Marriage as an Institution in Modern Society

Purpose of Marriage

Firstly let us come to the very purpose of why the institution of marriage was created.  It was designed as a support system like a family.  This support was meant to be physical, mental and emotional. So finances played a big part in bringing in the resources required for support and stability. The parents supported the child till he/she was able to stand on his/her feet. And then the marriage brought along a partner who served his/her parents and also each other and created children for support of themselves in old age.

Marriage and Family

In India, the girl moves to the boy’s house and in a country like Indonesia, the boy moves to the girl’s house. And in many families and in many parts of the world, the couple lives in a separate house and support their families’ long distance. Earlier mostly the male brought in income into the family and the female took charge of the housework, bringing up children and take care of the elderly. Now in modern times, usually both work to bring in income and share the duties pertaining to children and household.

Marriage in Modern Life

In this modern age, the woman is realising more and more the need to explore her identity in her career and connect to her independent self and thus marriage is taking a back seat for her. Life expectancy is increasing for most and people take care of themselves in old age with less dependency on their children. The commitment required for going through the ups and downs of marriage is becoming difficult as people are today less patient and less resilient and less tolerant. With independence, a firm identity is forming in them which make them more rigid in their perspective of life and their partner. Not wanting to be tied down as per the other partner’s outlook to life, they wish to seek freedom away from the conformity of rules of family and society.

Need for variety, experiences and pleasures makes them often break rules of solemn promises made during the marriage rites. Their career goals and targets drive them more and they find less time to meet the needs, wants and desires of the other partner. Balancing career and personal life is thus becoming difficult for many as it seems tradeoffs between mind and heart.

Modern technology as the use of social media and apps have also changed how quickly we interact with others, being easy to get into relationships and also turn them off with the click of a “block” button.  Thus this sacred connectedness which actually takes a lot of give and take and time to develop is losing meaning as we find time less and less in our hands.

Marriage is in Nature

Marriage is something in nature; it is not something that society creates. Just by nature, a child comes from a father and a mother. The question is, Does society need an institution that connects the child to the man and the woman who brought them into the world, or not? Because if we need that institution, that institution is marriage.

Reconnecting with the Values of Marriage

The problem is that in current times there has been a shift in the public perception of what marriage is. The shift has focused it to the adults. It is now seen as an adult-centered institution, rather than an institution that is designed for children to be connected to their mothers and fathers. This is why being today considered just as an adult institution, the whole reason for marriage having a place in society and the law is dwindling.

What is needed to keep a marriage which is a partnership of lifelong commitment of stability is adherence to the vows of being with each through thick and thin.  That requires one to tune into qualities of acceptance, tolerance, patience honour, respect, commitment, willpower and sacrifice for the other and at the same time develop herself/himself to match the expectations of the other half. It has to happen equally from both sides in today’s times and the society has to play a larger role in intervention in cases of dispute.

Preserving Marriage in Current Times

Marriage is an established partnership for stability and security, a product of the love and attraction between a man and a woman. Married men and women are healthier and live longer, they accumulate more money, their children are happier and tend to be more successful in life, and the overall benefit to society is significant. However with the changing modern times and outlook, the way this institution is running needs an overhaul until people realise its true value and commit to keeping it alive.

No longer we can take marriage casually or for granted now that both partners are becoming independent emotionally, physically and financially in todays times. The societal bond of marriage can no longer tie them lifelong and it is only true values that will make them stick to each other. Or else this institution needs a redefinition of how it should work to adapt to modern times.

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