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Marriage Outdated Institution Essay

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Marriage is a wonderful institution, but it is because people are marrying for the wrong reasons ( lust, money, convenience) that people lose faith in it. Marry for love, thats the way it was meant to be. It's not marriage that is outdated, it our misunderstanding of the this wonderful institution that causes us to avoid it like a plague.
Rodney Lew, RSA

I am divorced. The laws on divorce are, quite frankly, so biased in favour of the wife that she can if so minded behave badly and still receive everything. If people knew how awful divorce was they would think much more carefully before committing themselves. Moreover, the institution of marriage, which is the best and most natural way to bring up children, should be defended by the State especially when the collapse of marriage causes so much expense in Child Support and Legal Aid areas alone. I feel that a subsidy through taxation to those prepared to commit themselves to each other is right plus some form of legal protection to those in the marriage from the assaults of third parties.
William, Ukraine

Marriage is an outdated institution and it is becoming more and more evident by the day that divorce is proof of that. Oh, yes, there are some happy marriages but they are few and far between. The role of the male has been destroyed and a man cannot support a family like he used to be able to. The two most important aspects to marriage are sex and money. Women want babies and then for the husband to pay for them. After that, the men have served their purpose. The old-fashioned values that kept society stable have been replaced by materialism and sexuality. People regard marriage as a place to walk out of if they cannot get along. And, since couples are divided over such things as money and who should control that, marriage is a 'flop'.
Dave Adams, USA

Rene Chamorre, United Kingdom

Let's all make divorce much harder - then maybe people won't be pushed into such an outdated concept as marriage at all. Commitment comes from within not from a scrap of paper!

Children would grow up to respect marriage more if they were taught that marriage is a sacred institution which deserves respect. If they grow up seeing the system being abused, then we cannot expect children to have a serious attitude and understanding of this institution. Teach your children to understand the nature and reason for marriage and they will grow up to respect it.
Katie Cooper, UK

The sad fact is that in this day and age marriage is an outdated institution, and is not vital for raising healthy well-balanced children. Staying single is a much better option as people have realised and it is ridiculous to think that you can spend your life with someone when there are so many other people out there for you. There is no such thing as one person for everyone, for life.
Joanna Fisher, Ireland

Marriage is nothing more than an ancient ritual whereby the participants promise to be faithful to each other. What's wrong with that? Divorce is just as ancient as marriage, giving people a way of getting out without breaking their promise. The trouble is because divorce has been condemned for the past hundred or so years and there have been so many painful marriage endured longer than necessary, marriage now has a bad press.
Martin Redden, UK

Marriage is not outdated. It may have several valid alternatives in modern society but is still relevant. It doesn't need to be religious in nature, my marriage was a civil ceremony by choice. However, I feel that too many people get married because it seems to be the "correct thing" to do and then when they find out it was a mistake, have to go through divorce proceedings. Perhaps if there was a requirement to live together for two or three years beforehand, there would be less divorces because basically incompatible people would not last the two years, or would at least know that marriage was not right for them.
David H, UK

Marriage is definitely not out dated. People say that it is just a piece of paper. It is more than that it is a partnership that takes a lot of hard work and effort on both parties to keep it going. By getting married you say that you are committing yourself to that person to the rest of your life and this should not be taken lightly. Living together is a cop out you can leave if it doesn't work out. Marriage it isn't so easy. I think that today people want the easy option. Commitment isn't a word that you hear much of.
Aem, USA

Marriage is obviously NOT the 'cornerstone of society' in THIS society. But that is NOT to say that 'the institution of marriage is dead'. Society evolves - or, if 'evolves' implies 'improves' - at least it changes. if society changes one way, there's absolutely nothing to stop it changing the other way. I'd like to see individual people: couples, both heterosexual and homosexual, and other groups of adults (perhaps trios, perhaps larger groups) deciding whether or not to make a public commitment each to the other(s) just because they WANT to, and NOT because the media, or their families, or 'society' says they should or they should not. Individual people make choices, and it is the mark of a mature society that we (as a whole) do not feel threatened by any of these individual choices.
Milind, Scotland

Marriage is the basis for a stable society. Whilst by no means perfect - nothing and I mean nothing that exists in its place has been shown to be superior to this commitment both for husband and wife themselves and more importantly for the secure upbringing of the children.
Tony O'Sullivan, Ireland

Responsible commitment is absolutely essential to society, not only in raising children, but in all aspects of life. The promise to faithfully love and support a spouse regardless of the trials we go through can never be outdated. If we view that fundamental promise to those we most love as outdated then we can't expect anyone to keep any promise.
Joseph Klewicki, United States of America

