent of earners are now more likely to be married than their lower-earning counterparts.”

It’s no surprise to me. With education and upward mobility comes self-esteem, more options, and better decision making. A woman making $100K is less likely to marry a bad man simply for stability than a woman who has no education and two kids out of wedlock.

Finally, the old statistic that living together hurts your prospects of marriage? It’s history – at least for professional women.

“Two-thirds of couples who marry today are already living together. For most of the 20th century, couples who lived together before marriage had a greater chance of divorce than those who entered directly into marriage. But when the demographer Wendy Manning and her colleagues looked at couples married since 1996, they found that this older association no longer prevailed. For couples married since the mid-1990s, cohabitation before marriage is not associated with an elevated risk of marital dissolution.”

Any suggestion that marriage is a dying institution or a recipe for failure is based on your own experience, not on the actual facts.

As always, if you don’t want to get married and you’d rather be single, that’s your business. But any suggestion that marriage is a dying institution or a recipe for failure is based on your own experience, not on the actual facts.

Click here to read the article and share your thoughts on marriage below. Do you believe in the institution?

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Comments:

  1. 61
    Karmic Equation

    As a woman who thinks like a man, I can tell you that I wouldn’t want to marry a man whom I would have to support, e.g., makes less than I do. Why not just have that man as my bf? my LTR? or even just as my lover? I want to Keep our finances separate because virtually all the men I”m attracted to make less money than me. *I* would lose out were *I* to remarry.

    I don’t want to get married again, unless the man rocks my world in every way…and I’d have to rock his the same way. If I hadn’t already been married? I’d probably be anxious to get married.

    However, having been married…I can say with all honesty, all else being equal (chemistry, literacy, character, etc), I’d choose a sexy blue-collar guy for “nothing serious” over an average-looking white-collar man looking for a relationship. This is how a sexually liberated, financially independent woman with options think (me and Michelle, maybe a few others). This is how men who have options think (Morris, Brandon B, Chance).

    So I don’t blame men with options for wanting to stay single. I’m happy to be single for the same reason. As a single, attractive woman NOT looking for a relationship, I have more options than men…because I can have sex whenever I want to. Men have to work for that option. lol

    I think as women, we minimize our own options when we buy into societal programming that “there’s something wrong with us” and that we couldn’t possibly be happy without a man to call our own if we’re single at 40+. I’m telling all of you that you CAN be happy as long as you don’t tie your self-worth to your relationship/marital status.

  2. 62
    Joe

    @ Ruby # 62:
     
    Maybe it’s something that’s meaningful to Kiki, and unimportant to you.  Perhaps you feel that a benefit of marriage is having someone to pick you up from the airport, but maybe Kiki has a hundred friends who would be happy to do that for her and doesn’t care if her husband does it or not.  That doesn’t mean that your view that having a husband who can pick you up is not a benefit, it just means you each have other ideas of what a benefit is.

  3. 63
    Kiki

    Ruby,
    I would like to make sure you do not misunderstand me – I believe these are very significant benefits to me being married vis-a-vis my husband (the women versus men discussion), not married women versus single women.
    His presence in my life has helped me for my social status and helped me grow in an area that was important to me.  I am sure he also sees benefits in being married to me, but they are probably different than mine.  The “who makes more money/saves more expenses” is irrelenat in our case, so it should be something different.
     
     

  4. 64
    Ruby

    Joe #65
    << Perhaps you feel that a benefit of marriage is having someone to pick you up from the airport,>>
     
    Nope, wouldn’t get married for that reason either. I think I’d need something a bit more meaningful. At this point in my life, though, I’d be happy with a stable LTR or live-in situation, doesn’t have to be marriage.
     

  5. 65
    Henriette

    First, are we only talking about the US, in this blog?  The States seems to be far more marriage-minded than pretty much any other 1st-world country.  I have friends in Australia, France, Italy who remain resolutely unmarried but plan to be with their partners for life but, to quote Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University who studies families and public policy,  “…in the United States, marriage is how we do stable families.”  
     
