Throughout the ages different people belonging to different cultures and civilizations have had a different perspective regarding marriage. An empty shell marriage revolves around the spouses coordinated daily activities, but emotional attachment is weak and psychological need go unmet. Whatever the combination of love, need fulfillment, and interdependence, intimate relationships also vary in other characteristics. Some partners make a strong commitment to a long-lasting relationship; others merely drop by for a brief stay. Feelings about the relationship run the gamut from joyful to painful, from loving to hateful- with emotional intensity ranging all the way from mild to megawatt. People and Government both, especially in United States, are concerned about the declining of institution of marriage. This decline has also affected the family structure and family formation of common households. Children who are living in a single parent family are five times more likely to be poor than the children living in two parents household (McLanahan and Julien 1998). Similarly children in a single parent household are also more likely to involve in criminal activities, substance abuse and teen pregnancy. The Bush administration in its welfare reform took some solid steps to encourage the institution of marriage. Government has allocated $ 300 million to strengthen the marriage institution and to reduce ‘out of wedlock birth’. Government is of the opinion that the marriage plus agenda of the government may strengthen the relationship and the institution of marriage and may reduce the rate of divorce.
One common notion is that married men are more productive and earn more than the people who are never married (Ooms 2002). According to the productivity hypothesis marriage do affect the earning potential of a person (Becker 1991). Married men are more prone to excel in job market while their wives take care of the household activities.
This is not completely true; in fact the reverse of it is true. This is not the case that married men are more productive and earn better wages in jobs but actually men having higher earning potential are more likely to marry (Nakosteen and Zimmer 1997). Thus, the case is married men are not productive because of marriage but actually they are married because they are more productive.
On the contrary, men being married in their teenage are more likely to get divorce. The emotional aspect related to divorce is the death of a dream to pursue a life filled with joy and happiness with a person he or she loves the most. The sentimental meltdown experienced by the occurrence of divorce leads to a perception that there is no one in the world to support them in the world after the person they loved the most has deserted them. Furthermore, such events may also beget to the involvement of the person in other undesirable activities such as addiction to alcohol and drugs to get rid of the mental stress and frustrations that have surrounded him or her because of divorce. In a nutshell, the short-term effect of a social enormity like divorce is felt by the parents, but in the long run it proves to be extremely catastrophic for the effective and proper mental development of their offspring. Thus, it is wrong to believe that married men are more productive and earn a better living than the persons who have never married.
People also believe that the institution of marriage is declining all over the world due to different social and economic forces and nothing can improve the situation. People of the present era must accept this decline and new family structure as their destiny and do not expect that any outside source (for example government) can affect and improve the situation.
The marriage plus agenda of the government just not encourage marriage for the sake of marriage; it in fact gives some financial support to the couple so that their relation would become strong enough to bear the financial burdens. The State of West Virginia currently gives $100 more in welfare payment as marriage incentive and Heritage Foundation has proposed that people who stayed for two years would get $ 4000 as government bonus (Toner 2002). Thus, marriage provides economic gains to the people which ultimately would reduce the stress from the married couple caused due to extra financial burdens.
According to a recent survey conducted by National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, about 29 percent of Americans accept that although present economic recession has put financial stress on their marriage but it has also strengthen their relation with their spouse. Similarly, the same study depicted that almost 38 percent of the couples set aside their decision of divorce due to recession (Wilcox 2011). One can conclude that, although financial burden is a real stressor for the marriage but it also helps to discover and decipher the hidden love between the relationship and the married couple feel more committed to each other.
Despite all the negative points related to marriage more than 90 percent of Americans are married. United States is considered as the most marriage prone industrial society of the world, similarly marriage rates in European societies have also been increased and stabilized (Ford 2002).
Almost 50 percent of first marriages are expected to end in divorce, which, according to some, is one of the major reasons of falling rate of marriages. People prefer to live together without marriage instead of being married and then get divorced.
Although people prefer to live together instead of being engaged through marriage but it is also true that marriage is still considered as a holy-bond and most accepted union between two people. No intimate relationship is as healthy and relaxing as marriage. Marriage provides a sense of commitment, security and a shared view of future. People, especially, in their older age do feel the importance of marriage more than the young couple. Nothing is more satisfying than a good companion and a healthy and happy family.
A recent study by Pew Research Center depicts that college educated persons are more inclined to become married than the persons who do not have a college degree (Fry 2010). This research has proved that the trend is changing because educated people in the decade of 1990s are less interested to get married at the age of 30 than people who are not college graduate. In other words, although marriage rates are declining but college graduate people are more interested in marriage institution than their less educated counterparts because they can better appreciate the advantages and benefits of marriage.
Most of the American believes that marriage provides more productivity at work, healthier life with safe sex and so marriage is the dream of all Americans (Raley 2002). If they would be provided proper economic support to get and stayed married they would love to do so. Thus, Marriage plus initiative of Bush administration would really help to strengthen the institution of marriage.