The Psychology of Everyday Life:Love, Marriage, and the Baby Carriage


Why talk about marriage?

This playground chant illustrates the long-standing cultural expectation that romantic love inevitably leads to marriage. While this progression may have been the norm for most of American history, current social trends have veered away from this single path. In 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, fifty-six percent of the population over age fifteen was married. This means, however, that forty-four percent of the population was not. With the growth of single-parent households, single-person households, non-married cohabitating couples and same-sex couples, is it outdated to study the institution of marriage? Although the legal institution of marriage is no longer the sole option for adult relationships, it is still extremely widespread. The vast majority of people will be married at some point in their lifetimes, with estimates as high as ninety percent. Likewise, marriage as an institution is extremely widespread, essentially a cultural universal. For these reasons, marriage merits discussion in its own right. Furthermore, much of the material discussed below, such as what contributes to the success or failure of a marriage, is also relevant to non-marital relationships.


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