    Even in countries where marriage rates are very much declining, there will remain traditionalists who will wed.  Marriage won’t die, but in some places it’s limping along more than it is thriving.
     
    I advise all friends to get pre-nups as too many men (and, more and more, women – why has no one come up with a clever gender-reversed version of “Cheaper to Keep Her?”) find themselves financially gouged in divorces.  However, judges increasingly throw out these documents and there is much that cannot be covered in them – for example, where I live, even if one partner paid for 100% of the family home, its value must be divided evenly in case of a split.  So, yeah, I very much agree with the men on this board who argue that marriage presents a significant financial risk to whichever partner has more assets.
     
    @Chance46 You wrote, “Of course, a woman’s income doesn’t really matter to me when it comes to being in a relationship, but if a woman wanted to get married (mix finances), then it would be an issue because of the risks involved.”  I wish that men not only believed this but also acted on it; in other words, I wish that being smart enough to make good money and responsible enough to save it counted in “the marriage game” as much as being a size 4 or never contradicting a man (because I definitely lack the second skill set).  As a woman who can absolutely pay her own way and then some, I find that what Evan constantly tells us is true: men don’t give a hoot about finding a wife who has money in the bank. 
     
     
     
     

  6. 66
    starthrower68

    Karmic there are a great many that share your mindset. Its the coarsening of the culture. Just another sign of the times.

  7. 67
    Joe

    @ Ruby #67:

    Jeez, don’t you have any concept of what an analogue is?

  8. 68
    Ruby

    Heniriette  #68
     
    <<s a woman who can absolutely pay her own way and then some, I find that what Evan constantly tells us is true: men don’t give a hoot about finding a wife who has money in the bank. >>
     
    I agree with your post until you get to that sentence. If that were true, then financially solvent, educated men would not be marrying financially solvent, educated women. But all the research I’ve read (see my earlier post), says that these are the very people who are reaping the benefits of a combined income via marriage. As Chance wrote, “…a woman’s income doesn’t really matter to me when it comes to being in a relationship, but if a woman wanted to get married (mix finances), then it would be an issue because of the risks involved.” I’m guessing there is more than one reason that people with similar educational backgrounds and finances are marrying, but it may be that men are sidestepping the financial risk by choosing more equal partners.

    1. 68.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Ruby, “I agree with your post until you get to that sentence. If that were true, then financially solvent, educated men would not be marrying financially solvent, educated women”

      Sorry, my friend, but that doesn’t hold up to logical scrutiny. You’re assuming that it’s causality – that financially solvent, educated men are marrying financially solvent educated women BECAUSE of how much money they have. My suggestion is that how much money she has in the bank is not the primary cause of why men fall in love at all. If my wife had $1M in the bank, it would just be a bonus. The fact that she was in debt when I met her – just a minor inconvenience. In general, women value men who are providers, even if they can provide for themselves. Men value women based on how they FEEL around them – the money thing is not a factor for men with their own money. And I assert that it should not be a factor for women with their own money either.

  9. 69
    Ruby

    Joe #70
     
    Don’t you have any concept of critique? Or sarcasm?
     

  10. 70
    Karl R

    Henriette said: (#68)
    “Marriage won’t die, but in some places it’s limping along more than it is thriving.”
     
     
    Adjectives like “dying”, “limping along” and “thriving” sound like qualitative descriptors to me. What you (and most of the other people on this thread) are describing is  a decrease in the quantity of marriages.
     
    I don’t think the quantity of marriages reflects on the quality. The reason people will continue to get married is because some will continue to find a qualitative benefit to them.
     
    Karl T said: (#63)
    “If i ever get married to the perfect girl for me, I would hope to be able to say that I get to live everyday and sleep everynight and share everything with a woman who touches my heart and is so thoughtful and so sweet that it is a true joy.  I couldn’t give a sh^t about it being a status symbol.”
     
    You can live every day, sleep every night and share everything with a woman who touches your heart, who is thoughtful, sweet and a true joy … without ever marrying her.
     
    What is the benefit you expect to get from marriage that you won’t get just from permanently living with her as a girlfriend?
     
