The Future of Marriage in Western Civilisation

The Future of Marriage in Western Civilisation

The Future of Marriage in Western Civilisation

The Future of Marriage in Western Civilisation

Excerpt

Recent years have been notable for an enormous literature dealing with sex and marriage. A dominant note of it is the assertion that the rapid changes in all human relationships which characterise our age are particularly great in the relationships between the sexes. Marriage is said to be facing a crisis; and some writers even speak of its collapse or "bankruptcy", and of "free love" taking its place. We are told that marriage no longer binds, no longer unites; that "the new casual way of sexing has modified all our traditional thinking on the subject of holy matrimony"; that the family has disintegrated beyond repair; that home has become merely "a place to dine and die"; and that the time will come when marriage and the family have altogether ceased to exist.

My earlier study of the history of marriage naturally gives me an additional interest in its future. It may be considered out of place for a sociologist to indulge in prognostications. But did not Comte say that we seek to know in order to foresee, that the final goal of science is to foretell future events? In any case, all our predictions must be based on facts that are known to us. How then are these facts to be utilised? It has been pointed out that, with regard to the relationships of the sexes, our knowledge of the lines of evolution in the past and of the tendencies at present is fruitful for the understanding of what is likely to happen in the future. But it may be misleading unless we also know the causes of those trends. In this respect . . .

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