What Prevents People From Marrying In Modern Times?

US-Marriage-Rate-1968-2008I was talking my husband last night. It struck me how comfortable I felt. We’ve been together about ten years. We met when we were teens.

I also thought about a client I spoke with recently.  Her boyfriend has said certain things to her.  She interpreted what he said differently than I did. I don’t know which one of us is right, but I do know she’d cut off the communication after he said certain things, which makes it hard to keep a relationship strong and healthy.

My husband I can talk because we have to talk. We’re married. We’re completely committed. Sure, it’s not always easy or even pleasant. But enduring the difficult times makes the great times (which are far more common), possible.  You’re just not going to know a person and not have them utter something displeasing to you now and then.

Another gal wrote in the forum about how her friends sort of left her behind. I got the strong impression she was not really needing or wanting a friend, but something more akin to a primary relationship. Because friends do move on…

This morning I was going to write about how hardly anyone marries anymore.  It’s not because they don’t want to. This might have been the reason in the 1970’s but today? Most the single women I work with would love to be married, they just don’t have any idea how or when or why.  When I googled for statistics, I found the graph above.

As startling as the graph looks, I bet you the marriage rate will drop further before it rebounds. I predict this on the 80/20 rule…not Pareto’s but my husband’s 80/20 rule he derived on his own, using the natural logarithm, long before he ever heard of Pareto.

So can you buck this trend? Of course you can. But not by going with the flow, because look where the flow is taking you?

I am not sure what to do about this…for people I know, I mean. I definitely know a lot about this. I understand it, deeply. But I’m not sure it would work for a class “at large”. Maybe I need to talk to people one on one.

Anyway, this is what’s on my mind today. Because so many people I talk to are never going to marry without changing their fundamental (Saturn) beliefs (Sagittarius).

What are your thoughts on the low rate of marriage?

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What Prevents People From Marrying In Modern Times? — 57 Comments

  1. I’m 28 and virtually all of my closest friends from high school have gotten married, and a large number of my college friends too. I’m the odd one out being single AF!!! I’ve got that Venus-Saturn signature so I’m not really fretting… but I do have a different perspective, being totally surrounded by people who are “moving on” lol

  2. Marriage was apparently the norm in days of yor. People have a choice now. It’s not a mandate. Marriages seem to be a world onto themselves.

    I am limited to who I talk to because the mate might be jealous. It makes boundaries in the flow of life that are sometimes unproductive to my mind. But I suppose it can be nice to have a man about the house. Many of the women gone single that I know seem to think it’s just plain easier and more effective to hire a handy person.

    I don’t really look at why people don’t marry, I guess the question is why do they marry? Once again, the women gone single. They did it because it was what the social scene said they were supposed to do. They did not really question it or what it is.

    And good grief, only 10 years, as comfortable as you seem to be in your marriage, I would have guessed much much longer. But then again, you two have roots together. Like one of them vines. I would never ever question why libras get married, stay married, or never give up on marriage. It seems to be a given. My observation is that they function better when in relationships.

      • The mating game . . . yes biologically it’s gone on since life started replicating itself. I don’t know if people are super smart or special now or not, but human awareness has evolved beyond reproduction, the primal need to procreate, which is the age age old reason for mating. I think it’s okay for people to stop and think, what does it mean, what am I doing.

  3. I think marriage and commitment to others are related to self acceptance, and perhaps that interrelates and is on the decline in some places. My axis are Cap>Cancer & Lib>Aries so all this is key to my learning this time round I think. I’m always learning about balancing togetherness and independence. I think that’s what marriage is about.

    • I think this is a good thought, too: the balancing of togetherness and independence. The balance is different for every couple, as are the levels of self-acceptance or – judgment?

  4. Awesome topic. It depends I guess, where you live, how religious you are, how “settled” you feel in your life. Your group of friends. Now that people can’t reach the achievements/expectations (promotions, house, car, bank accounts) as their baby boomer parents… I think they don’t think they feel so settled yet.

    Maybe our expectations about “settled-ness” have to change since no one is as stable anymore. We have to be okay with living smaller, maybe even living with our significant others’ family if we have to, depending? … Because that’s the reality of our generation… Contrasting with our freedom of choices Pluto Sadge upbringing.

