Happy Sunday, friends! How about another English Essay? As I mentioned last week and the week before, I have been asked by several people to share the essays I wrote for my Eng 101 class. Now that class is over (and I made a 98%!) I feel comfortable in sharing my work.
This assignment was a Position Essay! This one stressed me out to the point of writers block! I didn’t come up with an idea for it until the day it was due! Talk about last minute!
The task for this essay was to write an essay in which we chose a debatable topic that relates to some concept from Full Body Burden, take a stance on the chosen topic, and argue the reasons for the stance you are taking on the issue. My problem was the topics discussed in our fb group were all either political or conspiracy theory or nuclear, etc. I am not a political person at all! So I started outlines for several different essays but could never get past the planning part! On the last night I was laying in bed crying to my boyfriend about the assignment, I was sure I would get an F! At this point I was sure going back to college was a MISTAKE! But, as we talked about the assignment, and talked about my future and thus OUR future…. I got the idea! I turned this bad boy in with about 30 minutes to spare! My score: 96/100
The Irrelevance of Marriage In This Day and Age
a position essay by: Bunny Cates
copyright: April 24, 2014
Plagiarism is shitty, do your own work!
The original concept of love and marriage has become a trivial ideal in the various lifestyles of our society, today. What once was a symbol of love and respect is now more commonly used as a tax write-off or a leasing of a sexual partner. The majority of marriages today are not based on the concept of finding a lifelong partner. More commonly, marriages are based on convenience. Additionally, the “have it now” mentality caused by the instant gratification obtained by the usage of the internet and the “80/20 pursuit of happiness” have made people more willing to replace rather than fix a relationship that is not considered perfect. Furthermore, the instant access to a larger social circle available via the internet creates a much larger demographic of potential relationship partners. This “now” mentality is intensified by the fact that the lifespan of the average human has nearly doubled in the last one hundred years. The longer lifespan increases the chance of emotionally growing apart from one’s partner, couple that with the “have it now” mentality, and the accessibility of replacements; and the marriage vow of “Till death do us part” falls mute. The induction of the No-Fault Divorce Law, instated in the United States, has made getting out of a marriage as simple as signing a paper.
Many marriages today are considered marriages of convenience. A marriage of convenience is one in which the union is based on matters of personal gain rather than the reasons of family, love, or relationship. For example, marrying for a tax write-off, sharing insurance policies, citizenship, sharing day to day financial burden and/or child rearing, and religious pressures are all examples of marriages of convenience. These marriages only work as long as the initial benefit remains. Once the original needs that warranted these marriages are satisfied, these marriages fail ending in divorce.
Another issue hindering the livelihood of marriage in modern society is the introduction and abundant use of the internet. The ready availability of everything from material items to emotional and social support has induced a “have it now” mentality on more recent generations. At the click of a button, one can easily do things that in the past would require commuting or more effort to obtain, such as ask for advice or socially interact with peers from all over the world. This availability adds to the illusion that one can easily attain the perfect relationship. The instant gratification by replacement rather than repair perfectly demonstrates the theory of the 80/20. In this theory, it is believed that if a person is in a relationship that meets 80 percent of what they consider to be a perfect relationship; they will give up that 80 percent in favor of the 20 percent they do not currently have. This theory of relationship abandonment is also known as the “Grass is greener” syndrome among many divorcees.
As people age and mature, their interests and desires change. This change is natural and expected. This evolving is required if a person is to grow on any sort of emotional level. If a married couple is lucky, both parties’ interests grow in the same direction allowing the relationship to grow and mature together rather than separate. Unfortunately, humans are now living longer than ever before. A study by Smith and Bradshaw, in which they examined the patterns in life expectancy over the twentieth century (1900-1998) as reported by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) deemed that the average lifespan is now eighty years versus the 40 years at the beginning of the century. That is nearly double the amount of time for personalities to evolve and mature. Sadly, it is also double the amount of time for couples to grow apart. The chances of those personalities staying on the same path together in this extended time frame are slim.