    Karmic Equation said: (#64)
    “As a woman who thinks like a man, I can tell you that I wouldn’t want to marry a man whom I would have to support, e.g., makes less than I do.”
     
    My wife makes less than I do, and I don’t have to support her.
     
    If a person is capable of supporting himself/herself, you shouldn’t have to support them as a spouse (or as a live-in partner).
     
    Henriette said: (#68)
    “I wish that being smart enough to make good money and responsible enough to save it counted in ‘the marriage game'”
     
     
    It does count, but not in the way you wish. It’s not something that will make a man want to marry you. But if you have poor finances, it’s something that may make some men want to avoid marrying you.
     

  11. 71
    Karl T

    Karl R #74,
    To answer your question I guess the thing that would make marriage a part of everything I said is the fact that I want children.  I see being married and having children- having a family as a big reason to be married- at least for me.  Sure you could still do all this without marriage, but for me it is not in my beliefs.  I do know a woman who dated a guy for 20 years and had 1 or 2 kids with him (can’t remember which).  Neither one wanted to get married.  I found that odd, but to each their own.  Not my cup of tea.  However, she now has met someone after all these years and told me she might be getting married!!!  How ironic!!
    I will say this, if I didn’t plan on having children then I would consider never getting married.  However, you can never say never.

  12. 72
    Ruby

    EMK #73
     
    <<You’re assuming that it’s causality – that financially solvent, educated men are marrying financially solvent educated women BECAUSE of how much money they have.>>
     
    I don’t necessarily assume that, but I do think that when it comes to marriage, like tends to attract like. So perhaps partners are being screened very early on, even unconsciously. This doesn’t contradict your assertion that women are drawn to men who can provide for them, even if they don’t need the assistance. It also doesn’t contradict your assertion that men value women who make them feel good. Studies of online dating sites have also shown that, even though people may claim they are open to dating those from different backgrounds, they tend to choose partners with backgrounds that more closely resemble their own.
     

  13. 73
    Fusee

    I think it’s impossible to generalize why men (or women) decide to get married. Sure, men value how they feel about a woman, but for many men, feeling good is not convincing enough. For most men, marriage is the mandatory step to fatherhood and that’s what make them enter a marriage.
     
    Men who do not want children – or who are ambivalent about it – will need other incentives to enter a marriage, and those will depend on their personality and goals:
     
    If he values social status and marriage would be positive for his career, he will marry.
    If he value financial security and sees power in teamwork, he will marry.
    If he values growing old with someone with whom he can remember the same crazy adventures, he will marry.
     
    And the kind of woman each of these men will choose will depend on their goal. For the man looking for a mother, her finances are no big deal if he earns a decent income. For the man who does not care about fatherhood, finances are going to be more important. Of course the same kind of reasoning would apply to women. Some women will value marriage per se, while others will need more incentives to tie the knot.
     
    My man asked me out because he wanted to f*ck me. He continued dating me because I made him feel good. He married me because he wanted to continue to f*uck me, because he wanted to continue to feel good, and… because I bring SO MUCH MORE to the table than sex and good feelings. For him who is the kind of man who values security, he made me his wife because I am safe at all levels. But a crucial one is my financial responsability.
     
    So saying that men don’t care about their woman’s finances is true for some but wrong as a generalization. If I did not bring a good financial situation and a compatible frugal mindset to the table, my man would not have married me. But he sure would have dated me long term, to continue to f*ck me and to feel good around me.

  14. 74
    Tom10

    This has been an interesting discussion with some fine points raised, although I’m not sure how useful dissecting the different statistics on the issue is: one way or another it’s reasonable to conclude that most people still want to get married.
     
    From a purely logical rational level I can see where Tom T, John, Chance, etc. are coming from – I can see how it’s bonkers for a man (with options) to get married. He can get practically all of his needs met whilst not married, along with minimum risk. By getting married he might get one or two more needs met, but takes on enormous risk and responsibility as a price.
     
