A decline in the number of couples getting married, rising divorce rates and a number of embarrassing affairs in the media; why does it seem like marriage is failing us in the 21st century?
When comedian Greg Behrendt blurted out “he’s just not that into you” to a co-worker during a Sex and the City script meeting, it appeared in the ‘pick a little, talk a little’ episode and was instantly considered to be an epiphany for women. Behdrendt continued to enjoy the success of his passive sentence after the release of his self-help book, which inspired the star-studded film ‘he’s just not that into you’. One of the rules that appeared in the film was, ‘he’s just not that in to you if he’s not marrying you.’ It’s hard to argue with the success of a bestselling author, but it seems as though books like these project the idea that love should come effortlessly, that as soon as something doesn’t go smoothly it’s because it’s not the ‘one.’ Is it a bad relationship if someone chooses not to get married? But most importantly, does ‘the one’ even exist?
There seems to be pressure on couples to conform to this social construct and love someone ‘til death do us part,’ even though they may, sometimes through no fault of their own, fall out of love at any time. There is very little evidence to prove that humans are a monogamous species, so when we promise to be with one person for the rest of our lives we’re putting unnecessary strain on the relationship. Being bound by paperwork, expense and even the law, it’s hard for love to last under the weight of contemporary marriage. It seems as though it’s more like signing a business agreement than being in love. Most couples also enter into matrimony assuming that the stability will make them happier, but then complain that they begin to feel trapped or fall into a tedious routine. We set so many rules, conditions and boundaries around love, which makes me wonder, why can’t we just be happy without saying ‘forever’?
Cameron Diaz’s views on marriage were dismissed as a fear of settling down. She expressed in an interview;
“Who would want to be with the same person for 80 years? Why not break it up a little bit? I think people get freaked out about getting married and spending 20 or 30 years sleeping with the same person but if that’s the case, don’t do it. Have someone for five years and another person for another five years. Life is long and lucky and yes, love might last forever, but you don’t always live with the person you love forever.”
But maybe she has a point. When people are constantly changing and falling out of love, is there really just that ‘one’ person out there for all of us?
Maybe we’re just not that into marriage.