Growing up, I always believed I could have whatever career I wanted and go to whatever college I wanted to (as long as it was dirt cheap). If I had known that going to college would decrease my chance of getting married, as a recent study shows, I probably would’ve thought twice before enrolling. For you single guys out there, you’ll be happy to know Elizabethtown is 64.6 percent women, according to the College’s Office of Registration and Records.
I’ll be honest — after reading a recent study in the Journal of Marriage and Family, that college decreases your chance of getting married, a 38 percent decrease for men and a 22 percent decrease for women, seemed like a load of crap. After all, college is always depicted in movies as being the place where people meet their potential spouse, fall in love, or at least hook up (whatever “hooking up” actually means).
After thinking about it though, it began to make sense to me. Think back 50 years, when the world was a lot more sexist. Women were depicted as being home-makers and men held the jobs. Simply put, this was a messed-up depiction of the roles that men and women should play in society. What we’re seeing today, though, is men pursuing college degrees more than they did in the past and women being encouraged to pursue college degrees that allow them to work in careers that fit their interests.
I think this explains a lot of the reasons why the marriage rate decreases for individuals who pursue college, especially the 22 percent decrease for women. Women aren’t interested in being cooped up in a house all day like they were pressured to do in the past; they’re interested in being able to independently support themselves financially. Much of the reason women got married in the past was a result of society discouraging them from pursuing a college education. If they didn’t have a college education which allowed them to get a job, they usually relied on a man to support them financially.
This is completely unnecessary today as women are pursuing degrees that land them jobs and cause them to be financially stable individuals. I think this is one of the reasons society has flourished so much more than in the past. Education among individuals, especially among women, has opened up a door of unrealized potential. Women have always had insight to offer society, but as a result of general ignorance, only recently have we begun to experience the results of encouraging women to become independent. That concludes my women’s rights plug.
As for the decreased rate among men, I think this one is harder to explain. This is my own personal theory — I think marriage is not stressed as highly as it has been in the past as being something of a necessity. After all, why marry a girl if you can just live with her? (I’m speaking hypothetically, not my own point of view necessarily.)
Getting married used to be the thing all guys worked toward. You know, meet a nice girl, settle down, have a few kids and get a house with a white picket fence. That sort of thing. Living together before getting married would’ve been very hush-hush or taboo. Nowadays, this is fairly commonplace. Lots of couples live together prior to being married and it’s not really viewed as weird by the majority of people. Although I personally wouldn’t encourage it, I’m not going to judge couples who see the benefits of it.
In summary, and I know I’ve been all over the board in regards to this issue, I think the marriage rate decreases among college attendees simply because of a lack of desire for marriage. Marriage really isn’t romanticized as much as it has been in past decades; sex seems to have taken its place as being the goal of every able-bodied twenty-something-year-old kid. Becoming financially stable, having a career and living the American Dream does not require marriage; neither is it encouraged. I personally have witnessed my parents work through 33 years of marriage and can say that it’s tough and not for the faint of heart. However, it’s something I can see myself doing someday with the right someone.