Marriage as a commitment is not out-dated, but marriage as an 'institution' is. People are always going to commit to each other as life-long partners - that's just marriage but without all the palaver. As an institution it has traditionally been a raw deal for women - in fact Jo Brand once said "they say marriage is an institution. Well, so is Borstal".
Wendy, UK

These days, judging by the statistics, it doesn't seem to add a great deal of stability, but I'd still advocate getting married. It feels to me like more of a "family contract". We got hitched privately and told our friends and family later. I'd ban the hoohaa and make it private and administrative. Who needs all the pomp? Marriage isn't an event, it's a life choice. Too many end up as quick fixes in today's fast-food society.
Hamish Thompson, UK

Marriage originates from Biblical times and Jesus himself in Matthew 19 stresses its importance, v6, '..what God has joined together, let man not separate'; these familiar words from the marriage service were actually said by Jesus. Many people think that what Jesus said has little relevance for today, but that again is a symptom of the times. We have a choice to either hold to moral values that originate from God or reject them, and Him. Its as simple as that.
Stephen Trew, UK

Not according to my girlfriend it's not.
Mac, UK

Marriage, and the fierce social pressure to marry, created an institution whereby men and women were "stuck" with partners who were alcoholic, or drug addicts, or who "disappeared" for months on end leaving their families in poverty. Contemporary attitudes about co-habitation, single parenthood, etc. have given men and women recourse to righting what has gone wrong in their marriages. Men can fight and win custody of their children. Women work outside the home and can be financially self-sufficient. None of this invalidates the institution of marriage, but it makes it only 1 choice out of many possible choices for contemporary men & women.
Mary Alix, USA

Marriage should be preserved. There are too many people jumping onto the bandwagon and saying it is outmoded etc. It should be treasured and taken seriously, especially in this unstable world we all live in.
RL, England

Marriage is outdated because it is presented as the only alternative to being single. A civilised society would offer options to suit the temperaments of individuals who neither wish to stay single nor commit to only one person for the rest of their lives. The various sorts of polygamy or serial relationships offer this alternative. They are not ideal for everyone - but neither is monogamous marriage. Until society accepts them as just as valid as lifelong coupledom, they will remain the exclusive preserve of those who are prepared to live outside the narrow range of valid relationship options that most people force themselves to live with.
Richard Lyon, UK

Marriage has its problems, but is still far more stable than the alternatives.
Pete Cook, UK

Marriage in law must be distinguished from marriage in religion. In law, marriage provides a financial incentive for the poorer partner to marry and divorce the richer. Any law which positively encourages partners to separate in this way is immoral. Equally, any law which dictates the following of a particular religion is immoral. I see no place for marriage outside of religious beliefs, and would therefore abolish the legal institution, leaving only the religious practice.
Michael Bryant, England

Having been married for just 8 weeks, I can safely say that I believe marriage is not outdated. I see it as the ultimate commitment a couple can make to each other and I treat the vows with much respect even though I am not particularly religious.
Emma H, England

I believe that if we do away with the traditional values of marriage our children will suffer. Couples need to be educated on how to get along with one another and compromise. Premarital courses should be mandatory and courses should be accessible through all churches to improve relationships before it is too late. Without teaching people about commitment our children will grow up callous. The impact will leave us one step away from being predators of the wild.
Neil Goodson, U.S.A.

No it is not outdated; the need for it is greater than ever these days, when so many children lack a stable, reliable and loving home life. It is sad that the Church of England and many other so called Christian denominations have rejected God's Word and His commandments in so many ways (eg. homosexuality, divorce, Sabbath breaking, denying the Virgin birth, the Resurrection etc). Small wonder that they are not listened to on any matter, if they don't believe what they are supposed to believe. If they return to God and the Word of God fully, then they will speak with authority.
Philip Hare, England

I just got engaged and I think it's the most important step in my life. I feel so happy and satisfied about it, that I'm sure that it is not an out-dated institution!
Jaap van Reijendam, USA

My partner and I (both aged 21) married just 2 months ago. We certainly intend to be together forever, and to work as a team to ensure that this happens. Our wedding day was the best day of my life!
Sarah, England

A stable, loving relationship is, obviously, something that most people aspire to. Not only does this provide, comfort, companionship, sex, etc., but it provides the ideal environment for raising children. The commitment to such a relationship is marriage, whether religious or secular, and I wholeheartedly support this. The pressures for divorce come from two main areas: successive governments reducing the legal status of marriage; and the, continuing, pressure from employers for individuals to put their jobs before all else.
Barry Midgley, UK