    So, it could be economics. I looked up the marriage rates for the Great Depression 1930s (9.3 per 1000 people), and they dipped a bit. Not sure though. Not an expert. (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005044.html)

    I’m 30, an ethnic minority and a woman from a major metropolitan area. I’ve seen the range, like a more mature than average friend getting married at age 22 (no kids yet), one married at 30, now with a kid, kids without marriage, and those like me who aren’t married yet and no kids. I’m a weirdo since I didn’t continue my long-term relationship that was on the path to marriage (partially for the above emotionally “unsettled” reasons…. Venus-Saturn & 7thUranus). Except for me, I do see that most of us are in some kind of long-term relationship, not sure if marriage is the goal though.

    Some of us are disillusioned with traditional marriage because it’s far from a fairytale, with horror stories of abuse, cheating, lying or a fear of dead feelings/boredom or of contempt/hate. We don’t see what makes it work. Sigh 🙁 And grand love stories seem different from what the dating world offers now. We don’t see the hard work /learning / sacrifice couples do to make it work, perhaps. [End of essay! lol.]

    • A fairytale is not really associated with real, committed love. By nature these are two different things.

      It sounds like you heard about two extremes and very little or nothing at all about reality of successful couples.

      Libra noir mentioned this further down.

  5. I’m a bit confused about that graph. Is it showing, for each year out of 1000 single women, how many of them got married? If that is true, simply the fact that people are getting married older or divorcing more would make the graph look like that even with marriage rates declining only a little. If we assume even half of gay women were getting pressured into marriages prior to the 1970s that aren’t now that is a 7 % increase in single women over the course of that graph. Shotgun weddings I think have declined quite a bit too. Also people are less religious so they care less about the ceremony. My friends parents got divorced for tax and insurance reasons after a year of marriage and continued to live happily as a married couple for decades.

    I agree rates will continue to fall. But I think the govt is likely to stop registering marriages at all within 100 years, because it is mostly a personal matter and once we have got away from the idea of people being legally entitled to each other, there won’t be much reason for the govt to care about it.

    • I agree it’s a personal matter and would not mind the government getting out of it that’s for sure. But there will always be people with a deep desire to marry, in the traditional, religious sense. There is just no way to remove this yearning from a heart (like mine).

  6. In the I Ching there’s a mention of the economic basis of the family. As a perennial single mom, with not “venus/saturn” syndrome but both a seriously challenged venus and saturn, plus a libra moon and Taurus 7th house, I have come to certainly appreciate what a marriage is,emotionally, spiritually, and economically. It is a very important situation.

  7. Best lesson ever from my 4th grade Catholic teacher, paraphrased:

    There’s three basic paths in life = marriage with children, single, and clergy.

    Ofc I’d have to still rebel and be single with children, how dare you limit me… but still, it’s the lesson about paths in life I appreciate the most.

    When people think of marriage now, in my opinion, they tend to think of legality, tax/insurance benefits, debt issues, pre-existing family issues and religious ideals, among a vast plethora of things, on top of the ideas of partnership, commitment, and unconditional love.

    I think a little bit of all of these things, besides love and commitment, are what prevent a lot of people from marrying.

    • Most people cannot afford to support a child, never mind, children, alone. Enter the government…and look at the mess we’re in.

      I don’t think it hits you until later, the cost of breaking up your family. I certainly was blindsided. It’s devastating personally and collectively.

      • I only knew the extent of the cost because of a consultation with you and I (re)committed to stay in my marriage. However, he still wanted out. I tried to warn him, but the lure of the other woman and freedom was too much. Now my kids are hurt emotionally and financially, the state has control over his paycheck and his girlfriend is stuck with a man wracked with guilt, very broke, and who never wants to marry. I, on the other hand, want to commit again, just haven’t decided if I am going to commit myself to being single and just not even entertain the thought of a partner, or recommit to marriage again. Whole hog, all or nothing, I just don’t think a relationship works when you try to leave one foot out the door just in case.

      • I raised two, without husband, and often without or with spotty support.

        No government help, ever. But I would not do it that way again. It was not best for them, or me.

      • A friend in Boston describes it as an army of takers looking for givers to marry and use. She’s seen too many women in her family get trampled inside of outwardly “perfect” marriages and feels not marrying her BF, just living with him, prevents this from happening to her.

