Marriage "Enormous Changes Have Occurred Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

In Europe and other Western societies, the individual may be expected to make some self sacrifices for the common good. The emphasis on social well-being and social integrity prevents people from frivolously terminating relationships, whether they be cohabitations or marriages. In the United States, cohabiting or marriage relationships are often terminated for reasons that can be easily classified as selfish in nature. Americans have conflicting beliefs and values related to marriage and cohabitation, though. Most Americans believe that marriage should last forever, yet an astonishing number of Americans do not work hard to make their marriages or domestic partnerships last (Cherlin, 2010).

One prevailing, and also paradoxical, belief in American society is that it is better for children to experience divorce than it is for the parents to remain in a relationship that is personally unfulfilling. Americans seem to value marriage and individualism at the same time, which can be contradictory. Many, but not all, Americans who value marriage do so for self-professed religious reasons. "In no other Western country is religious practice so vital and so influential in shaping people's beliefs," (Cherlin, 2010, p. 33). Yet Americans seem willing to manipulate religion in order to fit into a cultural belief system that emphasizes individualism more than collectivism. American law has been carefully crafted to reflect both individualism and religious values. As Cherlin (2010) points out, American law strongly stresses the pre-eminence of paternal responsibilities outside marriage by enforcing child support laws regardless of whether the parents were or are married. American law also follows cultural concerns related to the so-called "sanctity" of marriage, which is why the debate over same-sex marriage is so loud and chaotic in the United States.

Reference

Cherlin, a.J. (2010). How American family life…

Sources Used in Document:

Reference

Cherlin, a.J. (2010). How American family life is different. Chapter 1 in the Marriage Go-Round. New York: Vintage.

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