what is marriage for anyway?

I’m always finding these articles online that get me thinking a bit, like this one, about a survey regarding the keys to a good marriage. The interesting line in the article, to me, was The survey also found that, by a margin of nearly 3-to-1, Americans say the main purpose of marriage is the “mutual happiness and fulfillment” of adults rather than the “bearing and raising of children.” and then the fact that some people/experts found this problematic.

I’m definitely behind the idea that having two parents in a loving relationship (let’s not make this a “who can be married” question, either) is likely the best environment for children; I’m just concerned when we get to thinking that raising kids is the purpose for marriage. As I look for a spouse and think about marriage (one day… :) ), I think about the possibility of children, but that’s not why I’d ultimately get married. In fact, I’ve often thought that if I hit a certain age (maybe 35 or 40) and don’t have a spouse, I’d probably adopt a child of my own.

Isn’t marriage about being in a committed relationship with someone you love and wish to share your life with? Or is this one more way in which I’ve been living a naive pipe dream? I’m also not saying that marriage is for everyone or everyone is for marriage. That’s an idea I gave up sometime during my college life. As for if I’m one of those people who’s better off single: I don’t think so right now, but I guess that’s one thing time will tell.

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One Response to what is marriage for anyway?

  1. laura says:

    Look at all these comments I’m making on your blog! :-) I read the article, and it seemed to me it was partly in the way they asked the question. If someone asked, “Should children, ideally, be raised in a stable home with two married parents?” I would say yes (regardless of gender – I’ll go there :->). But the question was more like whether children were important to a happy marriage, and for that my answer is more likely to be no, or at least not necessarily. Not every marriage needs children to be happy.

    ‘Course it depends on which culture and time period you live in. It’s only been a relatively short time since marriages began to be about love and fulfillment rather than about stability and children and larger family ties. I think some of the commentators were making a false dichotomy between “importance of children = stability, selflessness” and “children not important = wish fulfillment, selfishness.” You can work to make a stable and committed relationship whether or not there are children involved.

    And a side note: I agree! Adoption is great! And it can work for married couples as well as single people, whether or not those couples can have biological children.

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