Is an increased cohabitation rate an indication that people are rejecting marriage?
In the past, marriage was the only option for women to secure financial security. Working outside of the home was an unacceptable concept for women, and the only way to have a secure future was to find a man who could support her and then enter into a union of marriage that hopefully fulfilled the requirement of financial security. In turn, the woman gave the man children (hopefully a son) and took care of the household duties.
Men, as well, were pressured into passing on the family name and establishing a legacy, so they arranged to marry as soon as someone compatible came along. If they owned a business or a farm, they married to procreate enough children to work in the fields or help with the business. Often, too, these arrangements were made to keep status in society and combine wealth between two families. Because of this, often marriage was as much of a prison to them as it was to women. They were the ones who were responsible for earning enough money to support the household and the family, and often this stress took a toll on their health and happiness.
Today, however, these times have changed. Along with the modern era, women enjoy the benefit of pursuing an education that brings them lucrative careers that come along with financial security that they earn themselves without being reliant on a man. With this change in empowerment, women have more options when it comes to marriage. This includes staying single for as long as they want or choosing to cohabitate instead. Clearly today, marriage is not a way of security but rather a choice. This concept of female empowerment has had a significant impact on the institution of marriage.
Men, as well, are no longer pressured into marriage to uphold the family status in society or blend wealth together. They have the freedom to educate themselves, establish themselves in the workplace, and wait as long as they like to find a bride and settle down.
Of course, this does not mean that men and women want to end up alone or even have to be alone until they are ready to marry. Just today, they have more options including cohabitation instead of marriage. This gives them their freedom from a legal bond of marriage, companionship, and the right to work to secure financial security without being reliant on someone for support. "Some scholars building on the ideational changes that triggered the second demographic transition argue that cohabitation is in fact an alternative to marriage" (Leridon, 1990).
As well, cohabitation today is ...
Increased cohabitation rates an indication that people are rejecting marriage are examined.