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The GEM Debate: Does Marriage Still Matter?

walking down the aisle

Well how’s this for an eye opener on a Monday?

A new survey out by Time Magazine and The Pew research Center shows that nearly 4 out of 10 people surveyed believe that traditional marriage is obsolete. Whoa! That’ s up quite a bit from 30 years ago when just 28 percent thought the same thing. Some interesting facts from this survey :

*In 2008 about half of all adults were married; three decades ago that number was 72 percent.

*In 1960, two-thirds of twenty somethings were married. In 2008, just over one-quarter of the same age group were.

*The marriage gap tended to fall across socioeconomic lines. Those with college degrees and higher incomes tended to still see marriage as the norm. Those in lower socio-economic groups, while still wanting to marry, wanted to make sure financial security was a part of it.

Why is marriage falling out of favor among so many?

Well according to the study, shifting attitudes about the institution and about family appear to be responsible. Respondents now consider a single parent with a child a family, as well as gays and lesbians raising children and married couples without kids.

To me, it says there’s room for everyone under the tent that we call family and, as is part of our ethos at Good Enough Mother, people should do what works best for them, free of blame and judgment. If that means a big ceremony in front of a minister that ends with a kiss and a stamped piece of paper, great. If it is a deep sense of sharing, commitment and compassion without those things, then that’s great too.  Whatever the case, it’s about being true to who you are and not what society says you should be.

Okay so let’s debate.

What do you think? Is marriage obsolete? What do you think defines “family” in 2011? And how do you think marriage can become the respected institution it once was?



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