  8. part of me thinks “why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free”, but really, the women’s sexual revolution isn’t the entire reason…it’s probably a small portion of it.

    it’s probably a combination of things. people being selfish, emotionally stunted, or disconnected. i think part of it is because people cannot afford to marry. i think so many people have seen their parent’s acrimonious divorces, and are feeling that they don’tt want to do the same thing. there is less emphasis on religion, which usually stresses or puts emphasis on the importance of the family unit. also, i think men are more interested in pornography or a pornographic fantasy where sex is always casual, never with a commitment. our culture doesn’t really honor anything unless it has to do with money, status, or sex. it’s a throw-away culture. cheap. meaningless.

    of course there are exceptions to this. but i don’t see people needing people in the same ways they used to. i’m sure there are contradictions to what i am saying; i’m just going by my own observations.

    • I tend to agree with you: “our culture doesn’t really honor anything unless it has to do with money, status, or sex. it’s a throw-away culture. cheap. meaningless.” My husband has a couple of friends who are very nice, nice-looking and polite and successful, who moan about their failures at love and can I intro them to someone? No, because a relationship in their still-19-year-old emotional beings comes after buddies, sports, beer, porn, golf, lavish trips to wherever. After this and that, when they have a day in March 2016, can I intro them to —- NO. Your priorities are not right for this journey, guys. I mean, no worries, you’re happy and it’s fine, but don’t ask me to intro you to someone who can be the occasional 7th thing on your list. They think this isn’t an issue. I think it is.

  9. There were a lot of people in the past who would have got married just because it was expected of them. Nowadays there is the freedom to remain single should you so chose. It’s important to remember that not everyone wants to be married, and this was probably always so. It’s just more obvious now.

    • It’s obvious to you, but to me it’s obvious that many women would love to be married but they can’t bring it about.

      I understand that my client base does not represent all, however it is international and the women I work will all over the world describe similar experiences and/or predicaments.

  10. People are scared to get married. I saw both of my parents get married five times each. It caused a lot of turmoil. The people my age have similar upbringings. I don’t know many people in their twenties and thirties who’s parents are married. I’m 34. It just doesn’t seem like the thing to do even though me and many many others are craving a deep connection, we just don’t know how to do it because we haven’t been shown.

    • @libranoir, that is a good point. a lot of people aren’t “shown” or know how to commit deeply 🙁 I just took it for granted because the people I know in my family know how to commit deeply, and so did my husband’s grandparents. it’ not about money and how much you have, because some comments here are talking about financial. If people can go through the hard times they will find that the easier times are a breeze. our grandparents didn’t have it easy in the beginning.

  11. What prevents people marrying in modern times? I’d say a combination of money and reality, based on what I see.

    Money: the economy took a bad hit as we all know. As you and your husband point out a lot, things seem to smell like they’ll wildly worse soon, so buckle up, get ready for even grimmer times. So that future, plus the money and jobs thing. keep a lot of 20-30s I know single – they are burdened with college debt, can’t find decent jobs, live at home and can barely date and see a crappy world and bad love in the news, and give up, and just have friends.

    Or if they believe in all the “you need to have a solid 401K, a million to retire on, life insurance and a mortgage” to date and marry stuff, they look at their shaky beginning jobs and old shoes assume: no marriage. (I had one intern gravely quote Suze Orman to me, saying that she and her friend know from Suze they cannot date seriously or marry because with their school debt and some medical debt, they are considered the “bad kind of people” that Suze, warns people not to date. They have been taught they are unworthy.

    One great young woman I know was talked out of marrying her longterm high school-to-college BF because family/friends kept telling her that they could not afford a “good” house or a “nice” wedding. She wept. The 20s to 30-somethings I know who DO marry come from money, parents paid for school and a starter home with a car, and they are lawyers or young doctors or in west coast tech. So do marriage figures start to split that 1% way?

