The survey aimed to investigate the shifting significance of marriage in the United Kingdom, a country experiencing its lowest marriage rates since 2008. To comprehensively understand this matter, qualitative methods like semi-structured interviews and grounded theory were utilized. The gathered data unveiled three main categories: the deinstitutionalization of marriage, personalized marriage, and the evolution of marriage.
These classes highlighted that marriage is no longer considered important primarily for economic reasons, but rather for personal fulfillment. All current findings aligned with previous quantitative studies, and potential enhancements to this research were examined. The relationship between the research and the researcher was also documented.
Getting Married: Factors Influencing the Significance of Marriage in Contemporary Society
Marie Corelli (1855-1924) once famously stated: "I never married becau...
se there was no necessity.
I have three pets at place, which answer the same intent as a hubby. I have a Canis familiaris which growls every forenoon, a parrot which swears all afternoon, and a cat that comes place tardily at dark." (Maggio, R., 1996). This would look to be slightly brooding of society 's altering sentiments towards matrimony. Harmonizing to the Office for National Statistics (2010), matrimony rates for 2008 were the lowest since records began. There were 21.8 males get marrieding for every 1000 single males over the elderly 16 and over, and 19.6 females get marrieding per 1,000 single females aged 16 and over. Peoples are besides waiting longer to get married, with the mean never-married groom at the age of 32.1 old ages old and the never-married bride 29.9.
In contemporary society, is matrimony considered insignificant? In the past, marriage was primarily viewed as a financial necessity rather than a means o
personal satisfaction (Lamanna ; Riedmann, 2009). Historically, individuals would marry to secure property rights and valuable assets for their families. Furthermore, marriage ensured the moral growth and responsible upbringing of future generations (Ingoldsby ; Smith, 2006). However, in today's world, marriage revolves solely around the couple and love has become the sole motivation for tying the knot (Amato, Booth, Johnson ; Rogers, 2007). Studies propose that these shifts may be attributed to the rise of welfare states which have rendered the economic importance of marriage obsolete. This is particularly true for low-income women (Murray, 1994).
Despite the weak supporting evidence, it was noted that public assistance benefits may have played a role in the findings. This includes studies by Lichter, LeClere, and McLaughlin (1991) and McLanahan and Casper (1995). In the United States, the decline in marriages coincided with a decrease in the value of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (ADFC), a federal aid program from 1935 to 1996 that supported children from low-income households. Schultz (1994) highlighted this correlation. Additionally, Moffitt (1994) discovered that public assistance seemed to encourage younger single women to start their own families instead of staying with their parents. It appeared that more women were able to financially support themselves without marrying, as indicated by Becker (1981). Meanwhile, economic opportunities for young men were diminishing during the 1970s and 1980s according to Duncan, Boisjoly, and Smeeding (1996), Levy and Murnane (1992), and Wilson (1987).
Society's changing attitudes towards cohabitation may have played a role in the decrease of marriages. Initially seen as a replacement for marriage, cohabitation is now often used by couples to assess their relationship before getting married (Manting,
1996). The National Survey of Families and Households in the United States shows that many couples who live together actually plan on getting married, even without societal expectations.
According to Bumpass, Sweet ; Cherlin (1991), 20% of respondents in their study did not expect to get married at all. Additionally, Manning, Longmore ; Giordano (2004) discovered that 75% of adolescents anticipated cohabitating with their partner in the future when examining expectations towards cohabitation in adolescents. Despite numerous studies on changing marriage trends, none have utilized qualitative methods. This paper asserts that obtaining participants' qualitative opinions and ideas about the declining importance of marriage would offer better and more comprehensive perspectives on this issue. Consequently, the objective of this paper is to comprehend the reasons behind the changing significance of marriage in today's world from the standpoint of participants.
This study implemented qualitative research methods by directly collecting data from participants through semi-structured interviews.
The purpose of this study is to allow participants to freely discuss their thoughts, beliefs, and personal experiences about the changing significance of marriage. Instead of limiting their responses to predetermined questions, they are encouraged to openly share about these issues.
Convenience sampling was used to recruit 5 participants for this research. The researchers selected individuals from middle-class backgrounds who were also their friends. Among the participants, there were 2 males and 3 females aged between 21 and 35 (M = 27.40, SD = 5.72). Pseudonyms were assigned to each participant for anonymity purposes.
The interview protocol was developed based on previous research and literature about matrimony. The first question aimed to understand how the average person perceives matrimony, leading to
discussions about various contemporary issues related to the institution of matrimony, such as compatibility, love, and pre-marital sex (see Appendix A). These questions were designed to encourage participants to share a comprehensive viewpoint on matrimony. In addition, a Windows laptop 'Sound Recorder' program was utilized to record the interview.
