Marriage Will Be Multiple in the Coming Millennium

By Wetzstein, Cheryl | Insight on the News, December 13, 1999 | Go to article overview

Marriage Will Be Multiple in the Coming Millennium


Wetzstein, Cheryl, Insight on the News


Forget `til death do us part' -- unions will last only until the seven-year itch needs scratching. Experts predict people will marry four times in a lifetime without social stigma.

One hundred years from now, Americans will marry at least four times and have extramarital affairs with no public censure, says futurist Sandy Burchsted. Marriage will be viewed as a "conscious, evolutionary process."

Burchsted, who runs Prospectiva in Houston and is writing a book about marriage in the year 2100, sees denizens of the next century moving through at least four kinds of marriages. The first union will be "the icebreaker marriage," in which couples learn how to live together and become sexually experienced. Icebreaker marriages are likely to last no more than five years and be somewhat "cut and dried," says Burchsted. Once disillusionment sets in, couples will divorce without stigma.

The second marriage, known as "the parenting marriage," will last between 15 and 20 years. These couples will view raising children as their primary purpose, although child-rearing in the future will be in communal settings, not nuclear families. After the second marriage ends, couples may enter a third union, called a "self-marriage," in which they seek self-discovery and self-actualization. "We see marriage as a conscious, evolutionary process," says Burchsted, "so this marriage will be about consciously evolving yourself."

Finally, because people will be living until age 120, many couples will reach for a late-in-life "soulmate connection." In this fourth kind of marriage, couples will discover marital bliss, spirituality and equal partnership, says Burchsted, who bases her predictions on trends showing women becoming more financially independent, marriage and childbearing becoming delinked, "serial monogamy" becoming more acceptable and extramarital sexual affairs occurring more frequently and with less public outcry.

Researchers at the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University agree that the institution of marriage in America is weakening. Americans are "marrying later, exiting marriage more quickly and choosing to live together before marriage, after marriage, in-between marriage and as an alternative to marriage," write David Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead in their study, The State of the Union 1999: The Social Health of Marriage in America. While they believe that the desire of teens for a long-term marriage is higher than ever, they have found that girls have become "more pessimistic" about achieving such a union, and both boys and girls have become more accepting of unwed parenthood and other alternatives.

Such trends bode ill for marriage, say Popenoe and Whitehead, who nevertheless find hope in a grassroots marriage movement, including marriage-education classes in schools and communities and increasing acceptance of hard-to-dissolve "covenant" marriages. Many Americans will respond to the weakening of marriage with renewed dedication and success in achieving the goal of a long-lasting happy marriage, predict Popenoe and Whitehead.

Other marriage-watchers agree. There is a "bedrock point" beneath which humans will not go in reordering their relationships, says noted social analyst Francis Fukuyama, who spoke at a recent forum sponsored by the new Beverly LaHaye Institute, named for the founder of Concerned Women for America, in Washington. But due to the "technological and economic conditions of our age," it is extremely unlikely that people will readopt Victorian values and attitudes.

Fukuyama, author of The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order, cites the introduction of the birth-control pill and the increase in working women as key forces behind the family breakdown that began in the United States in the mid-1960s. Neither of these watershed events is likely to be reversed, he says. However, evidence is growing that the "great disruption" has run its course and a process of "renorming" has begun. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Marriage Will Be Multiple in the Coming Millennium
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.