What's Happening to Marriage?

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The National Marriage Project's
"What's Happening to Marriage?"

All fairy tales end when two star-struck lovers get married and live happily ever after. These tales of love and an everlasting happily ever after exist only in movies and fairy tales— not reality. The reality of marriage in the 21st century is dismal at best with 957,200 divorces in the year 2000 alone. That is 957,200 unhappy marriages, torn families, and drawn-out custody battles. What can remedy the steadily growing trend of divorce? The National Marriage Project's (NMP)claim that marriage has become less of an institution and more of a "couples relationship" (592) is accurate; however, it is inaccurate in the solutions it presents in order to remedy the marriage problem in America.

The National Marriage Project correctly identifies that marriage has already lost most of its status as a social, religious, and legal institution. It has been reduced to a "couples relationship" (592) designed purely for emotional and sexual gratification. Most Americans do not have a strong enough desire to commit to a lifelong marriage. In many minds, divorce is always an option if the circumstances do not work out. A marriage, not so long ago, consisted of a social bond, as well as a religious bond. The NMP also recognizes that marriage, among communities and religious faithful, has lost broad support. "In some denominations, clergy avoid preaching about marriage for fear of offending divorced parishioners" (593). This leads to unadvised young adults, trying to avoid marital failures themselves, searching for sound advice with no one to help Little 2

them. Legally, marriage has given way to an easily terminated contract. Early ideals of a permanent union design for procreation, protection, and love; has transformed into a temporal and easily terminated contract.

In contrast to the accuracy of the article's claim, it is inaccurate in its solutions to remedy the downward trend of marriages. The NMP lists...
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