    Yet most men with options choose to get married so there’s obviously a reason they do. Apart from Karl T’s reason (kids) I think there must be a deeper instinctive compunction for humans to pair-bond in a manner that is officially recognised by their society.
     
    I’ve never understood how logical, intelligent people believe in God, yet the majority of the world’s population purportedly believe in God. I’ve concluded that there is probably an instinctive desire for most humans to believe in something greater, even if it collides with cold logic.
     
    Like this belief in God, I think there will always be an underlying instinctive need for most people to get married and that it will remain a central institution in our society for some time to come.
     
    Personally I’m ambivalent on the issue – I don’t know if I do or don’t want to get married. 
     
    Starthrower68 #69
    “Karmic there are a great many that share your mindset. It’s the coarsening of the culture”
     
    I disagree. I see it as the improving of the culture – the increasing freedom for individuals to express themselves as they wish. I suppose it just comes down to our different value systems. Who has the better values? I guess time will tell.
     
    Fusee # 78
    “If I did not bring a good financial situation and a compatible frugal mindset to the table, my man would not have married me.”
     
    I agree: I think it’s imperative that people choose those with similar financial mindsets. As a fellow frugal type the mindset of spending without thinking of the consequences horrifies me. I went on a date with a girl with this mindset once and I ran as quickly as I could. The only exception would be those who enjoy working in order to spoil their partner I suppose.

  15. 75
    Kiki

    Fusee,
    I like your analytical style.  You break down the decision making process into distinctive parts, kind of like the pieces to a mosaic.
    I am like you in many ways, even though I married younger (28) and I am now older than you (40). May be this is the reason I am projecting my own lack of spontaneity to you…  Please forgive me in advance if what I say next irritates you – but I think I have to tell you.  I am under the impression, from reading older posts from you, that you had marriage as e personal goal, you found someone who meets your expectations for a life-time partner, you presented your best self to him (and made him feel good), and then you started waiting for the proposal to come. You probably also had some sort of conversation in which you let him know what your expectations are.  You were ready to leave him if he would not marry you.
    From this, I get the impression that you were working hard to be marriagable (I guess this from the active use of “I make him feel good” – like I know exactly what to do to make him feel good and I do it repetitively), and the words “I bring so much more to the table”.
    Now that you are married, you probably feel very good about it.  I personally was esctatic when I got married, having dated my boyfriend for 5 whole years before that. We were long past the butterflies-in-the stomach phase, we knew each other very well, but equally importantly, I was so relieved that I do not have to go back to the dating pool and start from scratch.
    So I wanted to ask you, don’t you think that it should not be so much hard work? And what is the personal prize for you – or to use better words – what is it in being married that brings joy to your soul?
     
     
     

  16. 76
    starthrower68

    At Tom10, I think we are already seeing the fruits of our values in society. I expect a non- believer to find the cultural condition to be good and right.  I also expect a non-believer to find my values and world view archaic, simple minded, foolish, etc. Those us who are believers were warned centuries ago this was coming.  Nothing new under the son. But I digress as this is not the forum for that discussion.

  17. 77
    Fusee

    Hi Kiki #79,
     
    I would not say that I had marriage as a personal goal, but as a goal if I were to enter a loving relationship with a man. Basically, I had two possible goals: living a happy single life or living a happy married life. After years of undefined LTRs, I was done with the hello-goodbyes every few years, so that was out of the questions and made sure to not go there anymore.
     
    Since I did not know where life would take me, I worked on my two possible goals simultaneously. I obviously worked a bit harder on the single life goal since I consider it the default one: no one is entitled to a relationship, and most women end up single in old age anyway.
     
    You’re somewhat right that I “worked” at being marriageable, but more in the sense of becoming a good wife rather than at just trying to get a proposal. Marriage is not the end, it’s the beginning, right? It’s a licence, not a degree. The reason why I had to work both at being good a the single life and at becoming a good wife was simply because I sucked at both. I had always been in a relationship before I took a well-deserved and necessary break, and I was always unhappy. I had to develop my inner happiness and learn how to cultivate it, and I had to develop relatiosnhip skills such as understanding what compatibility is and what healthy communication entails, and I had to define my goals and boundaries and learn how to explain and enforce them. So sadly, yes I had to do some work! I know people who are “naturals”: people who end up effortlessly in a happy and healthy relationship. I was not one of those : ) But now that the work has been done, it’s become totally natural. I’m a born-again natural. Ah!
     
