General Question

Facade's avatar

Why are people so cynical about marriage?

Asked by Facade (22917points) April 29th, 2009
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

42 Answers

kenmc's avatar

Divorce rate 50%

Religious connotations


Roots in sexism

hug_of_war's avatar

The divorce rate is it for me. If I choose to do something, I want to believe I have a good shot at it, and 50/50 is not favorable odds. And that’s not even including unhappily married couples.

Dog's avatar

Part if it is “puppy syndrome”

When you get a puppy it is fun cute, cuddly and life is wonderful. But puppies need a lot of work, attention and are a commitment. Many end up in the shelter because the people who adopted them did not put in the effort.

Marriages require constant work. Keeping communication open means taking time and patience.

Marriage requires both parties to commit to making it work and sad that is not always the case.

All this being said I will add that the rewards of nurturing a marriage are incredible.

Facade's avatar

@hug_of_war Marry the right person, and it won’t be a problem.

hug_of_war's avatar

@Facade heh, that’s the optimistic not realistic viewpoint

casheroo's avatar

I’m sorry, but can someone post a link to these divorce rate statistics?

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I believe it’s a bit of reverse idealism going on. Since the time of my parents’ wonderful generation, rebellious bigmouths everywhere have tried to purport marriage as a useless and empty ceremony representative of outdated religious and social mores. The spin is that if you still believe in the social recognition of a committed bond then you lack something in your personality, social evolution or self esteem. It’s bullshit evidenced by watching so many who cry out loudest go and take it up themselves.

There’s not a thing wrong with modern couples still wanting to be married and having that bond recognized by others through ceremony, legal document, whatever. Personally for my own self, I feel this way: “I feel so committed to you that I will even go through ancient rituals as a show of my enthusiasm and love, I’ll give you the whole nine yards of past present and future.”

kenmc's avatar


According to enrichment journal on the divorce rate in America:
The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%
The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%
The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%

Lupin's avatar

Here are the numbers from National Center For Health Statistics by year 2000 to 2007. Marriage rate is decreasing. Divorce rate is pushing 50% .

Lupin's avatar

@boots So that old expression: “Third time’s a charm.” simply is not true.

casheroo's avatar

thanks for the links!

I’m not sure why people are cynical. I don’t pay attention to the numbers, I’m too busy concentrating on my happy marriage :)

Facade's avatar

@casheroo Fantastic. I never understood why people think statistics hold true for them and their lives.

Lupin's avatar

Well, based on the statistics I can figure out how many cynics there are. The half that stay married usually don’t talk about it. They go about life happily without showing off or making noise.
We’ve been married for a long time. More than half my life.

btko's avatar

Married people live longer I’ve heard.

3or4monsters's avatar

I’m cynical when it comes to running as a health improvement method because I’m really bad at it. That doesn’t mean running is bad for people, even if 50% of the people are doing it wrong and getting injured.

Each married experience is unique, which renders statistics meaningless, in my opinion.

Dog's avatar

@3or4monsters I completely agree.

Dog's avatar

I have often wondered- if they required a 6 month wait for a marriage license as they have to enact a divorce if the overall divorce rate would drop?

Impulsive commitments often make for failed marriages.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t believe people are cynical at all. I think we are very hopeful. I don’t think we’d get married if we weren’t hopeful.

exitnirvana's avatar

I have seen a lot of marriages fail, and those that haven’t vary from gloriously happy to completely miserable. Despite my observations, I also know that each marriage is different and what may have occurred for one couple is not guaranteed to happen to anyone else, myself included. So, I can’t say that I’m cynical about it—somewhat skeptical to some extent, but never to the point of negativity. However, I def. feel that marriage isn’t something to be rushed into, nor is it just something to do because one feels it may be required. It’s a lot of work, and I suppose if one accepts that and remains hopeful for the future then there is nothing to remain cynical about. To each their own.

Jack79's avatar

…maybe they’ve tried it?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t think people are all that cynical about marriage…many still want it, look for it, obsess over it…the divorce rate might have something to do with divorced people being cynical about marriage…I don’t believe marriage in the ‘good old days’ was any happier or unhappier…just that people (women for the most part) couldn’t get a divorce as it was looked down upon…

I think people are cynical about relationships in general as it’s hard to find true love and getting married and having kids can put a strain even on the best of ‘em

essieness's avatar

Having jumped into my first marriage and failing at it, I’m definitely more cautious this time. More cynical, yes, and definitely plan on taking my time next time around. It’s easy enough to say “marry the right person and it won’t be a problem,” but the fact is, people change. People lie. People grow apart. Marriage has it’s perks: a built in best friend, tax breaks, dual incomes, someone to have sex with, shared insurance plans… But it’s hard work. While I do believe marriage is sacred, I think it’s a bigger mistake to stick it out with someone you don’t want to be with just because you “signed a contract” as my ex put it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

even if marriages come apart, I don’t think it means that ‘it failed’, you know? it just means that relationship is over, that’s all and that you thought it was important enough to join yourself together legally

skfinkel's avatar

They haven’t met my parents, celebrating with much love this summer their 65th wedding anniversary.