Data Analysis ; Interpretation
The interviews were conducted at a convenient time and location for the participants, aiming to create a comfortable and relaxed environment. The participants were presented with the interview protocol and informed that not all questions were mandatory to answer (refer to the Ethical Issues section).
The study employed grounded theory, as described by Strauss and Corbin (1998), for the analysis of data. This method involved deriving theories directly from the collected information. Initially, the recorded interviews were examined line-by-line to identify crucial points, which were then grouped into broader constructs through focused analysis. From these constructs, categories were developed to help identify changing phenomena related to marriage.
Ethical considerations played a vital role in the study. Participants gave informed consent, understanding that their participation was voluntary and they had the option to withdraw or have their data removed at any time. Confidentiality and anonymity were strictly maintained, with only the experimenter and study evaluator having access to the recordings without sharing them with any third parties. The participants received local helpline information on their informed consent form and were encouraged to seek support from their General Practitioner if they experienced distress due to the study.
household physician or from the helplines of charities.
This survey aimed to comprehend why the significance of matrimony is changing in today's society by conducting semi-structured interviews. Grounded
theory was used to uncover that not only is the institution of marriage perceived differently nowadays, but the ideals surrounding it have also undergone transformation. Issues related to the replacement of marriage, pre-marital sex, and social support were also raised.
Deinstitutionalisation of Marriage
All participants expressed that the traditional belief in marriage, i.e.
The significance of getting married for economic or power reasons has lost its importance, although the degree varied among individuals. Jem stated that being with the person he truly loved, even without getting married, would be sufficient. (Lines 152-153, Jem) Don believed that marriage was only a vow made before God, and as long as people fulfilled this vow, it constituted a fulfillment of marriage. (Lines 28-31, Don) Both Jem and Don saw the institution of marriage as nothing more than a contractual agreement on paper. Jem emphasized the importance of love (see Individualized Marriage), while Don viewed marriage as solely a commitment to fulfill the vow. Don considered the concept of marriage to be less important than the vows themselves.
These changing positions may be due to the variety of marriage options available (Thornton, Axinn & Xie, 2007) in the United States. People can choose between a traditional wedding ceremony or one that does not require external authorization. Research has also found that the concept of marriage was used without a clear definition. Many individuals, including researchers, considered others as married simply based on their self-presentation, without much concern for the rituals and procedures that make a marriage official (Thornton & Young-DeMarco, 2001). Interestingly, only the male participants expressed such views. The female participants, on the other hand, believed that marriage is extremely important for
various reasons. "Marriage is important; I want to experience it and go through with it. It's every young girl's dream to see it and take the relationship to the next level" (Lines 130-131, 138, K). "Ahh because that's part of life, it's the next step to create a family" (Lines 143-144, P).
"It's important because I have kids. I think it's more important because I have kids and you see when you have kids and they love their father or the mother. So you try to keep the family together in that kind of sense." (Lines 136-139)
B.K & P believed that marriage was an integral part of human development and should be experienced as a part of the human journey. They believed that wanting to get married was the norm and had binding contracts to symbolize this stage of life. On the other hand, B believed that as a mother, marriage provided a stable family unit and should happen for the sake of the children and to ensure they were raised in a loving family. These findings differed significantly from previous studies.
The worsening matrimony rates for adult females were higher than for men, suggesting that adult females found matrimony less important due to increased education (see Introduction) (Goldscheider & Waite, 1986). However, conflicting results can be explained by the concept of individualized marriage. All participants agreed that individualized marriage, characterized by love, commitment, communication, and emotional intimacy, should occur to varying degrees of importance (Lamanna & Riedmann, 2009). According to Don, matrimony is a commitment that must be made by both parties (Line 13). K stated that love is stronger than compatibility and without it, one
would not get married with the individual (Line 21 & Line 30).
Marriage should require compatibility because it increases the likelihood of a successful marriage. Lines 9-11, P. All but B believed that commitment and love were important prerequisites for marriage, as these factors contribute to marital success. Simpson, Campbell & Berschied (1986) also found that both men and women consider romantic love essential for marriage and would not get married without it. The researchers further discovered that romantic love is crucial for maintaining a marriage. The reason why these ideals of marriage exist today is because marriage is now optional (Willetts, 2006), which brings with it expectations that did not exist in the past. These ideals help couples overcome challenges in their marriage (Wallerstein & Blakeslee, 1995), but they may have set the bar too high, leading to disappointments (Giddens, 2007).
It is possible that this could lead to participants delaying marriage until they find the 'right one'. In relation to the previous topic, this could explain why our female participants viewed marriage as crucial because, to them, marriage encompasses these ideals.
Personalized Marriage: Practical Support
However, B also believed that love was important, but practical support, especially in economic terms, was her primary concern. "I think love is important, but I know that marriage can work without love. Love is not always everything, it's also about the future" (Lines 16, 20, B). "You need a man who is established, has a career, obviously the finances to have a car or whatever and good credit" (Lines 124-125, B).