    The reason why I wanted to make a life-commitment IF I were to meet the right partner was because although I was certain of being able to continue being happy as a single woman, I really prefer living my life with a teammate. The idea of “being in it together” appeals to me: with the right partner, joys are multiplied while sorrows are divided, health improve, wealth increase, goals are reached faster, etc. The key is to be compatible and willing to make the small sacrifices required to enjoy the benefits.
     
    As I wrote @9, my reasons to desire marriage versus a DIY life commitment are very specific to my and my husband’s situation, and would have been different in a few years and in a different country. I also remain prepared to go back to the single life if needed. It will very likely happen since women tend to outlive their husbands, but in the meantime anything can happen, really.
     
    Now, to answer your question: what brings me joy in being married to my amazing husband is not the marriage certificate, it’s our deep love, our wonderful relationship, and our solid commitment. We are not trying anymore. We are not assessing each other anymore. We are family. We are going to enjoy the good stuff together and deal with any crap that comes our way together as well. And it brings me so much joy to make him feel good, to see him happy because of a small thing I did for him. It’s priceless!

  18. 78
    Julia

    @ Fussee #81
    The reason why I wanted to make a life-commitment IF I were to meet the right partner was because although I was certain of being able to continue being happy as a single woman, I really prefer living my life with a teammate. The idea of “being in it together” appeals to me: with the right partner, joys are multiplied while sorrows are divided, health improve, wealth increase, goals are reached faster, etc. The key is to be compatible and willing to make the small sacrifices required to enjoy the benefits.
     
    This is why I want to get married!

  19. 79
    Chance

    @ Julia and Fusee
    “The reason why I wanted to make a life-commitment IF I were to meet the right partner was because although I was certain of being able to continue being happy as a single woman, I really prefer living my life with a teammate.”
     
    You do not need to be married for that, and getting married offers no additional assurance of living your life with a teammate that you love/loves you. 
     
     
    “The idea of “being in it together” appeals to me: with the right partner, joys are multiplied while sorrows are divided..”
     
    While you may very well be right that joys are multiplied and sorrows are divided with the right partner, that is entirely independent of marriage.
     
     
    “…health improve(s)…”
     
    Do you have evidence of this?  Also, please don’t cite those poorly-conducted studies that show that married people live longer than single people because they erroneously assume that correlation equates to causation (i.e., getting married causes people to live longer).  Is there something about signing a piece of paper that automatically improves your vitals and possibly even adds years to your life?
     
     
    “…wealth increase(s)…”
     
    I can only assume that you’re married to/planning to marry a man who makes as least as much or more than you because your wealth/standard of living will certainly not increase if you marry someone who makes materially less than you.
     
     
    “…goals are reached faster, etc.”
     
    That depends on your goals and who you marry.  If your goal is to increase your wealth by marrying someone who makes more than you, then yes, you need to be married for that.  Anything else can be accomplished independent of marriage.

  20. 80
    Cat5

    Chance @ #83: “You do not need to be married for that, and getting married offers no additional assurance of living your life with a teammate that you love/loves you. ”
     
    You may not need the things you described in the quote above, and that’s fine for you.  Others may need them, and that’s fine for them.  What assurances a person may need in a relationship varies from person to person, and relationship to relationship.

  21. 81
    Julia

    @Chance
    Why the eff do you care if people want to get married? WE GET IT you loathe marriage, most people don’t. Get over it.

  22. 82
    Fusee

    @Chance #83:
     
    I totally agree with you that marriage is not necessary to benefit from all the items that I listed! A DIY life commitment would be just the same. However, who chooses a DIY commitment rather than a marriage? Gays who can’t yet get legally married in their state, some people who are into alternative lifestyles, and… my mom! She and her partner “married” privately without any legal papers, because marriage would be detrimental to them in their specific situation. They would have to write a ton of other legal documents to undo what the marriage certificate would impose to them. Not too useful!
     