Marriage was fine in a world of housewives, children and a social community. Now with modern nation's suicidal work ethic people don't have enough time for themselves, yet alone to commit to a loved one, especially when they are working just as hard. Sad but true.
Geoffs, UK

The question is wrongheaded. The real issue is can a man and a woman stay together for life which is the marriage ideal. Perhaps our society's insistence on seeking individual self-satisfaction as the ultimate achievement and objective in life should be shown up for the lie that it is and destroyed for the sake of healthy life long monogamous relationships.
Warren, Sweden

The effort by Church and politicians to pressure people into of marriage is social bullying. What about the rights of those who don't profit by the financial, social and legal privileges of marriage? It is a homophobic, coercive institution propounded by those who fear that only a marriage certificate will keep them together with their partner.
Dr Booth, Britain

I am still single, but I feel the only difference between the couple life of animal and human life is marriage. Marriage helps us to organise our lives with a high ideal of morality to build up a stable family.
Saifur, Japan

Marriage is not outdated, it's about getting expectations right. In the past people married for life, sticking together either when they hated each other or were bored to tears. There was a terrific (and I do mean terrifying!) sense of duty and compromise. But in a way the expectations were realistic - the fantastic sex and passion was not going to last forever. Nowadays, our definition of happiness is having lots of sex, having that 'loved-up' feeling permanently, and not having any problems juggling career, debts, children, love life blah blah blah. Maybe we should be more French about it and chuck in the odd affair to spice things up!

Marriage is purely a statement to others these days- not to your partner. One does not have to take vows or be legally joined to their partner to want to spend the rest of their lives together.
Paul R, UK

The trend toward a lack of commitment and easy solutions has become a sign of the times. People no longer are willing to strive to overcome their obstacles. Generally speaking, today's culture (world-wide) particularly in so-called industrial, developed nations has become so self-centred that individuals put themselves above all others and are unwilling to sacrifice. The individual has elevated himself/herself to a god-like position and they worship themselves above all else . . . above their children, their neighbour, their countrymen, and their spouse. Europe and America are in a state of moral decline and decay and infidelity are merely symptoms of a larger problem.
Keith Crosby, USA

Marriage is not an outdated institution. Although there is a growing trend to avoid responsibilities and commitment, marriage, as an institution will always survive. Those who prefer to live a "carefree" lifestyle will, in due course come to regret doing so, once they reach their 40's. Marriage provides sanctuary and security and provides the ideal surrounds and environment in which to raise children. It is a shame that those who should be setting examples are too selfish to commit themselves and share the responsibility of raising the next generation. The governments shy away from the entire issue and by reducing tax incentives such as married couples allowances etc, are only helping to destroy the concept of marriage, a cornerstone of a healthy and civilised society.
Mohammed, UK

Marriage is not something that we can throw away. It has proved to be stable in the past and we cannot afford to make it disposable, like everything else is the world. Marriage is sacred, it needs to be protected. Divorce laws need to be tightened so it is not so easy to just walk out of a marriage. People need to realise the value in committment and working through things, not just running at the first bump. I admire and agree with the church for taking a public stance on this matter. People need to sit up and take notice of what is going on in our nation concerning such an important issue.
Amy Devlin, Britain

Marriage is till an important institution, but as society changes, the details of what marriage means may change also. Today, there is still an advantage in making some kind of commitment to each other before raising children, for example. However, a woman is no longer merely an adjunct to a man; she can exist independently and on her own terms. What is definitely outmoded, however, is the concept of having to live our lives according to a set of values based upon ancient religious principles. It is the church which is the out-moded institution.
Rik G, UK

The problem now is that young people do not want to get married because they have seen their parents marriages either end in divorce or stick together for the sake of the children . We don't have good examples in our lives of stable happy marriages so most of my generation do not want to get married. Most of my friends and myself only consider marriage necessary when you start to seriously consider children (I'm 24ish). WE do not want to put our kids through their parents divorcing so we are choosing not to have kids so we are not going to get married either !!
JG , Scotland

I got married last year after being with my partner for 9 years. The ceremony (civil) and whole day was just great fun. Being married doesn't make any difference to the relationship, but does seem to make a statement of intent, or commitment, a commitment that would have been there anyway without a public declaration. Religious vows and all that pomp don't have any effect on the longevity of a relationship. Getting married is just a fun day out, a mature attitude to ones relationship is the only thing that counts.
Graeme, England

