People act like marriage is something that has held constant since our earliest ancestors, but that is just not true. Marriage is constantly changing. Once upon a time, marriage was more of a business arrangement or simply a means for survival. Women had no rights unless they were married, and were essentially owned by their husband. Many of our current wedding ceremony traditions come from these times with slightly disturbing origins.
Marrying for love is a new concept that started just a few generations ago in the 19th century. Perhaps your great-grandparents were the first in their family to marry for love. They definitely didn’t have a diamond engagement ring, as this “tradition” was started by DeBeers in the early 20th century.
In 1958, the Lovings were arrested in Virginia for their interracial marriage. In 1967, the Supreme Court overturned the convictions in a unanimous decision. Today, it seems totally normal.
In the 1960’s women’s rights started to change, and women no longer needed a husband to open a checking account or to buy a house. Divorce laws also began to change, freeing many women from bad and abusive marriages.
Now that women no longer “need” a husband for simple things we now take for granted, women are marrying later in life. Statistics show that divorce rates decline as the age of the couple at the time of marriage increases. Divorce rates also decline as education and income increase; both of which are likely to be higher when a couple marries later.
So as far as I can tell, marriage has only improved over time. Why stop it now?