Is Marriage Today More Difficult Than It Was In The Past

Nowadays many couples don’t wonder whether they should marry or not, but rather oscillate between marriage and cohabitation. Marriage has a reputation for being hard, and is more difficult to end than a relationship where partners just live together.

The gap between healthy and struggling marriages is bigger today, and people are no longer afraid to admit if they’re having an unhappy marriage, in an era where marriage rate is in decline. For instance, 2011 was the first year in Canadian history when the number of single-person households exceeded the number of couple households with children.

If you support the idea of marriage and would like to know why nowadays it may be harder to make this institution work, consider the following facts:

People have an idealistic image of marriage in mind

If you were a fan of Disney movies in your childhood, you probably remember how most of them ended with a wedding. The truth is that weddings are just the beginning, and marriages work out well when you put effort into your relationship, make compromises, and don’t take anything for granted.

Divorce is no longer stigmatizing

Decades ago, getting a divorce was equal to scandalizing the community where you lived and destroying your reputation. Nowadays, nobody will care or publicly judge you if you separate, and breaking up becomes an easier solution compared to making things work or repairing a relationship.

People have higher or wrong expectations

What image do you have in mind when thinking about marriage? If the scenario focuses on the size of the house where you’ll live, the exact number of kids you’ll have and the places where you’ll go on vacation, you are wrong.

Once you start to associate marriage happiness with the amount of money your spouse is earning each year, you are starting on false premises. You’ll never be happy because you’ll be missing the true essence of marriage and relying your happiness on what you have, not on what you are.

Emotional connection with spouses has become more important than ever

A century ago, people rarely walked down the aisle because of love. They either did it for companionship, or for other practical reasons like protection, shelter, or food production. Having an emotional connection with your partner was a bonus you received or not, and it was fine either way.

But as people started having more free time, they began to pay more attention to the qualities a lifelong partner should have and see marriage as a self-expressive act and an essential step. Yet, if you want to enjoy a satisfying emotional connection with your husband or wife, you need to work harder.

People marry later in life

The average age of first marriage in Canada is 31 for men and 28 for women. You might say that people tend to make wiser choices when they are more experienced, but getting married later in life can work against the success of marriage. People who get married at younger ages grow and evolve together, and the differences between them are less significant. But if you are already 30 and haven’t found the one, you already have a social and financial status that your future partner needs to match and you become pickier.

Too many people around you tell you how hard marriage is

If you are happily married and not struggling, don’t be afraid to admit it. “Marriage is hard” has almost become a chorus that everyone is singing to newlyweds or fiancées, but things may be totally different for you. Just live your life together and don’t try to justify your happiness to skeptics.

About the author:

By the Couple Clinic, a company of Winnipeg therapists (www.winnipegcouplesclinic.ca).

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