Part 1. Recent Changes in Relationship Behavior?
The question many couples ask themselves and often do not find an answer to until too late is why get married ?. They are persuaded by the excitements of the moment, rather than being prepared to face up to the fact that this is probably the most important decision of their life! It needs exploration and understanding not a mad dash to the nearest registrar.
Marriage is a way of living that has evolved over many, many generations. Over time laws and other boundaries have been set to make it a foundation of the society in which the couple live. Different religions and politically controlled groups have identified the necessary roles the couple perform and how they are best suited to the needs of that particular society. In some groups it is one man and one woman who create the unit, in others it might be one man and a number of women who create a unit and other combinations are also arranged in different cultures.
In these articles, I am using the model of one man and one woman forming the couple as the unit of a marital situation. In Western societies the choice of the pairing is free, in some other societies, marriages are still being pre-arranged to suit the needs of the social environment. Again, in this work I am assuming the focus is on couples, who have had a freedom of choice for their partner.
In the past 50-70 years the whole of the western society has experienced enormous changes. Travel has been changed by the development of the motor car, the aeroplane with their jet engines, and high speed trains for example. This has meant that we are not totally restricted in our choice of partners by those candidates living in our immediate circle. We can travel and meet a much more varied choice of companion than used to be possible.
Another significant change has been the social changes that have taken place. The social structure of society has become less fixed and it is much easier to move from one level of society to another, which has led to a wider selection of potential mates. The same factor has also seen a change in attitudes to those of different religious or race groups, so cross culture pairings have become more acceptable in that period.
The attitudes and tolerance of society to divorce and having children 'out of wedlock' is a sign of the loosening of the grip of the various church ideologies that have been social controllers in the past. This has made it easier for those who feel they have made a mistake in their choice of partner to divorce without blame. The legal systems have encouraged this freedom by making the legal requirements less difficult for divorcing couples.
Possibly the most important contributor to these changes has been the medical advances in this period. These advances have made it possible for people to live longer in general. They have also enabled many more women to survive childbirth than in the past, which has meant marriages are likely to survive longer now. The effect of the development of different types of birth control has also improved the women's expectation of a longer life. Women also have a choice whether their life should be dominated by pregnancy and giving birth, or whether to follow a career with children being allocated their own place in that scenario.
Today's young adults have grown up in a society dominated by a media that sells their sexuality to them. This is continually being promoted as the only thing that matters. The media dictates the terms necessary for the young teenager to feel a part of an acceptable scene. They are directed about their behavior patterns and what their life should be in order to be the sexual being who will become a complete adult. All this information is made available through the media rather than from their family or religious teachings.
The result of this pressure is that both young men and women are continually struggling to fit a mold to which few can aspire. Sadly they lose sight of their own personal strengths and become obsessed by their often imagined weaknesses. They lose confidence in themselves and are easily overwhelmed by any comments that can be heard as criticism-they are easy prey to bullying in all its forms.