Aethelwine's avatar

@skfinkel That’s so sweet! My grandparents were married just as long and my parents just celebrated their 40th.

Poser's avatar

Unrealistic expectations.

tonedef's avatar

I grew up in a Navy town—Jacksonville, FL—that has a staggering divorce rate (for all marriages) is 72%, just for more numbers.

But why are people cynical about it? Everyone else answered it. I’d love to even be able to have ONE marriage. I need to move out of Florida. What a shithole.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Because society is losing its grasp on the value of marriage; quick to point out divorce rates as if that’s a viable reason not to get married. Do statistics control their lives? Didn’t their mothers tell them the “What if Billy jumped off a bridge..” story?

IMHO, divorce rates have increased because people (as a whole) are getting weak. Commitment is becoming obsolete in favor of the quick fix.

Is there any surprise that statistics show that when a person gets divorced once, their second marriage will likely fail? Not to me. They aren’t committed.

Marriage is supposed to be in sickness and in health , till death do us part. Divorce rates would not be so high if people could only mean what they say… Marriage does take work.. if you aren’t willing to go through trials and tribulations with the person you are marrying.. holy crap batman .. you shouldn’t be getting married!

The other reason I think divorce rates are so high is because marriage rates are so high. People are getting married for the passion, not the love… for the sex, not the companionship. Not dating long enough.. promiscuity.. “eating the candy instead of the apple”... they are all reasons why people end up getting divorced… but as usual.. it is not the institution that is at fault (marriage) .. it is the people who have placed so little an investment in it.

cak's avatar

I have met many people (both single, never married and divorced) that are very cynical. Some just think it’s such an outdated institution. The divorced ones just had a bad experience and have said they don’t want to go back down that road, again.

I’m not cynical about marriage. I have a good one – it’s pretty strong, too. We work together.

fireside's avatar

There is a serious loss of trust in our society.

People used to trust their government, there were failures and many now don’t trust the government or politicians.
People used to trust their churches, there were failures and many now don’t trust the the church or religion.
People used to trust their bankers, there were failures and many now don’t trust Wall Street or the bankers.
People used to trust their families, there were failures and many now don’t trust marriage.

I don’t know what it will take for people to learn to trust again, but I see a strong need for it.

ems's avatar

Men are sometimes cynical of marriage because when they do fail men are often the one’s who take it in the shorts financially. Especially if there are children involved.

knitfroggy's avatar

People are cynical about marriage because of the divorce rate, I think. I grew up with married parents, as did my husband-I’ve been told this gives us a better chance of staying married. I don’t know if this is true or not, but that’s what I’ve been told. My 70 year old grandmother says that marriage is an unnatural state. She says that people would be happier if they didn’t get married and had different partners thru out their lives. She was married 52 years before Pops died, so I don’t know where she got her ideas. I’ve been married 10 years and can’t imagine being with someone else!

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

People who are cynical about marriage shouldn’t get married.

essieness's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Yeah you have a point and I needed to hear that. I’m hard on myself about it sometimes.

YARNLADY's avatar

It’s partly because the commonly quoted “divorce rate” is very misleading. The number is arrived at by comparing the number of marriages in the reporting year to the number of divorces that year. It makes no effort to determine the acutal number of all marriages since the beginning of time compared to the number of divorces since the beginning of time. In reality, there are more marriages that have lasted than the numbers indicate. Plus, many of the divorces reported are the same people who were on the marriage/divorce list several times.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

seeing numerous failed marriages around them.

Blackberry's avatar

It’s strange, when people I know get married or engaged, instead of being happy for them, I think ‘What a mistake you just made…’.

Facade's avatar

@Blackberry How nice for you.

Blackberry's avatar

@Facade Oh, sorry lol. As far as my answer, it’s in a lot of the answers above.

BoBo1946's avatar

A man who says marriage is a 50–50 proposition doesn’t understand two things: 1 – Women, 2 – Fractions.

hopeful5141's avatar

I am not cynical, but when you hear about what some people tolerate int heir marriages and/or go through trying to divorce, you can understand why people become fearful. Marriage seems either to be the best or worst decision that people make. As they say with the nightly news, you only hear about the bad stuff, so perhaps people have a skewed view of things. It makes me sad that people do seem more cynical about marriage, but I can understand why…

Truth1's avatar

Unrealistic expectations for sure is the best answer amongst other factors such as we now break all Natural Laws some called Traditionalism then wonder for instance, why women cannot find a so called “good man” anymore? Well, natural as it that men cannot bare children and so they are the Natural providers and yet women have all but taken over both roles except that they farm out kids to daycares. It is a culture going down into an abyss of no recovery. I speak to tons of young men moots of which do not want to marry or have kids while women are far too delusional thinking “guys” should always be able to make what they do or much preferably more as THEY compete and take what could be male jobs. Go figure. No logic in this deduction and so many women eventually have a baby come hell or high water than expect Government hell, Child Support, and a lonely “guy” to move in and be a step Dad…that is becoming the norm.

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