In part it read,
"The institution of marriage has undergone significant changes in recent decades as women have outpaced men in education and earnings growth. These unequal gains have been accompanied by gender role reversals in both the spousal characteristics and the economic benefits of marriage…The shifts in the educational attainment and earnings capacity that men and women bring to marriage have played out against fundamental changes in the institution of marriage itself. These days, Americans are more likely than in the past to cohabit, divorce, marry late or not marry at all. There has been a marked decline in the share of Americans who are currently married. Among U.S.-born 30- to 44-year-olds, 60% were married in 2007, compared with 84% in 1970."
This is certainly representative of my life. I am the bread winner in our household (only 4% of women topped their husband's income in 1970). I completed a higher education than my husband (although trust me, you wouldn't always know it). I cohabited with my husband before we were married and we didn't marry until we were in our 30's. And one of us has been married once before.
I always thought that since I grew up in close proximity to the city of Boston and my husband grew up in the Bronx, NY, that we didn't represent the rest of America very well. We seem to work and live at a faster pace than other parts of the country. We don't know many people who married their high school sweethearts. Few of my friends had children while in their early 20's. In fact, I have several girlfriends who are married and have opted not to have children at all. I have close friends who never married and it's not even a topic when we get together. Marriage, schmarriage. You do it or you don't – not a deal breaker, right?
But I wonder if I am blind to what is around me and if we do look more like the rest of the country's married couples than I thought? Do married men and women in Kentucky, Alabama, North Dakota and parts of Texas live a life so different from mine? Do they value their marriage differently? How do you view your marriage – is it economics and education or love and passion?
I don't often think about what life would have been like if I lived and married in 1970 – but I do think about the decisions that lie ahead for my children as the state of marriage is obviously shifting. Will they find love and marry? Or will it be a world of "Snookis" and "The Situations" simply cohabiting on the Jersey Shore? (And for the record, I've never turned that show on ever! I swear!!)