In the days of the Scarlet Letter or Jane Eyre, you were either married by age eighteen or you were destined to be a spinster. Back then society was split into those with money and those without. Upper society used arranged marriages to preserve wealth, power and stature. Poor people often married to combine expenses and survive. Of course there are always exceptions to every rule, where love conquered all, despite all obstacles. But in general, however, you were stereotyped as being happy if you were married and sad if you were a spinster.
Now let’s look at our modern world. Marriages certainly aren’t arranged except in a few societies such as India. Is it any surprise that less people are getting married? This isn’t an omen at all. Why?
- We live in an individualistic society. Think of the career and outside interest options available to an individual in today’s world versus a century ago. More individuals than ever are finding and pursuing his or her passions. It isn’t as important to find a mate to make one “complete.”
- We live in the information age. Not only are millennials aware of the statistics of failed marriages, but also they can easily research why. Ignorance is no longer bliss. Many couples live together for years without getting married until they want to plan a family. This isn’t a question of wrong or right, but a pragmatic lifestyle between two fulfilled individuals.
- Most women who aren’t married by age 18, or upon college graduation, or before age thirty or even later don’t succumb to societal stereotyping. When’s the last time you heard the term “spinster?” Properly applied, there are an equal number of male “spinsters” but again, American society doesn’t use the term because the age when two people decide to marry is largely irrelevant these days.
- True happiness comes from within. Everyone’s DNA is different, and many times an individual’s route to happiness is also unique. But thanks to the diverse world we live in today, more and more people are happy with who they are and what they do.
I would hope that when two people do marry in today’s world, they are marrying because they have found and shared true love and know how to preserve it.
Dating for Life can lead the way.