    The others I know who marry: in the mid-to-late 20s, don’t listen to media, don’t give a crap about their student debt and having a glossy 401K. They followed their hearts, traveled, saw the world, considered life and philosophies, are grounded, caring, lovely people, and they met people just along the way, no websites — and — gasp –fell in love. The happiest most solid marriages I know at the moment are 3 couples in their mid-20s with rental cheap houses in the country in various parts of the US, recycling things and gardening, crewing art, teaching, with their own little businesses. One couple has a baby. They hike, they laugh, they are happy and in love.
    Suze would be very upset, I suppose.

    • Jesus, I mean, I know Suze Orman knows what she is saying and she is very adept at financial/Venus matters, but to make someone feel unworthy because of debt or lack of capital…that is an afflicted Venus or Taurus or 2nd house issue if I ever heard one.

      • Possibly, but I have heard this from a few men and women with, I assume, varying charts — it would be so interesting to find out! They’ve all alluded to something she apparently wrote (??) about not marrying people who have any debt that, to their minds, shredded people like them for even being in the dating pool. I wish could find the writing on this. Anyway, I think the material culture of cars and clothes and etc just reinforces the “money” aspect of marriage to some people and is a serious concern to many and so, caution, like hers, is the norm in some places with some people. It’s another….hm…class dividing line?

        • ..and I know people in their late 40s-60s who ARE marrying, but are comfortably off and taking that last chance at love or companionship (varies). But I know some who are very committed partnerings now that will NOT consider marriage due to financial reasons based on bad past experiences, angry adult children, or just a basic sense that happiness is so rare, why not just live and enjoy. The people I know in their mid 30s to early 40s, though, want marriage, want to lock it down! and are hunting for marriage, versus looking for a person or love, so I don’t know. I went to two weddings last year where the hunters found their targets. Businessy, short on romance, but they will appear on that chart above as a click on the marriage numbers.

          • (I am a married Virgo, by the way, married to Cancer. A lot of synastry in our charts, but I only learned that recently. Though I have a Libra Venus, I wasn’t desperate to partner or marry – I dated, had intense loves, but adored my freedom and travel (Sag moon) and I had to work many hours to help family, so didn’t feel I could commit enough to marriage. I married a little later but only because I fell in love and it felt right. I didn’t have fancier reasons than that. I think marriage is a very particular state of being and I do not recommend it to all people, not at all. Reasons yes, reasons no. But I’ve been around the block. and my romantic side and even my Scorpio sexual nature has a stripe of clear reality through it. I believe in the lightning bolt, the destiny love. I really do. But I also think you have to see the reality and not be a childish “gimmee/ save me” partner but an aware and giving and listening and compromising one. That is work and I think…some people are just overwhelmed and fffg tired and that takes the gloss of marriage as an option, too.

    • Such a great thread. I’m with you about Suze Orman, VillageGirl. I’ve followed her for a long time – I respect her advice. I’m also in debt from school and living in really expensive cities with a nonprofit job. I’ve agonized so much about her advice not to be involved with anyone who has debt. She says this a LOT. I definitely haven’t felt worthy, but I also have venus/saturn. I actually called her show one time for a question, and they were going to put me on the air for an in-studio interview. I chickened out at the last minute, so I got a phone call with her instead. I asked my question, then talked to her a bit about not being worthy of love since I had so much debt. She told me not to make money my excuse, then ended the call. (She doesn’t say goodbye, just hangs up!) Still don’t know what to think about it. At my age now, if I found someone to love, who loved me, I’d say f*ck the debt, it’ll work out. I’ve got a plan and am paying it off. Love is more important.:)

  12. The editor of a newspaper where I live found out his wife of many years has betrayed him in a most horrible and scandalous manner imaginable. His grown children had to show him the public evidence of which she has openly displayed, which is how she was discovered. Grief stricken, he threw her out and will now be forced to pay alimony on top of it all.

    I think this may be a reason some do not marry. Betrayal is huge, I have heard of spouses wiping out the shared marital bank account and of people coming home from work to find proof of infidelity. Someone else I know of had their child discover the spouse had taken their own life.

    Marriage and trust of your life to another is no small feat. Perhaps like credit card debt, younger people are leery of such horrors committed by the person sworn to love, honor and respect. Sorry if I sound like a Debby Downer, in my own life I enjoy the best and most loving relationship of myself where we refer to each other as spouse despite the contract. The love and trust brings the most incredible joy to our lives, this our 5th anniversary of an accidental love that found me in a most unusual way.