Marriage gives an overwhelming sense of security and support - something, that an 'open' relationship just can't match. I have personally found that it also predetermines a kind of 'respect' from third parties. I'm looking forward to growing old with my husband and, when I listen to my single friends' worries and troubles about their latest relationship, am so glad I'm no longer on the dating scene!
P. Dobree-Carey, Switzerland

No, marriage is not an outdated institution, but the modern environment and lifestyle in which we live is both stressful on relationships and does not actively support marriage as 'the thing to do'. In the 90's it's all about pleasing yourself, being hedonistic - all of the responsibility and commitment of family life is not desired by people any more. A stable marriage is key to bringing up children in a secure and environment. Yes single parents can cope, but at the end of the day, nature says we all have a mother and a father to bring us up.
David, UK

Marriage is as outdated as society wants it to be. I cannot believe that there is no link between the selfish society in which we live today, where values and attitudes are so superficial, and the failure of people to commit time and energy to building lasting and committed relationships in marriage. People who spend time on their relationships and work when things appear to go wrong contribute far more to society than those who only seek to get what they want from life. Marriage is an institution that has stood the test of time and generations. Don't knock it just because it's unfashionable. This government which seeks to destroy so much of our heritage should do more to support marriage father than withdraw support. All this considered, it is perfectly right for there to be a get-out when things have gone so wrong it is the only reasonable solution.
Oliver Crispin, England

I don't blame anyone for not getting married. The whole thing is a sham, from the beginning with the church routine full of relatives you don't want to see, to the wife giving up work to live off my money. It's a trap and people are beginning to realise it.
David Taylor, England

Those who choose to marry, and make promises in front of God, should honour those promises unless their spouse dishonours their part of the promise. I believe that most people in this country play a full part in a selfish throwaway culture, and that will not change. The government, royal family, Hollywood, pop stars, in fact most in authority give the impression that immoral things are normal, if not right (everyone else is doing it, so why can't I?). Frustratingly, I do not believe that the Church of England will be able to change the way things are as many see it (and Christianity) as irrelevant, whether it is or not (I believe it is highly relevant) - it can speak to its members with authority, but who else will listen?
Pete Bowman, UK

I believe that it is still a case of choice, in that some couples do not feel that their bond is complete until they are married. This is not a problem, but I do believe that there should be an equivalent social standing for couples who simply chose to live together, including more flexibility in benefit situations and separation.
Ilya A Wilbraham, England

I am a divorcee myself, but I still say "No". It's a matter of finding the right person, your perfect match. It's difficult enough, but I believe it's possible. Psychology and sociology should concentrate more on "compatibility " - as it were - of different kinds of personalities and make the relevant findings a public knowledge.
Tatyana Mychelova, France

The traditional role of marriage as a family bond has increasingly given place to a legal agreement that most of the times forces people to keep living together for fear of getting into the divorce mess. People that want to be together can nowadays live together and grow together without the need of any kind of official binding. Marriage just doesn't have to be an issue if real love is the motive.
George Voutsadakis, Greece

From the time the Bible was written until the early years of this century people married young and died young. The average marriage was not expected to last fifty years. Moreover aspects such as mutual care within traditional gender roles and bringing up children as a form of old-age insurance had huge practical importance and were much more important than romantic love. In such a setting the rule that marriage was necessarily a contract terminated only by the death of one of the spouses was not only moral but socially necessary.

Nowadays of course, with state-organised social security, people are no longer dependent on their families in the same way. Family life and gender roles have changed, women in particular being much less house-bound and dependent than they used to be. Marriages are nowadays generally contracted on purely affectionate grounds, and the fulfilment of emotional needs has gained importance. In such a situation "sequential monogamy" is the best many people can hope for, and it is a wonder that more than half of all marriages survive. And this is a reality all legal systems and all churches will need to adjust to.
Peter, Netherlands

The government does little to encourage marriage with punitive taxes and little financial help/incentives for two people committed to a relationship. It seems that single mothers get a better deal.
Liane Ward, UK

Marriage represents the only way couples can co-exist together in a civilised society. Far from being outdated, it shows children the true meaning of love and stability, if of course couples remain true to their marriage vows.
Rev. Austin Spreadbury, UK

My children are growing up in a secure family, with married parents, and two sets of married grandparents. How rare, and what a privilege! They are reaping the benefit of hard work and determination to keep marriage working. Of course things don't always work out. But we should be encouraging married partners to work through the hard times rather than making it easier for them to get out. Marriage is perhaps more important in our society now than ever before. Support it!
Guy, UK

