Survey says: Marriage certificate not needed

Reuters is reporting that, “4 out of 10 Americans say they don’t need a marriage certificate to prove love or commitment”.

This comes from an online survey by Zogby International and AOL Personals.

I’m intrigued by the conclusions drawn and would love to know the questions and the context. I quote and comment on portions of the article.
Overall, 44 percent of the 7,113 Americans aged 20 to 69 who took part in the poll by Zogby International and AOL Personals said they didn’t need marriage to validate their relationships.
I don’t need marriage to validate my relationship either. That’s not what marriage is! It’s not validation … it is a commitment and promise of fidelity and care and attention and a binding of lives together. What I do in my marriage validates my relationship.
“Across all age groups, you just don’t need a marriage certificate to mean love,” AOL Personals Director Keith Brengle told Reuters.
OK, what’s the big surprise here?

A majority of respondents also said they would prefer to live together first before marriage and most said marriage should truly be until “death do us part,” especially those in their 30s (73 percent).

I understand how “gun shy” people are with the high incidence of divorce in our culture, but it is always interesting to me that living together before marriage doesn’t work to create a marriage that is until “death do us part”. Studies indicate that those who live together before marriage have a higher divorce rate than those who choose not to co-habit before marriage. I remember a couple I knew who had been living together for 15 years before they decided to get married and were incensed at the notion that the marriage ceremony would change their relationship. Because marriage means something, they experienced new conflicts that they could not have predicted. The first 2 years of their marriage were quite rocky, and they constantly doubted their decision to “get hitched”.

Trust was ranked highly important to most singles polled, especially for those in their 20s. Although 20-somethings said they were more open to experimenting with sexual relationships, they were also more willing to end a partnership over infidelity when compared to respondents in their 50s and 60s. “Trust is still extremely important for the 20-somethings — they wouldn’t work through any infidelities, they’d walk away,” Brengle said.

There is something quite ironic about this. Marriage isn’t important, but fidelity is! Maybe there is an expectation that infidelity will occur? After all, it is said that infidelity by at least one of the partners occurs in 25% of marriages. But I’d propose that infidelity within co-habiting people is higher than in marriage.

Oh well, these attitudes will keep Judge Judy on television.

Pondering Pastor


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