    • Oh Sherry, I’m happy for you. That sounds wonderful. Some day I’d like to hear that story. I love hearing about “accidental” love, like where you had no intention of going somewhere that you ended up, and there they are… like it was completely predestined.

  13. Considering all these factors, I’m wondering WHY so many single women “would love to be married…” To be in a loving committed relationship, yes, but a piece of paper guarantees nothing, except perhaps alimony if it ends.

    • maybe because in some instances that piece of paper offers security of the heart or security of possessions, and some feel if i can’t have one, then i’ll go for the other?

  14. I’ve never experienced the desire to be married. I like having my own space and making my own decisions. My parents have a great marriage but their personalities are different from mine. I’m an Aquarius. Do not box me in! 🙂

    Every day I tell myself how lucky I am to be living in this place, at this time, where, as a woman, I am not forced to enter into marriage in order to have a valid identity in society. Had I been born in a different time or place, I may have not had this option. Perhaps there are more out there like me, and that accounts for at least part of the reason less people get married. We simply don’t have to.

  15. I’m 56 now, been married twice, my last marriage ended when I was 42. I have lived the last 14 years pretty much just for “me”, after always being a caretaker. But here’s the thing… today I was sitting at the dog park watching my 2 run around and realized I had no one to witness or share my life as I am going into a more stable and comfortable time in my life. I have never been lonely, but today I realized I’m lonesome. Friends are great, yes. But a marriage partner, someone who has traveled with you and will see you to the end… that is a treasure. I don’t know why some people are “lucky” and find a partner who cares as much as they do to stay committed. In my relationships, there wasn’t that partnership. I do know this: the 2 married couples I know have RUINED ME for shitty relationships. They are so respectful of each other — sure they disagree, but always with respect, which I think is HUGE!— that their love always shines through. After knowing them for a few years, I just can’t even START a crappy relationship any more. But I haven’t been able to draw in the kind of relationship I’m seeing modeled. Maybe I’m too old, and have run out of chances, maybe it’s that damn Uranus/Chiron/Moon in Scorp in 7th t-square, with the added joy of Saturn square Sun….or maybe the accidental love just hasn’t happened yet.

    • Dog it must have been in the stars cause I had a rare lonely,need a mate day. I have a woman friend who is from 1950’s hanging in and my mom 91 just died on Aug 2. Since the divorce at 26 and raising 2 well kids through the 70’s and a Aquarius type I’ve liked living on my own. I was given yoga in the 70’s and music was never far away and close to 58 2nd saturn return bolted me Uranus on ascendent into another world. There s been much to learn. I love listening on u tube to all the changes – mom stayed around for 2012 – she was around so I could show her the dove I saw within and today August the infinite 8 had LiLou u tube on 50 people at the Declaration of Peace united nations university in Japan getting a new media going with heart and soul to give us voice and bring to us that side of today. So where is the mate that can magically fill shoes that arent the old expectations. A lonely day – yes its all going on but today its too distant.

        • Thanks CJ. “Where is the mate who can magically fill shoes that aren’t the old expectations?” Good question!
          I am going to undergo my 2nd Saturn return shortly, and will also have transit Uranus on my Ascendant! Can you tell me more about your story around this? Is this when your mother passed? I am so sorry for your loss, and glad that you had very meaningful time with her beforehand.

  16. I think for some, marriage is still a goal. But for me, now divorced, a single mom, and financially independent, I love being single! I don’t need to be married to be in a loving, committed relationship.

  17. There were two things I knew I wanted in life: a husband and a baby. Astrologically it’s very clear in my chart. I have been married 15 years. I believe it’s best for children even in an “unhappy” marriage sans abuse of any kind (verbal, physical, emotional or drugs and alcohol). I do realize other situations are also not workable, but I at least wish more couples sacrificed their personal wants in order to stay together. We just wouldn’t be who we are without each other and that’s an impact I think only marriage can make. Every decision I make has him in mind and vice versa. Some may call that stifling, but in reality it’s brought me more growth than I could have ever accomplished solo.

