Sunday, November 04, 2007

Is marriage a thing of the past?


Fashion changes rapidly. Last year’s colors aren’t featured this year; shoes change in terms of materials, heel heights, and even in shape. Technology changes quickly as well. In my lifetime, cars have become far more reliable, personal communications blitzed from party line phones to internet and cellular phones, and the slide rule I used in high school is an obscure antique.

As for human relationships, a couple of millennia back, the writer of Proverbs described a man’s sons as “a quiver filled with arrows” and a wife and mother as a “prize more valued than rubies.” Just a century back, a man and woman with several children were considered fortunate, because they had plenty of hands to work in the fields and around the house.

Nowadays, many educated couples choose not to bear any children, and often they don’t bother with marriage either. The lower socioeconomic groups are still having children, but increasingly there are no husbands/fathers in the picture. Quarter after quarter, when asked to write or give a speech about their reasons for coming to post-secondary school, I hear young women in my class speak about needing a better job to pay for their children, and they struggle because they are single parents. Their male counterparts talk about livin’ in up, but say little regarding family matters. Unfortunately, children today are either spoiled or neglected, or both. That’s not an oxymoron: modern parents give children too much in order to entertain them. This is necessary so these parents can have their own time to use as they wish.

Despite having grown up in a reasonably conservative home with lots of chuch-going relations, I also have relatives who readily acknowledge that their children have a live-in lover. Although some of these go on to marry, that isn’t happening as often as it once did. Young folks are viewing marriage as unnecessary or even as an undesirable commitment. Watching parents and others battle in divorce court has contributed to this social change, but surely that can’t be the only factor!

In Trinity on Tylos, I began “in medias res”, or in the middle of the action. Instead of having my main character, Venice, meet her lover, she was already married to him and had joined the colonization mission in part to help her husband, who is the second in command. During the story, their marriage is interrupted by the complications thrust upon them by the alien Azareel, but only once does Venice even contemplate divorce. Her love is strong and she’s willing to make sacrifices for those she loves, especially her offspring.

Did I goof? Will future parents be merely genetic donors, who give their offspring to others to rear, while mom and dad pursue pleasures or careers? Will there be marriage in the future, or is that as much a part of the past as an eight track tape player?

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2 Comments:

At Nov 7, 2007, 10:52:00 PM, Blogger Sun Singer said...

After the marriage pendulum swings wildly back and forth for a while, perhaps people will see that committment is actually better than ultimate flexibility.

Malcolm

 
At Nov 8, 2007, 3:37:00 PM, Blogger Pamela J. Dodd said...

For the sake of our society and its children, I really hope so.

Hubby says if folks think divorce is bad, just let them try to settle up a bad relationship with no marriage contract and no laws governing shared property. He has had a couple of those cases and it is far worse than the big D.

Pam

 

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