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The State Of Marriage in the 21st Century

What has become of marriage & what you can do about it

We will never forget when -during the early stages of us dating- it became very clear that we both had very different opinions and beliefs on marriage.

Where Cheyanne believed marriage was a life-long desire of hers, and a requirement, for life-long commitment & children, and Kim believed it was just something not necessary. We knew it was important for our relationship to continue to grow, we needed to get on the same page.

We began reading the book, The Meaning Of Marriage by Timothy Keller, together and it completely revolutionized the way Kim felt about marriage.

As he says, “if THAT is what marriage is all about, well, I want THAT.” 

But, this blog isn’t about the meaning of marriage we discovered in that book – although we do intend to go deeper into that in a future post.

In today’s post, we wanted to discuss & discover & write out for you, plain & clear, what we believe the state of marriage in the 21st century has become, so that you & any other person interested in marriage, or is already married, knows what to expect and what we are working against.

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Marriage has become just a contract.

To many people growing up in the late 20th or early 21st century, marriage has become equivalent as merely a contact between two people. 

Just as signing a rental agreement or a work contract, marriage has become a signed document that legally binds two people to each other.

In prepping this blog by polling our audience and asking some of our personal friends, some shared that they got married purely to protect their legal assets or provide stability for their children.

So, while ‘marriage’ didn’t have a greater meaning to them, they did get married simply for the benefits, like pension in retirement or etc. Thus, illustrating that marriage has become a legality and a contract. Where we know for many centuries, there has been a legal agreement, often signed by the couple & family members, as part of a marriage, it’s only in the more recent decades that marriage itself has been defined by the contract. 

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In the past, many couples would, indeed sign a contract to symbify the legal connection of marriage, however, they also would make the decision to not live together, wait to have children and buy a home only after entering into holy matrimony and making a promise to each other for life. Some studies have shown that one huge contributing factor to marriage being now seen more collectively in society as a “piece of paper,” could be attributed to the fact that a large majority of couples live “as if they’re married” without actually being so. 

Marriage is no longer a promise.

Speaking of holy matrimony and life long commitment, marriage is no longer a promise, but entered into with a more “conditional” basis. If you do this, this and this, then we will stay married. However, if you don’t, then I’ll just divorce you.

Where ‘divorce’ used to only take place in extreme cases of abuse and infidelity, nowadays, it seems as if it is the first option when there are signs of marital difficulties. 

In the U.S., you can’t drive down a highway without seeing a “divorce lawyer” billboard.

Ending a marriage has never been easier than in the 21st century, as many legal processes have been installed to expedite the process of divorce.

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Growing up in a society where half the marriages end up in divorce, one could easily feel that the promise we make on our wedding day, is but an empty promise.

“How can I promise that I will love you forever?”

What examples do we have that live this promise out?

Luckily, some do still exist. The downside may be that they make it seem so easy, which could also feed into those false expectations.

Marriage has become about “me.”

In an era that supports a “me, me, me”-mentality, is there room for a two-become-one-philosophy of marriage?

It even seems as if modern-day society aims to put our own individual happiness and personal fulfillment over anything else, including our marriages. 

In this way, unrealistic expectations can get put on a couple, as marriage has become focused on a “should make me happy, or else we get divorced” type philosophy.

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If you were to ask any couple that’s been married for longer than a year, they’ll admit that marriage in and of itself does not make one happy – all the time. 

An “I should be happy now”-mentality may actually be the fastest way to a divorce court, and yet, it is what the world nowadays wants us to believe through the various social media and advertisements that bombard us all day long.

To go deeper in this conversation & see what hope we have to making marriage last, check out our 20-min conversation on it here. 

So, where does that all leave us?

Those that want marriage could easily feel a little disillusioned, concerned, frustrated, and maybe even a little hopeless. 

It brings us to finding each other – other people who believe in marriage and want to rise above what the 21st century has turned it into. There are many that still see marriage as more than a contract or an empty promise that evolves all around me and my instant happiness.

Luckily, there are many still out there that believe that marriage is a promise made to someone for a lifetime.

And we know that despite our natural proclivity to an “instant gratification”-type lifestyle, many are dedicated to a marriage that is about unconditional love and is focused more on us than it is on me.

If you’re struggling in your marriage or quest to get on the same page with your husband, then we’d like to encourage you to take our quiz “How to improve the intimacy of your marriage”.

We’d also love to connect and encourage you in your marriage, so come say hi on our Instagram and subscribe to our Podcast and youtube right here. 

We can’t wait to talk with you and help reclaim marriage together. 

Xo, Cheyanne & Kim Cleyman

Love endures.

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