Remarkable that the Church of England, which was founded in order to facilitate a divorce, is now seeking ways to strengthen marriage. How will they reconcile this effort with their affirmation of homosexuality and other family destroying heretical positions. Which way is it to Rome?
Patrick Lappert, USA

Marriage has been devalued by the fact that it is too easy to get hitched - perhaps we should be considering making it less simple to marry and easier to divorce. Testing people's suitability for the institution will re-value it. Also open it up to same sex couples who may prove the same levels of commitment.
Tony , UK

Marriage is definitely NOT out-dated. Everybody should be able to make this sort of commitment. If you can't then there's something wrong. The increase in failed marriages brings uncertainty to all of us. We cannot, however, blame it on TV, or consumer culture because at the end of the day we ALL have to take responsibility for the society that we want our children to grow up in.
Daren, UK

Read the first comments we received

What is outdated is trying to get everybody to behave like everybody else. Personally, I'd like to be in a group marriage. More diversity, wisdom, and love, more adults per child, more stable should someone leave - all under one roof. I'm sure many reading this would love to impose their religion/morality on me. That is what's outdated. Our world is too diverse now to have a moral consensus that goes beyond small groups. Quite often people sitting in church next to each other can't even agree.
Steve, USA

Marriage should be opened up to same-sex couples as marriage is meant to be the celebration of a union of people. Marriage is becoming outdated because not everybody in society is allowed to access it
K Newton, UK

I am very sad to see so many anti-marriage comments and so much negativity regarding the whole subject. Marriage is an extremely fulfilling state but only if you are prepared to work at it. Of course it isn't always easy but then what is?
Carla Rotch, UK

Most of those who consider marriage to be an outdated institution ground this opinion on the idea that marriage is essentially an encroachment of tradition and religion on personal liberty. Those who have expressed themselves in the opposite sense appear to be inspired either by religion or by traditional views on family values. All these opinions are relevant and worthy of consideration and society should cater to them all, in all their diversity. Be it noted that the decision to get married -- or divorced -- may be taken for all the wrong reasons, but it is never taken lightly; even in this day and age marriages are normally intended to last a lifetime. And although those who have spoken out in favour of individual freedom and choice appear overwhelmingly to be men, it is a fact that in Western society divorce proceedings are, in the large majority of cases, initiated by women -- there are conclusions to be drawn from that fact.
Peter, Netherlands

Marriage is just one option amongst many. It should not be confined to two people, but any group of committed adults, not exclusively heterosexual. There is no biological basis for an isolated lifelong monogamous mating pair in our species; that is merely a cultural adaptation. What should be mourned is the demise of the tribe, the extended family, the community that raised children in its midst collectively. What kind of substitute is the digital, global village? We still give in to our physical heritage and seek company from many sources. Let's hope some of us can find happiness, whatever name and fancy dressing we give that sociable human desire for companionship.
Jillymac, UK

As a religious person I do believe 'that which God has joined, no man shall put asunder'. Religion or religious beliefs apart, I believe that marriage or married life is a continuous adjustment between two persons (husband and wife)each of who has his or her own defects or short-comings.
T.Philip Mathai, India

No I don't think that marriage is an outdated institution. Although I would like to point out that coming to London from Zimbabwe I was shocked to see how few people seem to value the importance of family and children within wedlock. I seem to be old fashioned at 27.
Paula van Zyl, London

I think the concept of a lifetime's commitment is outmoded, seeing as we mostly live until a very ripe old age these days. Perhaps the marriages should work on a rolling contract system - renew your vows if you wish, or get out if you wish, on say, a three-yearly basis! We all change so much during our adult years, particularly in our 20s and 30s, and thus couples often find little in common with each other any longer.
Shirley, UK

A society based upon the solid commitment of heterosexual marriage is the only stable one. Marriage is indeed the bedrock of a stable society. How can anyone be so blind as not to see the damage, heartache, pain, and trouble broken marriages have on the children within them, and society as a whole? Not too mention the effects on children who's parents have never married and have also broken up. The evidence of the adverse effects of non-marriage and broken marriages is everywhere, but selfishness is mentally blinding to the pain of others, and only preoccupied with the pleasures of ones self! Ironically, such selfishness can never bring happiness to a person! If only people could understand that the Laws of God as defined within the Bible were given for the health, happiness and welfare of humanity. To depart from these laws mean a departure from a healthy, happy and wholesome society!
Paul Didcott, UK

I'm not sure if marriage is outdated but it is certainly not necessary. If one is committed to another that is all you need. No marriage is going to make someone committed.
Brian Curtis, USA

