Well, the good ol' US of A just passed the 300 million population mark the other day and one thing that stands out, aside from the fact that there are a hell of a lot more cars on the road, is the fact that marriage is now on the decline. More and more people are opting to raise their families by themselvs, or live with their loved ones instead of marrying them, taking the term "till death do us part" to "Until I get sick of you and move out."
But just because the decline of marriage is a new thing, doesn't mean it hasn't been happening elsewhere in the world. For example:
To see what the future holds, Americans could look to Europe, where marriage rates are plummeting and illegitimate births are the norm—prompting widespread concern about how to promote family stability, especially for children. "We've moved from de jure to de facto marriage," says Kathleen Kiernan of the London School of Economics. She estimates that 50 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds in Europe are cohabiting. The numbers are highest, perhaps 70 percent, in Scandinavia, especially Sweden. The Swedes have even created their own term for someone who cohabits: "sambo," a word that appears on official forms besides the options "married" and "single." Another new word, "sarbo," refers to people who consider themselves a couple but live apart.
Meanwhile a survey was done in the US, which may explain why marriage in the States is suddenly in the decline. The which found that young men these days are more reluctant to get married...The authors of the study, called The State of Our Unions, said they were puzzled (What do they live under a rock or something?) by their findings, based on face-to-face group interviews with 60 heterosexual men in Chicago, New Jersey, Washington, D.C. and Houston, aged 25-33. The majority of the men are employed full-time with reported annual incomes between $21,000 and $35,000. Most have had some college or hold a BA. None of the men were married; three had children.
So they found that men are afraid to commit...did they really need a study to figure that out?
Anyway, the article went on to examine the Top Ten Reasons Why Men Won't Commit. Again, I don't think you'll find any of them to be surprising. Then again, maybe you live in a bubble.
10 Reasons Men Won't Commit
Reason 1: Men can get sex without marriage more easily than in times past. The men reported that meeting women is easy: at bars, through friends, at work, and on the Internet. Though men want to become friends with a woman before becoming seriously involved, casual sex, they said, is easy to come by (Tell me something we don't know).
Reason 2: Men can enjoy the benefits of having a wife by cohabiting rather than marrying. Men think living together is a good way to test out a marriage prospect. They also view living together as less risky than marriage. At the same time, the men in the study like the convenience of having a regular sex partner. And several said they appreciate the domestic benefits of cohabitation, and the ability to share expenses, but thought marriage unnecessary at this point in life (JUST as I suspected).
Reason 3: Men want to avoid divorce and its financial risks. Men feel that their financial assets are better protected if they cohabit rather than marry. They also fear that an ex-wife will take financial advantage during settlement proceedings (Women will only milk you for all you've got if you cheat on them. So don't cheat on them and you'll be set).
Reason 4: Men want to wait until they are older to have children. Although men understand that women worry about their biological clocks, they say they don't have to. And they don't want to be pressured into marriage by women who want marriage in order to have children (That's a pile of shit. Who says all women have baby fever? And if a woman these days really wants a baby THAT bad, she's better off going to a sperm bank. Women don't actually need marriage for that anymore).
Reason 5: Men fear that marriage will require too many changes and compromises. The men savor their freedom to enjoy hobbies, late nights out and freedom from extra financial burdens. They want to postpone absorbing extra responsibilities until they are on extra-solid footing in a number of areas (Does anyone REALLY want extra responsibilities?).
Reason 6: Men are waiting for the perfect soul mate and she hasn't yet appeared. A soul mate, the men said, is a woman who accepts them just as they are and won't try to change them. The men said they don't want to settle for second-best. In some cases, the men even said they were living with a woman who was their version of a second-best partner. These men are continuing to hunt for the perfect soul mate (could explain a lot).
Reason 7: Men face few social pressures to marry. Today's young men encounter few traditional pressures from religion, employers or society to marry. Some said they have been mildly teased from parents who want grandchildren, but most of the men said their parents are willing to help support them -- and even allow them to move back home -- until they are ready to marry (Which would explain why so many bloody men live with their parents).
Reason 8: Men are reluctant to marry a woman who already has children. Men said they feel badly if they establish a relationship with the children of a woman and then break up with the mother. They also want to avoid competition and conflict with the children's biological father. One man says that it is easier to date a woman with children if the father is entirely out of the picture (I guess this just speaks for itself, though its surprising how many single mums there are out there...so in that respect, I guess it kinda sucks).
Reason 9: They want to own a house before they get a wife. Men want to be financially "set" before they marry. For many men, this means home ownership should come before marriage. Most of the men interviewed are living with a parent, relative, roommates or girlfriends (Meanwhile its the single women like me who are buying up the property).
Reason 10: Men want to enjoy a single life as long as they can. Men fear losing their solitary pleasures by marrying, the study found. And they become accustomed to their own space and routines. They enjoy the freedom of not having to be responsible to anyone else (Oh, and women don't?).
And then this from a survey they asked men nationwide (this being the States but I'm sure it applies to Canada too):
A wise man says: "It is no surprise that young men are unwilling to commit to marry when their partners are willing to live with them and provide sexual and domestic services. The old and crude adage is still true: 'Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?'"
All I have to say to that is, Ah Ha! Bingo.
And this woman agrees:
"I have lived with my boyfriend for eight years. We share everything, but he will not take that last step and get married. If something was to happen to him today, I would be out in the cold. I have helped him establish a home, fixed it up, and take care of it, but my name is nowhere on anything."
Maybe a lot of us agree with this young lady:
"The article 'Afraid to Commit: Young Men Want to Wait on Marriage' makes all women sound like they are desperate to "hook" a man! It insinuates that this is all women live for and men have total reign over this. Please get with the times! "
I'll end on that note.