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As Thoughts on Marriage Change, So Does Society’s Opinion on Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Naperville divorce attorneyEach year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) releases data collected from Americans across the country covering their feelings and opinions on a variety of family issues. These include same sex marriage, cohabitation prior to marriage, and divorce. For many, the most recently released data included a surprise. American opinions on non-marital relationships, sex before marriage, same-sex adoption, and children born out of wedlock have grown increasingly liberal. This is hardly surprising. When asked about divorce however, a majority of Americans responded that they believe it is not an acceptable solution to marital problems. Why have Americans become significantly more liberal towards alternative family arrangements, yet more conservative towards divorce? The answer is, contrary to popular opinion, that marriage in America is not dying. The meaning of marriage has simply changed.

Changing Opinions

The CDC survey does show that Americans are less worried about the stigma surrounding non-traditional relationships. When asked if it was okay for young couples to cohabitate while unmarried, 7 in 10 Americans said yes. Back in 2002, only 6 out of 10 agreed with the same statement, indicating that more Americans are accepting of what were previously considered alternative life choices. Along the same lines, Americans as a whole are more accepting of birth and raising children outside of marriage, same-sex couples pursuing adoption, sex before marriage, and same-sex marriage. To some, this growing shift away from marriage indicated that younger Americans no longer want to pursue marriage.

The survey’s results on divorce, however, indicate otherwise. Survey takers were asked to respond to this statement: “Divorce is usually the best solution when a couple can not seem to work out their marriage problems.” In 2002, 5 out of 10 Americans disagreed. Now, over 60 percent of responders say they disagree, and no longer see divorce as the best solution to an unhappy marriage. How can Americans be simultaneously moving away from traditional marriage, but increasingly skeptical of divorce?

Marriage Is More Important

While couples of past generations found happily ever after early in their life, and marriage helped them build families and find financial stability, today’s young Americans are more focused on the “after.” Marriage today is seen as a pinnacle achievement, something you only do when you have everything else in your life sorted. A recent study of young Americans showed that a majority of the younger generation believes that marriage should wait until both parties have their debt handled, have steady jobs, have finished their education, have had earlier relationships, and own their own home.

While young Americans have a long list of items to cross off before they consider marriage, addressing them is becoming increasingly difficult. Many leave college with significant student loan debt. Most young Americans can not afford to purchase a home, and many still live with their parents. Jobs, especially jobs that pay well, are becoming fewer and farther between. According to a recent Gallop poll, most millennials who have never married say they still wish to be married in their lifetime. The problem, however, is that most millennials see themselves as too poor, too uneducated, or too unprepared to get married.

Americans are more critical of divorce not because they do not like marriage in general, but because they believe marriage is so important, and that it is a bond only to be entered into if both parties are serious. Young people are not avoiding marriage because they do not believe in it. They believe in it so much that they are willing to work for years to achieve it. For this reason, they are critical of those who enter into marriage lightly and pursue divorce later.

Divorce Help You Can Count On

While no one should enter into a marriage lightly, relationships do change, and sometimes divorce becomes unavoidable. In these circumstances, both parties need experienced representation. At the Pesce Law Group, P.C., we provide quality support and care for each of our clients. Call 630-352-2240 today to learn about the solutions our DuPage county divorce attorneys have available for you.


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