    The reasons why *I* personally chose marriage are explained @9. Let’s repeat that if I were in a different age range and living in a different country, I would probably make a different choice, depending on my partner’s preferences of course. But I would still request a declaration of life commitment in front of our loved ones, after having carefully assessed our compatibility and ability to carry on the responsabilities of a life-long relationship.

  23. 83
    Henriette

    @KarlR re “Adjectives like “dying”, “limping along” and “thriving” sound like qualitative descriptors to me. What you (and most of the other people on this thread) are describing is  a decrease in the quantity of marriages.”
    ——
    Yeah, I can see how you might have misunderstood my words as descriptive of the quality of individual marriages but if that’s what I meant, I would have written, “Marriages are limping/dying/thriving.”   Instead, I was using the same language used by EMK in his initial question: Is Marriage Dying?

  24. 84
    Kiki

    Fusee,
    It was fascinating to see that you have a lyrical side besides the analytical side.
    I believe it is the romantic expectation that life could be better as a couple, together with the pride we take in proclaiming ourselves to be “the chosen one” for each other that makes us want to get married.
    After that, life happens, and some expectations are met, while others are not.  When I was reading your decription of how you worked to become a better [future] wife I remember the changes that I had to cultivate in myself in order to be more compatible to my husband.  Probably he did the same thing, the fact is, I am much more aware of the effort I made, and his efforts I probably underestimate.  I wish you the best of luck, and to keep the high level of enthusiams you have for each other forever!
     

  25. 85
    Fusee

    @Kiki #88: Thank you and good luck to you too! I find really valuable to read comments and advice from people who have been married for a long time, because this is from you guys’ experience that I can continue to learn about what works and what does not work on the journey of building and nurturing a solid, healthy, and happy marriage. For me it’s not so much about trying to keep a high level of enthusiasm at any price (I think it’s impossible), but about accepting the natural ups and downs of the relationship, and becoming skilled at reviving it after a down. I’m on the market for that kind of advice : )

  26. 86
    Tom T

    Karl 59: Here is the data, people can decide for themselves.
    1) 96.6 million: Number of unmarried Americans 18 and older in 2009. This group comprised 43 percent of all U.S. residents 18 and older.
    2) 53%: Percentage of unmarried Americans 18 and older who were women.
    3) 61%: Percentage of unmarried Americans 18 and older who had never been married. Another 24 percent were divorced, and 15 percent were widowed.
    4) 16.2 million: Number of unmarried Americans 65 and older. These older Americans comprised 17 percent of all unmarried and single people 18 and older.
    5) 88: Number of unmarried men 18 and older for every 100 unmarried women in the United States.
    6) 52.5 million: Number of households maintained by unmarried men or women. These households comprised 45 percent of households nationwide.
    7) 31.7 million: Number of people who lived alone. They comprised 27 percent of all households, up from 17 percent in 1970.

    Source for statements in this section: America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2009 < http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2009.html> Tables A1 and A2

    And while we’re talking about what’s going on in other developed nations, here’s a look at the UK Census from 2011, where married households turn up in the minority for the first time:
    http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/dec/11/census-2011-marriage-single-adults

    And the same US Census data from 2011, with direct links to each stat, if you want to get more “granular” and check out the excel spreadsheet. You can see how the number of singles grew both in absolute and relative terms in just two years:
     