I for one would not get married for a great deal of reasons including costs, period of time to get a divorce, it will compound my current problems and basically it's not worth the piece of paper it's written on. Life is far to fast and busy for people nowadays to consider marriage and as a result of this, we are not meeting our soul mates with whom we should be spending the rest of our lives.
Jason, UK

Having failed in one marriage, and seen the blight of the legal system on my private life, I would be tempted to say marriage is dead. However with a second sound marriage I see clearly the importance of a strong sound respectful relationship. Marriage is the result of human needs. Whatever the church or state decide, people will always make a commitment to each other in some form or other.
Gwyn Jones, France

Until divorce is made harder marriage will remain a devalued institution.
Mike Rotch, UK

I know far more people in committed relationships who have stayed together than people whose marriages have survived.
PGH, London

Marriage will become "outdated" when civilisation itself becomes outdated and man ceases to be a social and communal being. As the family goes, so goes the culture in which it grows or crumbles.
Joyce Nelson, USA

As with many developments in technology also sociological trends are shaking up the traditional way of thinking. The problem is that the political establishment cannot keep up with this pace of change. The institution of marriage is as accepted as an institution as the divorce rates show. In the end it is just a formalisation of a relationship to meet outdated standards, which are still embedded in society. The trend cannot be stopped and it is most likely a matter of a generation(s) before the whole idea of marriage disappears. Maybe the next thing in line will be "vows of caring", which binds you to take care of the children if any after the parents decide to go their own way. Who knows ???
Robert van Hamersveld, Netherlands

It's not an outdated institution, but I think people have a negative attitude towards it.
Lainie, US

Marriage will never be outdated. It is a sacred institution in which people should join their minds, bodies, and souls together under the blessing of God for a lifetime. It is no less important just because many people today tend to minimise and defile it.
Tiffany Moore, U.S.

As our civilisation crumbles, so do its institutions such as marriage. The traditional family has been under attack for a long time. As we enter into a "Brave New World" of "designer children" through genetic engineering, death determined by "quality of life scales" and a New Age belief that most of the world's human population should be exterminated, marriage is seen as an obstacle to ushering in the "New World Order."
Charlie Chance, USA

I think marriage is a great institution for those who wish to join it. I think its become something that we do because we grew up thinking that marriage was the only way to be complete and for some people that's probably true, is it outdated? I don't think so, I think there's a lot to be proud of if you can marry and keep that marriage happy for a long time.
Dave, Seattle/USA

Marriage is a religiously motivated institution and as religion is seen less and less in a favourable light because of the problems it causes around the world, so too will the whole concept of marriage which will slowly die as the years pass by....and good riddance too!!

The institution of marriage is not outdated, it is just outdated expectations of marriage that are being discarded. Marriage is a lifestyle choice that should only be for as long as it is mutually satisfactory. I feel there are enough examples to show that modern children are strong enough and aware enough to cope with their parents' choices. It is a world of diversity that we live in and thankfully we are all free to choose the lifestyle that suits us. Some may find such views too liberal. Happily no one today lives their life trying to please them.
Tom, Australia

The only public declaration of love and commitment I need to make (and have made) is to my partner and our son. We are confident, happy and secure in our relationship and do not need church or state to sanctify it. Fine for those who wish to do so, but a marriage is born of commitment, not vice-versa.
Jack H - committed and happily unmarried, UK

Marriage is God-ordained for a very good reason. Because within the commitment of marriage people learn to put others' needs before themselves, rather than the selfishness that exists in society today which is the root cause of all social ills.
Linda Baker, USA

Marriage has got a bad reputation through the high divorce rate and some high profile celebrity break ups. Happy marriage doesn't make news in the same way. Yet for every couple who divorce, there are two couples that remain happily married. We shouldn't forget that.
Rosa, UK

Marriage is an institution that forms the base for all social institutions. It is largely due to the breakdown and criticism of marriage that society is experiencing such upheaval. Marriage has not become less relevant, people have become lazier, and the taboos surrounding divorce have all but disappeared. This means that people feel that they can just bail out of marriage when pleasure is not being had or when things become even slightly difficult.
Gawain, UK

Most people do not differentiate between a 'wedding' and a 'marriage'. A ceremony (legal or religious), or the lack of it, does not necessarily imply that one is 'married' or not. 'Marriage' is an emotional and spiritual commitment which cannot be dictated by religion or law. If people spent as much time planning their 'marriages' as they do planning their 'weddings', perhaps we would have more relationships surviving the test of time.
Sangeeta, Norway/India

