The institute of marriage and family was always perceived as something sacred and unquestionable by society. However, with the development of modern technologies and ideologies that significantly increased public awareness of the negative aspects of traditional marriage, the enthusiasm began to fade. That is why young people today treat marriage and family not the way their parents or grandparents did. It is impossible to avoid changes in the field since society and its values are constantly developing and evolving (Pickard 9). Thus, it is necessary to consider the younger generation’s changing mentality when speaking about their attitude toward marriage and family. The present essay examines the way the attitude towards marriage changes over time.
The paper focuses on the differences in perception of family and marriage and how they will affect US society in the future. The essay explores the family models and values that were popular several decades ago and compares them to those that exist nowadays. People should be aware of changes in the area to understand how they will affect families, in particular, since they remain the most important part of society.
The first thing about the perception of family and marriage that is worth mentioning concerns the fact that their popularity among young adults has significantly decreased. It happened because women’s participation in higher education and employment became more active in the last three decades of the 20th century (De Coninck et al. 3). Since women became more active students and workers, their priorities started to shift from managing families and being homemakers to having successful careers. It gave the roots to the feminist movement that opposes the patriarchal structure of society. These events were a prerequisite for developing a more tolerant attitude towards unmarried people and a more liberal worldview in general.
Sociologists conducted a lot of research on several aspects of marriage, such as people’s attitudes toward them. They usually include such questions as the necessity of marriage, the attitude towards divorce, gay or lesbian marriage as well as the role of children in the family (De Coninck et al. 12). The results of the polls conducted during the past two decades clearly demonstrate that the younger generation at present is more tolerant of so-called alternative types of cohabitation. Thus, traditional marriage is no longer perceived as the only right form of marriage that exists in society today. Moreover, young people consider divorce a normal phenomenon and a good way to end the marriage if spouses do not have love or respect for each other anymore (De Coninck et al. 12). It happens because of the changing social values that now concern attention to every person’s individual goals, rights, and personal boundaries.
Apart from that, young people who participated in social polls about marriage during the 2010s had a more negative attitude towards it than those who were questioned at the beginning of the 2000s. Again, this thesis may be explained by the shift in social values and society’s adaptability to them (Pickard 9). At the same time, the family remains one of the most crucial social institutions, though it is still highly stigmatized. That is why young people are so confused and insecure about marriage and having children since they do not know what it entails. This confusion has been forming gradually since the end of the 20th century when the shift in the social perception of the family began (Pickard 9). The family now has become an institution that contributes neither to the past nor to the present social norms.
The situation is complicated by the fact that women nowadays continue to combine work and family-related responsibilities, being, in many cases, both workers and homemakers. It became possible because social norms change not as fast as an individual perception of a certain notion. Since it may be hard for people to understand and adapt to the new norm, it is necessary to raise public awareness of the changes that happen with marriage as a social institution.
Taking into consideration everything mentioned above, it is possible to conclude that people’s attitude toward marriage and family changes over time. It happens mainly because of the shifting values and new vectors in the development of society. With the development of feminism, women started to think not only about being homemakers but about their careers as well. Apart from that, the liberal attitude towards social issues that predominate in society today has become the reason for the changes. That is why the younger generation is more conscious and tolerant of marriage and the issues that are related to it. At the same time, new values revealed new difficulties that society has to keep up with. These complications are related to the fact that social norms are not as easy to change as people’s worldviews. That is why women now tend to combine the social roles of homemakers and workers, which negatively influence the perception of marriage by the younger generation, especially the girls, who may be afraid of it.
De Coninck, David, et al. “Attitudes of Young Adults toward Marriage and Divorce, 2002-2018” Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, vol. 62, no. 1, 2021, pp. 66-82.
Pickard, Sarah. “Changing Attitude towards Marriage and Family in the United States” The Journal of Undergraduate Research, vol. 15, 2017. Web.