What has marriage become?

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Author: Tanvi Varma

Marriage is one of the most sacred relationships two individuals can have. On the topic of marriage, Homer (the Greek philosopher and author of the Odyssey & Iliad) once said that “there is nothing greater and better than [marriage] — when a husband and wife keep a household in oneness of mind, a great woe to their enemies and joy to their friends, and in high renown.”

Traditionally, marriage was a coming together between a man and a woman. However, through the years, it has become a legal union of equality between two individuals of either gender. It is a promise to treat each other with love and respect, help one another grow and be a pillar of support in times of need.

In previous generations, marriage was a life-long commitment. The phrase “till death do us part” was literal in its meaning, essentially implying that the sacred bond of matrimony would continue until the end of life. Only in situations of domestic violence or infidelity would a termination of marriage be allowed, as divorce was not looked upon highly. However, over the years, it became increasingly common. According to statistics provided by The Guardian, the number of divorces in 1950 was 30,780 compared to 118,140 divorces in 2012.

Similarly, Hollywood has created the notion that divorce is acceptable. Several celebrities have recently ended their marriages citing “irreconcilable differences.” The key word is “irreconcilable,” which poses the question of whether the issue was actually unresolvable, or whether the couple gave up too easily. It formulates the idea that one day, married individuals wake up and decide that they don’t want to be together anymore. I feel this way because the termination of short marriages is hard to understand. For example, Britney Spears’ ended her marriage to Jason Alexander after 55 hours while Kim Kardashian ended her marriage to Kris Humphries after 72 days. What is incomprehensible is how individuals can enter into a legal union and then make a decision to end it so quickly, as 55 hours and 72 days are an insufficient amount of time to get to know a person. Essentially, it is nipping a bud before it can fully bloom.

It is important that celebrities create the right impression especially for the younger generations. Since they are so influential, celebrities have to be certain of their decisions because the current overall trend gives off the notion that divorce is the solution to the problems. Celebrities may actually have issues that are unfixable, therefore making divorce a viable option. However, because of the notion Hollywood has created, most people think that marriage was just a rash decision or a publicity stunt. After Kim Kardashian announced that she was ending her marriage to Kris Humphries, reports claimed that the Humphries-Kardashian wedding was a way of staying in the spotlight as all the media’s attention was focused on them. Claims of this being another stunt to keep viewers engrossed in Keeping Up with the Kardashians emerged, since fans are solely interested in the dramatic lives of the Kardashians.

Furthermore, most of the marriages do not work out because celebrities regret getting married or may find differences that they had not known previously. It would be wiser, especially in today’s modern day and age, to try the experiment of temporarily living together. It is a conventional method of seeing whether two individuals are compatible living together, and what married life is like without actually entering into a legal commitment.

While the institution of marriage has been altered over the years, it is still a life-long commitment, in my opinion. When I decide to get married, I want to make sure that I am 100 percent ready to take the big step. I would need reassurance and certainty that the individual I am marrying will be the one with whom I will spend the rest of my life. Before getting married, I would need a plan for the future and have no doubt that he will keep me happy. If we have a problem, I will work as hard as I can to fix it on my side. However, I would need to know that he will do the same on his side. When I enter into this legal union, I would be in it “till death do us part.”

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