The female participants in this study expressed similar views on the importance of emotional support
and the ways in which their partners help out in the house and handle conflicts. They emphasized the need for open communication and mutual agreement on how to raise a family. These findings align with previous research that highlights the significance of instrumental support, particularly for women in romantic relationships (Florian, Mikulincer & Bucholtz, 1995). However, the male participants did not mention any need for instrumental support. Hence, these results can be potentially explained by the gender differences in seeking support.
Marriage's significance may only be upheld if there is instrumental support involved.
The Substitution of Marriage
Some participants argue that cohabitation serves as a substitute for marriage, resulting in a decline in marriage rates and the diminishing importance of marriage. "(cohabitation) takes away from the sanctity of marriage and if you're going to live with someone before getting married, then why bother getting married." Lines 39 - 41, P. "When you live with someone it's like you're already married." Lines 62-63, K. "If you live with someone and start to understand how they are, it becomes easier for you to end the relationship rather than work on it when you're married" Lines 47-49, B. Interestingly, gender plays a role in shaping opinions on this matter.
P & K believed that cohabitation was akin to marriage without the formal wedding ceremony, and they believed that by living together, it undermined the significance of marriage. B viewed cohabitation as diminishing the importance of developing meaningful relationships, as it allowed individuals to easily end the relationship without significant consequences. On the other hand, B saw marriage as reinforcing the relationship, as it ensured that couples would not give up when facing
difficulties. According to Don, "Cohabitation can actually be used and employed as a useful tool uhm to help couples work towards marriage because when you cohabitate with someone you necessarily get to better understand that person" (Lines 134-136). Additionally, Jem stated that cohabitation "kinda takes that compatibility to another level where you're actually erm seeing what it's like living with somebody" (Lines 86-87). Contrarily, Don and Jem regarded cohabitation as a constructive means of understanding one's partner.
Cohabitation provided them with an opportunity to experience living with someone else and determine if their partner was suitable for them. According to Rhoades, Stanley & Markman (2009a), males viewed cohabitation as a way to validate their relationships, whereas females saw it as a convenient option for economic reasons (Rhoades, Stanley & Markman, 2009b). These findings reflected the results of this study. The women in this study were from middle-class backgrounds, so economic considerations may not have been their primary concern. Therefore, cohabitation seemed to contradict the values of marriage for some individuals, while others believed it could contribute to marital success.
Upon reexamining the information and consequences, it can be speculated that the importance of marriage today is determined by three factors, as seen from the perspective of the couples involved. These factors include the extent to which marriage has been deinstitutionalized, the presence of individualized marriage and the level of support available, and the degree to which marriage has been replaced by cohabitation.
This study offered an advantage over previous research, which used quantitative methods to analyze the issue. The use of positive resonance provided an efficient and simple way to gather information about feelings and opinions. The
validity of this study was also high, as participants were able to discuss the issue in detail and depth. The results showed that questions and answers could be clarified, highlighting potential areas for further discussion. Additionally, data saturation was achieved, meaning that no new information was found in the interviews (Pickler, 2007).
However, like any questioning techniques, there were limitations to this method. The inquiries were not standardized, making it unreliable. In terms of validity, respondents may lie or have faulty recall (Banister, Burman, Parker, Taylor & Tindall, 2005). An important issue that arose from this survey was cultural differences. Despite all participants being middle-class, they did not all come from the same culture.
This initially was believed to have no impact on the survey, but the results suggest that cultural variations might explain the differing perspectives of participants. Future studies should either concentrate on marriage within a particular culture or conduct interviews and compare the outcomes across different cultures. Another potential topic to investigate in future research could be gender differences. I was genuinely amazed that despite conforming to societal norms, the female participants...
Cohabitation in societies other than their own exhibits a distinct and traditional mindset towards marriage. Further research can investigate the reasons behind this phenomenon. As a woman in a relationship, my interpretation of the data was influenced by my personal perception of the issue. Most of the data was gathered by other interviewers, meaning that I was not physically present. Therefore, I can only analyze the female participants' data through the perspective of a woman in a relationship.
Experiencing difficulty in comprehending the information provided by male participants, I felt as though I was
entering the mindset of a different species. Reflecting on the results, it is hard not to believe that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Fortunately, I was able to approach this topic as an impartial observer, so the material did not have an emotional or personal impact on me.
This study initially explored the significance of marriage in today's world. Ultimately, it raised the possibility of addressing the timeless question "Why do women want to get married?" (Angier, 1999).
During the study, it was discovered that marriage is considered important when viewed as a journey that needs to be undertaken, meeting various marriage criteria such as love and support, and whether or not a couple lives together. Females showed a stronger preference for marriage compared to males. While the factors of this model were anticipated, the varying degrees of importance were surprising and require further examination in future studies.
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