When it comes to marriage, it’s clear a lot has changed in the past 50 years. Women’s roles in the home aren’t what they used to be and changing gender norms throughout society have placed new challenges on couples around the world.
With more women in the workforce than ever before, there’s less room for couples to split responsibilities in the home as they once did. Gone are the days when the majority of women stayed home with the children while their husbands went to work to provide for his beloved. Nowadays, housework is generally shared between a husband and wife, and both play an active role in raising and disciplining children.
Unfortunately, these new pressures often lead to divorce. The most recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that 118,401 marriages were registered in 2016. In the same year, 46,604 couples filed for divorce.
Furthermore, marriage in Australia is no longer restricted to people of the opposite sexes, after same-sex marriage was made legal last year. With this change, gender roles have been thrown out the window once more and over time, the definition of what a marriage means is likely to change again.
While marriage is still a meaningful way to express love between a couple, the argument that marriage is redundant in the modern age has seeped into the minds of singles and couples in recent years and sparked impassioned cries of “archaic!” and “useless!” from critics on all corners of web.
Writer Kris Gage penned an near-2000 word article for Business Insider this week claiming marriage doesn’t make sense anymore given it’s original reason for existence, to provide a home for the woman and an heir for the man, is now defunct.
Monogamy is also an issue for many couples, with infidelity the leading cause of marriage breakdowns, according to marriage.com. Polyamorous relationships — relationships with three or more people — have also seen a rise in popularity in recent years, with the younger generation in particular barrelling towards less conventional relationships at a rapid pace. While it may sound baffling to many, studies have shown that people in polyamorous relationships are just as happy as those in monogamous relationships and also have a lower rate of sexually transmitted diseases. How’s that for a bonus?!
Children are often used as a key reason for staying in a marriage, but studies have shown time and again that single parents are just as effective at raising well-rounded, perfectly functioning and polite children.
So is there still a point to marriage these days? While the divorce rate in Australia has risen over the past 50 years, it’s currently on a downward trend. In 2016, the rate of divorces fell by 3.9 per cent, or by 1,913, although the average time those people stayed married was only 12 years compared to the 12.1 years recorded in 2015.
For many, marriage is still the ultimate show of love and commitment and an important part of building a life with their partner. Whatever the case, it seems the meaning of marriage is changing for good.