Tucked in bed at 10pm last night (not sure when I became quite so elderly) I read Time Magazine’s: Marriage: What’s It Good For?. The short answer to the question is marriage is good for educated, rich people. According to this recent study, if you are financially stable and educated, you are more likely to get married (and vice versa—if you’re married, more likely to be well off and have a degree). You are also more probable to have your marriage last (divorce is declining among higher educated peeps). What else? Married folks today have increasingly similar socioeconomic backgrounds. In part because fewer dudes marry their secretaries— after all, these days more women than men graduate with college degrees.
The overall trend deduced with this study is that people now treat marriage as a last step in adulthood, rather than a first one, as our parents tended to. We wait until we’ve graduated school and found jobs before even thinking of getting hitched. I would also add (in my unscientific research) that we also try out (date, shag, fall in love with) multiple partners and focus inward on ourselves (purchase expensive educations, travel, couch surf) much longer before committing to a spouse and potential kids.
My marriage pretty much supports this research. Hubby and I have the same level of education (master’s degrees), similar fortunate socioeconomic backgrounds, and if you really want to go there we are both Canadians of British, Dutch, and Scottish heritage and our moms are both named Ann(e). We also, incidentally, both had grandmothers named Claire. Trippy. We were married at 28.5 (him) and 30. We are not, however, financially stable (thank you, graduate degrees).
Our stats mostly make us the marrying type and more likely to stay hitched with two incomes (assuming I can, ahem, eke out a living doing this whole writing thing). Apparently, we also have better conflict resolution skills and potential to outsource niggly tasks (i.e. scrubbing toilets and babysitting). Yay us! Mind you, this article never comes out and states the divorce rate. Suffice to say, our chances of staying together are very good yet marriage is still an awfully risky bet. (And, no, I don’t mean anything by that, luv).
But aside from naval gazing at our chances what I found really interesting about this article is that nearly 40% of people believe that marriage is obsolete and yet so many of us still place it high on the priority list. Two of my best thirty-something girl friends announced engagements in the last month. So I’ve been literally ogling diamond rings, testing caterers, and shopping bridesmaid’s dresses on the interweb. My ears are abuzz with Royal engagement tidbits. Marriage seems to be everywhere. (Then again—Eva, Sandra–so does divorce.) Still, despite being, personally, very skeptical about marriage, here I freakin am. So I suppose in some way, to understand our marriage value contradictions, I will have to understand myself. Eff me.
What I’ve got so far (other than true love, obviously) is that marriage still seems like the most solid platform for achieving our life goals. The whole walking together in the same direction with the wind blowing between us bit. Wait, or is it two trees growing upward in the breeze? Crap. I’m meant to recite a poem for wedding number two. Good thing I have a few months. Don’t worry, S, promise I’ll do better than that…