Kim and Kanye are having a baby out of wedlock… is the institution of marriage OBSOLETE?
I spend many of my waking hours dissecting and over analyzing the institution of marriage; why we’re doing it, why we stay in it, why the wedding industry is a billion dollar money making machine. In fact, as girls, so many of us are raised to attain such a pursuit once we reach a suitable age and we’re led to believe the gold standard of any relationship’s evolutionary tract is marriage. We’re fed happily ever after relationship scenarios that can only be sanctified upon the filing of a marriage certificate and so we spend years searching for a soul mate counterpart with whom to tie the knot and agonize over finding the one…or do we?
According to a December 2011 Pew Research Center analysis barely half of U.S. adults are married which represents a record low and new marriages are down 5% from 2009 to 2010. Of course if you keep your eye on the pulse of pop cultural trends few Hollywood celebrities, professional athletes, rock stars and so many public figures are indeed taking the marital plunge. Case in point- Kim who has officially outed herself as Kanye’s baby mama- minus him putting a ring on it
Personally as a 39 year old woman, I know my own mother had not nearly as many opportunities as my generation does to support herself, have a baby without a partner and choose to abstain from marriage. But that was then, and this is now – it’s a brave new world and for so many women, marriage is no longer about financial security and kids, rather it’s about finding a soul mate, a companion, a best friend and a lover. And if a woman does not find those qualities in a mate, she may be more than willing to pass on the whole institution of marriage.
For me, I know my decision to marry was fueled in large part by my mother’s antiquated beliefs namely the idea that I HAD to get married. At age 18 I had to tailor my professional goals and my social calendar to pursue a career and social schedule that would be amenable to snagging a husband. My mother couldn’t fathom that her daughter might be successful without a good man to support her. And sure I could’ve resisted her attempts at matchmaking, steering me from the drama department to the more socially acceptable and fairly mainstream career of journalism (she wished for me to choose a career as a teacher but c’est la vie). However, I acquiesced because I wanted so desperately to please her and I couldn’t help but absorb her fears about my future sans a husband by the time I was 22, that choosing not to marry would ultimately thrust me into a directionless life void of any true meaning.
Under all this pressure to wed, I couldn’t conceive of a future in which I could be independent, I could support myself and that if I decided to choose a mate- it would be solely based on love, admiration and being on equal footing. So I married, and 13 years later while this marital union has stretched and transformed me in so many ways and I’m blessed to have a husband who fully supports me in any personal and professional endeavor I undertake, in the dark recesses of my mind, I still wonder about that 18 year old girl- who scoffed at the thought of being tied down to a man. If not for the parental pressure to find a husband, I still wonder if I ever would have married at all.
What do you think…. is marriage becoming an obsolete convention as we head into 2013?