“Someday you’ll get married and have a family.” That phrase is brainwashed into girls’ heads each time they play with their Barbie dolls or wear fancy dresses on holidays. But the question that isn’t answered is “what is marriage?”
Marriage is being monogamous with one person. Marriage is cheating on your spouse because they don’t show enough affection. Marriage is an open relationship with your spouse in which you go to swingers’ parties together. Marriage is having more than one spouse at the same time. Marriage is having a spouse of the same sex. Marriage means so many things in American society, but one thing is for sure: It does not mean the same thing it meant years ago.
My “Mad Magazine” calendar offered a thought-provoking statement that reads, “Before you get married, ask yourself: ‘Is this the man you want your children to spend every other weekend with?'” Many times, when people think of marriage, they immediately think of divorce. Then there’s the prenuptial agreement, which decides the marriage rights and obligations each party will have in the event of a divorce or death.
Divorce is the new expectation. Everyone knows over half of marriages in the United States end in divorce. I didn’t realize how rare lasting marriages seem to be until someone remarked that it was odd my parents are still together. But in 2001, there were over nine million marriages and over four million divorces. Younger women who divorce are more likely to remarry also: 81 percent of those divorced before age 25 remarry within 10 years, compared with 68 percent of those divorced at age 25 or over.
Either way, the remarriage rate is high for all ages.
Dot-coms are in on this too, making a profit from the increasing number of divorces. Web sites such as CompleteCase.com and LegalZoom.com charge about $50 to $300 for a couple to get divorced online. The couple still has to appear in court, but the Web site provides all the legal paperwork. The operators of the Web sites admit that they are not law firms and do not provide legal advice; they just happen to be ordinary people making a living by turning miserable married couples into happy singles.
Following the dot-com trend are the Web sites that cater specifically to romance. In addition to buying your groceries online, you can buy your wife too. Hundreds of websites offer databases of mail-order brides from foreign countries, with women between the ages of 16 and 70 posing in bathing suits and lingerie in hopes of finding a husband who will love them for their personality. For instance, a 23-year-oldwomanon RussianBridesOnline.com boasts, “I am without any bad habits. I have no imperfections. I want to get married to a man from the United States, England or from Canada.” Marriage for citizenship seems like an imperfection to me, but it is a bad habit that will continue as long as the Internet exists. But at least those couple always has the option to get divorced on the same place they met – the Internet.