Yes, it is irrelevant. If people want to be together, surely they will. If a couple doesn't want to be together, why should their pain be drawn out unnecessarily by the formal bond of matrimony? Parting may be the wise solution, and should not be penalised with legal wranglings. Marriage may be a way for the authorities to keep track of people, but may not always add much to the relationship itself. That remains purely in the hearts of the (lucky) couple.
Bert, Holland

A commitment between two people to live together and share financial responsibilities, is a private affair that, perhaps, need not be formalised by state or church sanction. However, once children come into the picture, the whole scene changes. At this point, the responsibilities become greater than just two people enjoying a mutual convenience - they now have to provide a secure and nurturing environment to raise their children, and society still accepts marriage as the only practical means to accomplish that. Until we come up with something better, and something that is acceptable to the whole of society, that's the way it is.
Mark M Newdick, USA/UK

All I have to say is that if I do get married, it will because I am in love and devoted to someone, not to prove anything to anyone else. I want to prove to my partner that I am committed to him and only him.
C Jones, UK

Why should a personal relationship between two people be subject to some form of cultural regime which is insensitive to the peculiarities of individual relationships. I think these unrelenting moral dictators should refrain from prescribing life styles to the rest of us. This arrogance in my opinion is at the roots of all fascist thinking.
Riva, Netherland

If couples wish to live together then it is their choice. If they want to marry then it is their choice. If mixed race couples want to cohabit or marry it is their choice. If same sex couples want to cohabit or marry, then that should be their option.
In our modern and diverse society, all tastes and spectrums should be considered, with similar tax and pension benefits applied accordingly as long as there is a contractual agreement - which neither precludes marriage or cohabiting.
Janie K, England

As comedian Groucho Marx said: 'Marriage is a great institution. But who wants to live in an institution?'
Peter Guidi, Holland

Marriage is not outdated and shouldn't be taken so lightly. My parents divorced when I was about 1 years old. I have never lived in a stable environment because my mother has had one husband after another. I cannot imagine what it would be like to live with both mum and dad but I am sure it would have made my childhood much happier. I was tormented throughout school for not having a dad, I found it upsetting when I went to a friend's house and I saw how "normal" and stable it was. In a way I owe my parents a lot because they have made me very determined that when I have children I will be married and no matter what it takes I will stay married. I don't ever want my child to have a part time dad like I had or a mother which they don't respect because she doesn't respect herself. I do firmly believe the key to having healthy, happy and settled children is to give them a happy stable home life, with BOTH natural parents there to look after them.
Cara, England

The concept of people making commitments to each other - perhaps for life, perhaps with the intent of raising children - will never be out-dated. However, the concept of, I quote, "One man and one woman, joined in union before... 'God' " is clearly not the only path in this age. The state marriage has been, and will continue to be, used as a divisive tool by those who seek to maintain the status quo of: sexual and economic repression of women, religious and racial segregation, and most of all... the social stigmatism of those considered to be leading 'Immoral lifestyles' by the Self-appointed Guardians of "What is Proper". State rewards for choosing one lifestyle over another are offensive in a free era, and should end immediately. Yours, happily in love with my partner of 8 years.
Mark Wright, UK

I have been married to a lovely man for over 32 years now. We have our ups and downs as happens in any relationship but I still rather like him. Some might say I've been lucky - luck had nothing to do with it!! Couples walk away from their responsibilities and commitments at the drop of a hat and without thought for the consequences, sometimes for the sake of their own selfishness. What is happiness? Maybe it's about being unselfish and putting the relationship above all and trying to work out the problems. Marriage is not about a piece of paper, it's about being proud of declaring your love in front of your family and friends. It's about making a commitment to each other for life. That sort of commitment must never be allowed to become outdated in this age of selfishness and shallow relationships.
Ailsa, England

In today's western society the meaning of love and all that accompanies it, including marriage, has lost it's meaning. Selfishness and greed has replaces the traditional caring and loving environment. This has become all too apparent by the way in which "Family values", has become a favourite Election time topic for the politicians.
Kwame, UK

If people wish to marry, it will always be there for them. However, it has stood the test of ages, and since time immemorial, the statement that "this is the person that I wish to spend the rest of my life with" is an expression of love, and gives the bedrock on which our children can grow and learn. The fashion of "unfaithfulness " comes and goes. I feel that the current balance in UK is healthy.
Robert Chilvers, UK