  18. I have 2 weddings to attend in the next few weeks, my co-worker has 4 to attend in the same time frame. One of the weddings I will attend is my middle child, both he and his bride to be are in their Saturn return. My daughter also married during her Saturn return. I think people are still getting married however far fewer people stay married. I do not think this is necessarily a bad thing, I do not think people should stay in relationships that are unhealthy for them for whatever reason, sometimes people just evolve and grow in different directions. And a whole lot of people get married for all the wrong reasons in the first place. This trending change is not necessarily good or bad just different from how it once was. I am glad things have evolved so that people do not feel the need to stay in bad relationships. I strongly believe a key to the success of my marriage is communication and that we established early on that it is safe to talk with each other about anything and I do mean anything. Not that we never argue, get angry or upset with one another but we fight fair sticking to the subject at hand and never hit below the belt. My husband and I have excellent Mercury placements with each other which certainly helps, actually we have lovely astrological compatibility all around and the ways we are different tend to compliment each other more than oppose. I believe our ability to discuss everything that needs discussion has bonded us and created a level of trust and support that has proven itself worth the effort to hear the other person out really listen instead of insisting on your point or forming your counterpoint while the other is speaking. We are both Air Sun Signs I am Libra he is Aquarius so it is easy for us to intellectualize and detach in order to discuss sensitive subjects abstractly I realize not everyone is able to do this. I have 2 water sign children whom have taught me all about emoting interestingly enough they are the two whom either did or are going to be marrying during Saturn return. I just love how astrology plays out it really is fascinating to see the correlations in the varying individual charts.

  19. marrying later, having kids later, + less children per capita, primarily, i think.

    we’re not sure what we want out of marriage, anymore, besides raising kids. so i think that’s a big part of the declining interest. women don’t need to be married to have an income, any more, either. they have more choices. so can bother to wait….

  20. I have thoughts on this subject. This October 18th, my husband and I will have been married for eighteen years. No, marriage is going to be all peaches and cream, either. My husband and I were discussing this last month about how a lot of people we know that got married never lasted. First of all, when you have a spat, that does not mean, run off and get divorced. Two people will have disagreements and you have to learn how to communicate with each other. Something more, you need to learn to say, “I’m sorry and I forgive you.” So many couples that we know, do not have a good communication with each other and that will spell disaster. And if you can’t feel comfortable around your partner to do things that you’d do if they weren’t there, to us that is not a good relationship. So many people today jump into a marriage thinking it will always be blissful and at the first sign of trouble they run like scalded dogs! And to be blunt, you can’t base a relationship or marriage on sex either. We have a couple of friends that tried that and they divorced. My grandmother gave me the best advice when she told me to take the bull by the horns and don’t give up easily. Yeah, your marriage will go through times when you do think about splitting, but if you can talk through it, you come out stronger. The couple that were not able to communicate would sit in the same room and text each other about their day and not talk to each other. My husband and I just shook our heads on that. Technology is a big culprit in today’s society. Turn off the phones, computers, and other distractions and actually look into each other’s eyes and have a discussion! My husband and I are so close that we can finish each other’s sentences. We have known each other since 1992 and we got married in 1997 and we are still together. It makes us nuts when we see other couples just barely married and getting divorced. Sheesh! Barring legitimate reasons for splitting like abuse and stuff like that, I think people need to TALK more face to face like they did in the old days.

  21. Different strokes for different folks

    “Traditional, religious” yes two things that are changing dramatically

    Good topic , but hard to discuss with people without arguments.

    Marriage and babies are huge business 😉

  22. I own a hair salon and 80/20 seems just about the ratio of single women who just can’t seem to forge a lasting bond. I hear it all day long of failed matches. A lot of these Women have their shit together and one would think that marraige in A solid Relationship would Be lifes next course. But it never happens.
    I got engaged last year, with a Saturn return in scorpio. Humility, trust, acceptance, and respect. You just can’t turn away from that.
    I think people nowadays don’t understand the importance of foundation. Marriage does not come with instant gratification.

    • i look around me, and that’s what i see too. Alot of young men and middle aged men just don’t marry or pursue young women like they used to. Or maybe it’s just what i see around me. 🙁
      i wish there was some easy answers to this.

  23. That graph makes it look like 65 percent of women never get married. But that can’t be true, so I’m not sure how to read it.

    I definitely think marriage is best when kids are involved.

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