In this age of instant gratification and tenuous relationships there has been a radical change in attitudes about time-honored institutions like marriage. Over the last couple of decades, marriage rates have been falling as cohabitation rates have been escalating. Compared to a generation ago when only about 10% of couples lived-in, today nearly 50% live together before marriage. Though the numbers are higher in the West, India and other Asian countries are rapidly catching up.
Living-in Seems a Far More Attractive Proposition than the Bondage of Marriage
It is a “fun thing” and partners believe in taking each day as it comes. They see no need to formalize the relationship. The standard answer given is that “neither of us is religious, and a slip of paper makes no difference to our relationship.”
Stephanie Coontz, the co-chairperson of the Council of Contemporary Families says:
Cultural acceptance and science have broken the age-old equation of marriage and child-rearing. All forms of families are claiming legitimacy and getting it.
Many tend to blame the Feminist Movement for the devaluation of marriage. Germaine Greer derided the “middle-class myth of love and marriage.” If they were caught in such a trap, they should have no qualms with breaking free.
An Indian Feminist Radha Thomas said, “Marriage is nothing else but someone else’s rules imposed on you by society. Living-in relationships are nothing out of the ordinary.”
In their book Open Marriage – A New Lifestyle, George and Nina O’Neil call marriage “…archaic, rigid, outmoded, oppressive, static and decaying,” and think monogamy should be wiped out. But long before them,