The decline in the rate of marriage and increase in divorce rate are just from people having more options and control over their lives. Individuals will do what is best for them and what makes them happiest. Any "sacrifice" is merely conservatism; a happy marriage does not require sacrifice- it brings its own advantages. Options and control over your own life are the cornerstone of being free.
Arman, USA

People more often now are rightly not accepting to remain in unhappy relationships.
Paul Lethbridge, Germany

Marriage was designed by God, and is the cornerstone of our society. One of the largest problems with society today is the lack of family values. Husbands and wives are not prepared to work out their differences, but they choose to get divorced instead. They put their selfish interests first and do not think enough of their partner. I believe there is a place for divorce, but too many opt for this before trying to resolve their problems. Children have the right to be brought up in a stable environment with both a father and mother within the bonds of matrimony. A partnership without marriage is merely a way of each partner saying "we will live together until I find something better or I'm tired of you".
Kevin Compton, UK

Don't condemn those who tried marriage yet ended in divorce. They at least had the courage to try and the common sense to know when it wouldn't work. At the time of marriage the couple involved were absolutely convinced, certainly happy and full of hope. However in this world things change. It is often beautiful to see a relationship evolve with the times and last but that does not diminish the beauty of a relationship that lasts as long as it can but then ends.
Paul, Hong Kong

Marriage is hardly a Christian enforced issue as suggested by some since almost every religion has marriage ceremonies of one sort or another. The problem is that these days, people are unwilling to make a commitment to someone else because we're all to selfish to be willing to stick with someone should things go difficult (I am not referring to wife-beating in which case she'd be better off elsewhere). Commitment and living the rest of one's life putting someone else first is what puts people off and of course, we've all got to look after number one these days.
Richard Hodges, Wales, UK

Yes, marriage is utterly outdated, it is a throwback to the times of 'god fearing Christian's, an arrangement that we have more or less inherited from previous generations. Perhaps we need a new type of marriage contract, and get rid of this extreme 'till death do you part' rubbish ---as it's left over from a time when humans lived shorter, more finite lives than we do now in this digital revolution age.
Stephen Hitchcock, USA

Reading these coments, I see that many emphasize comitment. How about cooperation. I'v been married for 13 years, with 2 great boys. My husband has his good points, but I work just as hard as he does. I had worked outside the home in my career and paid $10,000.00 for day-care. Believe me, there are 2 full-time jobs for mothers, who work and raise children and do laundry and shop for food and cook and clean and pay bills. I see the same problem with so many men. They go to work, come home, put their feet up and watch the tube and bitch about being asked to do anything around the house. Marriage takes 2 people working together to work. Children grow up better with 2 caring parents.
Melanie, USA

No marriage is not an out-dated institution. There is nothing wrong with the institution itself just the people in it.
Jennifer Bowdern, Australia

Marriage is an arcane repressive social institution designed to curb individual freedom.
Andy, USA

This is really an enigma of unimaginable proportions to me! In the west, and especially in the US, men and women date and date and date and live together till they are finally sure they've found the right person to marry...In a few years, if not months, their hard found love and marriage crumbles...WHY? The only thing I can say, is that love is an attitude more than something to be found such as the best bargain in town or something. If you could love, you could feel for and love anyone.. of course it requires that you may not win every argument or clean more than the exact number of dishes, but you might just find LOVE.. which is not just any four-letter word!!
Navin, USA/Indian

It is outdated. You don't need a piece of paper to commit. We wouldn't sign a piece of paper for life for ANYTHING else, even a mortgage you can get with great ease. I also don't need to be someone's wife or have to behave in a certain way just because I am married.
Nyky, Australia

Yes marriage was only created in the last couple of hundred years. A product of our Victorian past. It is outmoded and has no value and was created mainly for the Christian church and adopted by the state as a legal binding contract of possession. It should have no bearing in law and should not be recognised by the state. Its purely a religious affair. There's a whole industry kept in business by this concept and a flourishing one by its downfall, lawyers fees etc.....good riddance.....
Nick Tucker, UK

Marriage is the ultimate commitment to your partner. It should never be entered into lightly. The formal act of marriage is not only a declaration to your partner, but to your friends, family and community that this is a permanent relationship. While, some marriages do not work out, people need to try harder before separating and think longer before marrying. Ultimately, marriage is a lot of work and not something to be entered into because all of your friends are doing it or your family expects it.
Kelly Knowles, Canada

The basis of our society is the formal recognition of relationships between couples. It is sad that there is a growing segment of the world that cannot bring itself to have responsibility and commitment to another soul.
Ruth-Dick Meyer, U.S.A.

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