Preventing People From Marrying

There is an old joke that stands for the following proposition “marriage is the root of all divorces”.  Is the cart before the horse?  At this point in time the number of couples getting married has dramatically declined in the United States.  Prior generations, Generation X and the Baby Boomers, enjoyed a marriage rate of over 70%.  It was the custom for families in the United States to be married with children.  Now, the marriage rate is steadily declining. Millennials, those persons reaching adulthood in the 2000, are expected to get married with a marriage rate of less than 50%.  This is groundbreaking shift is truly shocking. 

What could be the cause for the reduction in marriages?  In a recent documentary produced by vice media  I opined that “love was a drug and that people would swim oceans and climb mountains for people they love, but they were less inclined to marry them because it is no longer a reflection of what the majority of the people are doing”.  Individuals and couples are weighing the advantages and disadvantages of marriage are overwhelmingly finding against marriage.

As a country of immigrants, the United States shifted towards the “immigration of the generation”.  For example, the waves of immigrants from 1914 through 1945 into the East Coast of the United States whether it was Italian, Irish, Polish seem to be predominately Catholics together with the Jewish populations also immigrating from Eastern Europe and Europe in general at that time.  Judeo Christian religions in society filling the harbors and reports of New York, Baltimore and San Francisco and coming into the United States valued marriage both as a religious tradition as well as an absolute necessity if not the next step in one’s life. Until recently, children conceived out of wedlock were, until only a few decades ago, still called “illegitimate” under the law and/or “bastards” a few decades earlier. This religious tradition gave rise to the secular recognition of the benefits of marriage. However, this rise in marriage rates may have been short lived. 

According to recent figures, married men make $16,000.00 more each year than unmarried men.  Furthermore, married men live longer.  Married couples report a greater feeling of happiness and contentment than unmarried people.  All signs point to marriage being good.  Marriage makes you healthier; happier and richer, according to the data.  However, marriage is not happening with the frequency that it did before and proportionally the number of married couples in the population will dramatically decrease as generation X and baby boomers age. 

Bloomberg news; Huffington Post and Fox News have recently run stories on what needs to be done to incentivize people to marry.  Married people are happier; live longer; and earn more.  They are better for the economy and they “breed” new tax payers.  The question is, how can the government incentivize marriage.  If religious values and customs are no longer the incentive (marriage has been watered down by easy annulments; almost a 100% chance of getting a Jewish “Get”; together with the fact that nobody seems to be saving themselves for marriage) how can family values and/or the government incentivize marriage.  This is the focus of the most recent documentaries and news reports on marriage.

The truth is, the divorce process and the way people have handled themselves (and we are not blaming lawyers here) has caused the millennial generation to grow up with a distaste for marriage. Divorce has caused more problems in more lives during childhood than any other significant event.  This generation has a stimulus response against marriage because it was their parents’ marriage and subsequent divorce that seem to have affected them most.

Blaming the lawyers is petty and simplistic.  Who can possibly say the lawyers are to blame when it is the parties that can’t agree on anything. The law is relatively simple: Custody; child support; and distributing the assets.  All things being equal it is the parties’ that act out of emotion and spite.   There have been times when our firm has have been instructed by a client to draw lines in the sand and take a stand of great financial harm to “make a point”.  This is dangerous ground for divorce lawyers as they must counsel clients regarding the difference between an aggressive strategy and irresponsible litigation.. 

Whether or not marriage as an institution grows or retreats is of no consequence to the underlying truth:  Love will never die.  At all times there will be people who are falling in love to the exclusion of all other things in their lives.  People will swim oceans; climb mountains and fight wars for love.  It will never die. Further, the primal instinct to procreate; to raise children; to carry on a legacy in your name is so strong in most individuals that this instinct will also never die. Whether or not these emotions and basic instincts are translated into marriage and/or legal unions in the future is of no consequence so long as people cherish each other and the children they make together.  

In the event that you cannot work things out or you have grown apart or your relationship is abusive or unhealthy, or possibly inappropriate please contact us for  a free consultation so that you can pursue happiness elsewhere.

Bryan L. Salamone & Associates is one of New York’s largest and most successful divorce and family law firms and is available for free consultations on selected cases.  Please call (631) 424-3597 or visit our website at

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