Sunday, April 24, 2011

Decline of marriage in graphical form

I have stated before that marriage itself is in a decline but most of the time, people kind of yawn, and don't pay it much attention. I suspect part of this is because we have so many problems in society as it is that one more inspires a collective yawn, especially when it seems so distant.

The blue line is the divorce rate in the United States per 1000 married women, corrected for the ordinary things such as population. We can see the divorce rate is roughly holding steady and perhaps even improving a bit. This is a red herring because as we can see, the marriage rate is in rapid and serious decline. If it continues the same decline it has been in for the last several decades, marriage as we know it will cease. Now, I don't expect it to entirely end - it will still continue to some degree among the very wealthy and the very religious. I hope to be among the latter group, if not the former!

I made an extrapolation for the year 2045. I am not worried greatly if that year is not exact, because the downward trend is what most significant. It may, and probably will be years off, and I have no idea what the next 35 or so years will hold. But this decline is going to put some incredible strains on our society and us individually.

And yet, the irony is, our society is arguably having less sex than in the '60s, even while we become more obsessed. A few guys will get a lot more, while most guys will get little if any. Girls will be pumped and dumped with greater and greater frequency and chutzpah. It does not make for a more enjoyable society except for the few alpha men and the pretty girls in their 20's and in the end, for no one at all.

In the words of Elder Neil A Maxwell, "From here on out, it is high adventure.".


  1. If the decline of marriage is related to sex, then I think that marriages need to be infused with sex! Find a way to inject excitement into marital sex because married couples who know each other's bodies well should be the most able to please each other sexually. If this is not happening, the solution isn't to scrap the whole thing and start over because it will take the new couple years to get where the old couple should have been.

  2. Better yet, have sex before marriage. And no, it doesn't take years to learn to please someone. Basic education on the sexual response of men and women would help. People who aren't raised with shame for their bodies and guilt for sexual expression don't have the same issues that puritan-like religious people have. What kind of boring sex are you having? I say, good. Let marriage decline. Its an institution started as a property agreement between two men. Women were property, to be used, not loved, and this was "God's way."

  3. That is a highly distorted version of the past. I don't condone treating women as property, but to treat such degrading circumstances as normal in the past is not correct.

    But history aside, I am talking about a lot more than just sex for itself. If the beauty is nothing more than sex and skin, then I expect you are right. I am talking about a great deal more than that.

  4. I think intimacy is the biggest issue that confronts a generation that thinks "hooking up" is not only normal, but the right thing to do. Why would you ever marry someone that you are having sex with, but not dating? Courtship seems to be less and less important, except in singles wards and BYU campuses. ;-)