The Deterioration of Marriage in the American Society

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The rate at which marriage as an institution is deteriorating in the American society is devastating and has therefore prompted researchers to study why this is the case. According to a report by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, 47 percent of American women who give birth in their 20’s are unmarried at the time. This is just a piece of evidence of how the institution of marriage has deteriorated over the recent years. There are a number of probable causes that could have led to it. This paper therefore analyzes the cause of the deterioration in marriage as well as the effects associated with the deterioration.

Causes of Deterioration

There are several probable factors that contribute to the deterioration of marriages in the American society. One of the causes according to Andrew Cherlin is the American culture. It has been viewed to be in support of childbearing outside wedlock, same sex marriages, childbearing through short-term cohabiting relationships as well as through surrogates. This has ruined the purpose of marriage as an institution denies it the role of procreation. In short the American culture takes the larger share of the blame when it comes to answering the question what has led to the deterioration of marriage in the American society.

The alarming rates of divorce rates in the American society are also a factor contributing to the deterioration of marriage in America. Over the last few years the divorce rates in the modern American society have risen as compared to the rates in the previous two decades. There is a relationship between the divorce rates and the deterioration of marriage in America has most of the adult population who have the age considered to be the right age for marriage, shy away from marriage because they do not see the significance of marriage if after a year or two they will be part of the statistics on divorce (Cherlin 3). The rampant cases of divorces have discouraged many adults to engage themselves in anything to do with marriages. Most of them would rather engage themselves in short term cohabiting relationships or bear children out of wedlock fearing that their marriages are less likely to thrive considering divorce rates in the country. The economy also contributes to the deterioration of marriage as the financial burden tends to limit one to marrying.

Effects of Deterioration

The meaning of marriage has changed drastically especially after the recognition of same sex marriages by the Judiciary being led by the American Supreme Court which was a move initiated during former US President Barrack Obama’s tenure in office.

Deterioration has also led to the preference to marriage among American adults to decline drastically. According to Cherlin’s article, marriage in the contemporary American society has deteriorated to the extent at which adults consider it as the last thing they would engage in after they have accomplished most of their goals in live. This means that marriages have been deemed of less significance.

Causes for a Reconsideration of Marriage as Viable Option

Albeit marriage has deteriorated in the recent few years, there are reasons that have prompted individuals to reconsider it as a viable option. This can be attributed to the important role the marriage plays in the society in not only uniting the couples but also their families. Marriage has been reconsidered as a possible option due to its role in childbearing which is the sole purpose of marriages. A recent study stipulates that children raised by married couples tend to develop well and fast because of the parental care they receive from the parents. Children born out of wedlock lack the much needed parental care for a child’s development (Epstein 13).

Problems that lead to divorce or Failed Marriage

Some of the problems that lead to divorces are the lack of proper understanding of the purpose and role of marriage. Financial problems have also resulted to numerous divorce cases with couples fighting for financial resources. One might have more financial stability than the other hence probably they will tend to mistreat the other partner with a lower financial capability. On the other hand, marriages have failed because of lack of financial resources to sustain it.

Effects of Divorce on Children

Children born out of wedlock as a result of divorce tend to luck behind in terms of development (Wolfinger 9). This happens because divorce leads to the couple separation and the child ends up with one of the parents according to the agreement they engage in hence if the child remains with the mother for example, he/she would lack the parental care that the presence of a father would have provided if not for the occurrence of the divorce.


In a nutshell, the deterioration of marriage in America has come with its fair share of challenges both on the society as well as the children affected by this issue. Therefore, efforts ought to be initiated by the American government as well as the entire society to ensure that the purpose of marriages remains as it was ordained during creation.

Works Cited

Cherlin, Andrew J. "In the Season of Marriage, a Question. Why Bother?" The New York Times, Accessed 15 February 2018.

Epstein, Joseph. Divorced in America: Marriage in an Age of Possibility. Penguin Books, 2015.

Wolfinger, Nicholas H. Understanding the Divorce Cycle: The Children of Divorce in Their Own Marriages. Cambridge UP, 2005.

August 21, 2023


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