    1) 102 million: Number of unmarried people in America 18 and older in 2011. This group comprised 44.1 percent of all U.S. residents 18 and older. Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2011
    <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2011.html> Table A1.
    2) 53%: Percentage of unmarried U.S. residents 18 and older who were women in 2011; 47 percent were men. Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2011
    <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2011.html> Table A1.
    3) 62%: Percentage of unmarried U.S. residents 18 and older in 2011 who had never been married. Another 24 percent were divorced, and 14 percent were widowed. Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2011
    <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2011.html> Table A1
    4) 17 million: Number of unmarried U.S. residents 65 and older in 2011. These seniors comprised 16 percent of all unmarried people 18 and older. Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2011
    <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2011.html> Table A1
    5) 89: Number of unmarried men 18 and older for every 100 unmarried women in the United States in 2011. Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2011
    <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2011.html> Table A1
    6) 55 million: Number of households maintained by unmarried men and women in 2011. These households comprised 46 percent of households nationwide. Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2011
    <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2011.html> Table A2
    7) 33 million: Number of people who lived alone in 2011. They comprised 28 percent of all households, up from 17 percent in 1970.
    Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2011
    <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2011.html> Table H1 and HH-4

  27. 87
    Kiki

    Fusee,
    to my mind the downs are less scary than the routine, but you are still too newly wed for that. Orherwise, for the downs – i have two recipes:
    – the best way to win a battle is not to enter it. Avoid conflict as much as possible
    – say sorry even if you are not. It means that you value the relationship more than the particular discussion
    By the way I find these to be useful guidance in all my relationships not just with my husband.
    For a person like you who extends a lot of energy to make the other feel good the risk is in getting depleted. I wished you enthusiasm because you need to be somehow inspired to contnue this for the long haul. I do find pleasure in making the other person feel good too,  it is a very rewarding experience but gets tiring… 

  28. 88
    Sparkling Emerald

    Kiki 91 “Avoid conflict as much as possible”
     
    Hi Kiki, if by that you mean to pick your “battles” carefully, then I tend to agree.  Let go of the small stuff.  However, when you agree to spend a lifetime with another person conflict is inevitable.  Learning how to manage the conflicts in a civil manner is key, not avoidance.  My ex is a passive-aggressive conflict avoider, NOT GOOD. Things were fine for the first 10-12 years, than I found out that he was angry with me about all sorts of things, and he never gave me a chance to address them, because he “didn’t want to deal with it”.   The last guy I dated showed signs of being the same (failed to tell me he was a pot smoker because I let him know up front that was a deal breaker, so rather than deal with the fact that there was a conflict, he chose to withhold the info)  I ran for the hills after that.  It was more about his avoidant style than the fact that he occasionally got high at that point.  

  29. 89
    Peter 61

    @Sparkiling.  You are so right about passive aggressive avoidance.  Harmony is impossible in such situations.  Bringing the truth to light is always better.  I am so relieved to have found a woman who expresses herself directly.
    ——————————————————————————————
    On the main theme, it is useful to note that marriage has always been going out of fashion.  Here is Hamlet, in a mood of deep depression, telling Ophelia, also depressed (& arguably schizophrenic) that marriage is a doomed business.  If she marries virtuously, she’ll reproduce more failures like Hamlet (from earlier in the scene).  Anyway, wise men (wise in the opinion of the deeply depressed Hamlet) know that through marriage women will turn men into monsters.  Better to stay unmarried.  So, men avoiding marriage is not exactly news.  Ophelia, for those who don’t know Hamlet, commits suicide after this (self harm amongst adolescent girls/young women isn’t new either).  Despite talking about suicide himself, Hamlet dies in a fight.  A nunnery could mean a brothel as much as a convent.  A nun is a single woman neither in her parent’s household nor working as a servant.  The double entendre is just another torture of Ophelia by Hamlet.  On the whole, avoid deeply depressed members of the opposite sex for dating. Don’t worry about the men who reject marriage.  They’ve always been there.
    If thou dost marry, I’ll give thee this plague forthy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure assnow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to anunnery, go: farewell. Or, if thou wilt needsmarry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enoughwhat monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go,and quickly too. Farewell.

  30. 90
    Tom T

    EMK 53: You’re kidding, right? This lame NYT op-ed piece is the “research” that you’re hanging your hat on?

    (EMK – Yes, with a reminder that just because it’s an op-ed piece doesn’t mean that the facts are her opinions. Feel free to click on the links in the article for access to the studies. Just seems like you don’t like the facts, Tom.)

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