Today, marriage is the legal or formally recognized union of two people as partners in a relationship. It doesn’t matter if the union is between two people of different races or two people of the same sex. Still, as more and more couples have the legal right to wed, the number of people getting married in the U.S. is dropping.
The number of legal wedding ceremonies peaked in the early 1980s, but has declined since. Researchers blame the decline of religious adherence, the ease of divorce, a growing wealth and income inequality, and the education and rising wages of women, among other factors.
Others believe that, as the driving force of marriage shifted from financial and status to love and attraction, the pressure has increased. Today, married couples expect their partners to fulfill them emotionally, spiritually and sexually — which is not an easy ask. As these expectations increase, so does the likelihood that we’ll end up disappointed.