Lastly, the No-Fault Divorce law was introduced into law in the state of California in 1969 and is now used in 50 states. As stated in the paper “The Effect of no-Fault Divorce Law on the Divorce Rate Across the 50 States and its Relation to Income, Education, and Religiosity.” Nakonezny surmised that this law would logically lead to an increase in the divorce rates because it has reduced the legal obstacles, the economic costs, and the psychological consequences of divorce. In previous years, a person needed to show burden of proof or reason as to why a marriage should be dissolved. This made the process of obtaining a divorce a tedious task both emotionally and financially. The party with fault would be subject to child support and alimony payments, lawyer fees, and in some cases restitution. The original law was put in place to help protect the marriage and forced couples to try to resolve their issues before they could walk away from their marriage. With no-fault divorce, the court recognizes the breakdown of the relationship without any cause being given. Financial burdens such as child support and alimony are based on need rather than as a punishment. This law is basically a “get out of jail free” card in the game of life, with regards to marriage.
Many supporters of marriage, do so because their religious views support the sanctity of marriage. Admittedly, a common belief among all religions is that children out of wedlock are a sin. However, marriages based solely on this religious view fall under the convenience marriage category. An issue with convenience marriages, especially in marriages where religious views were the driving factor, is the changed view of what is accepted by society. In the past, a woman with a child out of wed-lock would be frowned upon. Mothers would stay in bad relationships, even abusive ones, to avoid the stigmatism of being an unwed mother. A perfect example of this is in the book Full Body Burden by Kristen Iverson. In the book, Iverson’s mother refuses to divorce her husband for fear of losing her stature in the community. When questioned by her children why she doesn’t leave, she replies “That’s what marriage is. A commitment” (119). In contrast, by today’s societal standards, marriage is not so much a commitment as it is a convenience. In modern times, religious beliefs have waned and it is perfectly acceptable for woman of all ages to be unwed and have a child.
More commonly, people marry due to the belief that the union will be financially beneficial in some way. This point must be conceded as in the United States the health and tax system is set up to favor married couples. The article “TAX CONSEQUENCES OF UNMARRIED COHABITATION.” written by Frank S. Berall discusses the complications with filing taxes if couples are merely co-inhabitants rather than married. Married couples gain higher tax exemptions, cheaper insurance policies, and even credit is more accessible. However, these benefits are all in the short term. When the stresses of these non-emotional relationships begin to show, divorce is the resolution. Those initial financial benefits are outweighed by the cost of the divorce, splitting real estate, support of the spouse in need, and the overall emotional burden brought on by the process.
Despite the small financial benefit of marriage, the ideal of marriage is really an antiquated institution in this day and age. People are no longer looking for companionship or a life-long partner. Instead, people today are looking for quick fixes for the stresses of everyday life. More than ever, people are willing to change partners as soon as a new need arises and the partner they have does not fill that need. People are undeniably living longer, and personalities will continue to grow and change throughout that lifetime. This growth will lead to new interests, as well as new needs waiting to be met. As long as we, as a society, harbor the mentality that it is easier to replace a relationship rather than take the time to fix it – marriage will remain an outdated ideal and continue to be irrelevant in today’s society.
Berall, Frank S. “TAX CONSEQUENCES OF UNMARRIED COHABITATION.” The Practical Tax Lawyer 18.2 (2004): 55-61. ProQuest. Web. 25 Apr. 2014.
Iverson, Kristen. Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats. New York: Crown Publishers, 2012. Print
Nakonezny, Paul A., Robert D. Shull, and Joseph Lee Rodgers. “The Effect of no-Fault Divorce Law on the Divorce Rate Across the 50 States and its Relation to Income, Education, and Religiosity.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 57.2 (1995): 477. ProQuest. Web. 25 Apr. 2014.
Smith, David W., and Benjamin S. Bradshaw. “VARIATION IN LIFE EXPECTANCY DURING THE TWENTIETH CENTURY IN THE UNITED STATES*.” Demography (pre-2011) 43.4 (2006): 647-57. ProQuest. Web. 25 Apr. 2014.