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Monday, December 16, 2013

Marriage, A Money Making Scheme?

Marriage is based on cultural idealization. In some countries it is legal for a man to have more than one wife, in other countries prearranged marriages still occur. In the U.S. we have free choice and are only legally allowed one spouse at a time. In America it has become common to get married more than once.  According to CDC in 2011 the marriage rate is 6.8 per one thousand total population and the divorce rate is 3.6 per thousand total population. Now this data excludes divorces for California, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana and Minnesota, so the divorce rate is possibly much higher or lower. Some resources actually claim it could be as high as 50%. In either case the cost of marriage and divorce can be very pricey.

According to CNN and Today the average cost of a wedding is approximately $28,000. Wow! That is amazing since the median income in this country is anywhere form the mid $41,724 in Kentucky to $71,122 in Maryland. Twenty eight thousand to the average person is a lot of money and that price doesn't include the honey moon. Now that is the average cost which means some people spend more and some spend less. Who is pocketing all that hard earned cash? Caterers, bakeries, fashion designers and retailers, hotels, photographers, musicians and more. It would seem weddings overall feed the economy although economically placing a gouge in the wedding couples pocket. According to the Census Bureau 55% of Americans have been married more than once. I sure hope they don't go to outrageous extremes for each wedding, but again I'm sure some do and some don't.

Now divorce can be just as costly according to MSN and Legal Zoom one can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000, and that is only for the lawyer and does not include the division of assets loss. According to the Census Bureau first marriages last a median of eight years. Delving further into my search I discovered that most people anywhere from 65% to 84% have married only once. Out of divorced people anywhere from 2% to 21% have been married 2 or more times. It appears that most people are choosing to stay single. I'm sure the reasons are not completely based on the cost of marriage vs. divorce but I have no doubt the financial factor is at least part of people's decision to not get remarried.

I myself was married for many years years and have now been divorced for several. Since my divorce I have often casually interviewed married and divorced couples. I have found an astonishingly high number of people who have been married for decades yet have no real relationship with their spouse. They live almost completely separate lives, although still living under the same roof. I say that loosely as most seem very pleased they no longer share a bed with their spouse. My question always is, "Why then are you still married?" The answer I always get is, "It's cheaper and easier than divorce?" What about happiness? If people are still married simply because it's easier can't one question the quality of their life and any other "relationship" they might enter into?

 I have met many people who have been remarried sometimes successfully but usually not. When I ask them, "Why did you get remarried?" They usually respond with something along the lines of, "I thought I loved him/her", "We had good times until we got married", "the relationship was fantastic when we lived together but once we got married it went down hill".

I am no psychologist but I can read between the lines and it appears a high number of people in this country get married for all the wrong reasons only to back out and get divorced or stick with it because it's easier, cheaper, more convenient. Myself I am in that 65-84% that married only once and will remain that way. Where do you stand? and how much did your wedding/ divorce cost you?

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