Marriage as a Family Topic

Essay samples

Marriageas a Family Topic

Thefamily is a society’s basic institution that is foundend on theelement of marriage, a practice that involves two people. Over theyears, the institution of marriage developed from the need ofcompanionship and desire to raise children, thereby raising a family.However, over the years, this perspective has changed due to the waythe media presents marriage as a concept and a social institution.According to Waite (483), the concept of marriage has attractedseveral debates concerning its importance and purpose due todifferent viewpoints over the institution of a family. Waite (484)reviews several trends in the last four decades regarding thepractice of marriage by exploring the demographics of the married andunmarried people over time.

Accordingto Edin and Reed (118), the institution of marriage has changed interms of its importance as seen in the history of America. Edin andReed (118) observe that in the last in the last six decades, allAmericans were getting married at almost the same rate in thepopulation. However, the trend changed in the mid-1980s as poor womenbecoming more likely to marry than those who were rich (Edin and Reed118). This indicated a perceived economic factor of influence on thedecision on whether to marry or not to marry. Edin and Reed (118)further observe that those who were married had a similar trend interms of establishment of families. This is because poor marriedpeople were more likely to have children than those who were notpoor.

Inwhat Cherlin calls a marriage-go-round, the concept of marriage hascontinued to change even in recent times. Cherlin (11) arguesthatmarriag has changed and become complex in line with the moderncontradictions of the American culture. This is because of changes inthe set of values that used to define marriage and the generalinstitution of the family as a social unit. It is for this reasonthat Edin and Reed (119) observe the change of attitude from tellingyoung people to get married to advising them to take time beforemaking such decisions. This indicates the changes that took placeover last decades and continue to occur in regard to marriage.

Mediaand Article presentation of Family

Themedia has been influential in the creation of the public concept ofmarriage and the appreciation of the institution of family. Thepresentation of marriage by the media is varied due to the subjectivenature that different media publishers have on various topics.Therefore, the media may not have generally presented the concept ofmarriage objectively. This means that the changes in marriage statusand family as a social unit may not have been well articulated by themedia. To explore the role of the media, it is important tocritically look at different questions.

Inregard to accurate articulation of the present changes to the family,the media has not achieved such levels of presentation. The mediacannot maintain the accuracy of the articulation of a social issuethat they do not comprehend its importance. The media only illustrateopinion and the views of people on the family institution based onthe beliefs of the publisher, reports or the writer. For instance,the reporting of a case on divorce or cohabitation may not report allthe details of the case will reported by the media due to thesensitivity of the issue. This means that the media reports onchanges of the family institution does not have the accuracy neededfor the articulation of the family dynamics.

Inregard to the use of social scientific research and evidence onfamily and marriage, the articles reviewed reports well researchedinformation. The articulation of the marriage concept and the familyas a social institution by the articles reviewed is based on researchon the social unit for decades. The articles also provide an evidencefor the analysis of the change that have occurred on the familyinstitute over time. Cherlin explores the institute of marriage byreviewing the generational perspective of the concept and how theirviews influenced the current changes. According to Cherlin (7), therate of divorce has increased over the years since the second worldwar. Cherlin (7) further observes that the same rate was abnormallyhigh in the period of 1960’s and 1970’s.

Throughsuch research, Cherlin presents evidence of changes that drive herargumegs of the current state of the family as a social institution.Cherlin (212) further uses scientific research of prevalence ofdivorce in America to strengthen the argument that the marriage hasover time changed and taken what she presents as a marriage-go-round.In her article, Waite describes the importance of marriage in thefamily institute through the use of scientific research from theunited states census statistics from 1953 to 1994. Waite (484)describes the percentages of Americans who were married and unmarriedin different social groups categorized into race, age and gender.

Waite’suse of scientific research on the population in regard to family andmarriage enables her to describe the changing trends on theimportance of marriage. The same research provides evidence of herarguments for the institution that has reflected different factors.For instance, research helps understand issues like divorce and whycohabitation is increasing in the society (Willis and Robert 120).This supports the argument by that cohabitation has reshaped Americanfamilies as it is seen as a way of living together without likelyleading to marriage (Brown 33).

Inregard to objectivity as opposed to subjectivity, the articles wereobjective and did not incorporate elements of personal bias inrelation to the family and marriage. Cherlin, brown and Waitepresents views on the marriage based on the factual illustrations ofthe changes in marriage and family based on research. The use ofresearch does not only promote the objectives of the arguments of theauthors but also strengthens their description of the changes in thefamily institute. Through such objectivity, the information passed bythe articles is solid and reflects the social set up in the currentsociety.

Fromthe review of the articles, historical perspective of the media, itis evident that the institution of marriage and family as a socialunit has changed. In regard to the family behavior the publicperceptions have also changed. It is the position of this paper thatthe changes in public perception of marriage and family is motivatedby the presentation of the institution of the media. Moreover, thechanges in the importance of a family have also influenced the publicopinion on the purpose and practice of marriage. The reflection ofthe changes in the marriage aspect of the family over time istherefore important to understand the current status and futurechanges.


Brown,Susan. How Cohabitation is Reshaping American Families. Contexts,Vol. 4, Issue 3, pp.

33-37,2005. Print

Cherlin,Andrew. The marriage-go-round. Thestate of marriage and Family in America Today.

NewYork: Alfred Kropf, 2009

Edin,Kathryn and Reed, Joanna. Why don`t they just get Married? Barriersto Marriage among

theDisadvantaged. Thefuture of children,Vol. 15, No. 2, Marriage and Child Welbeing, 2005, pp. 117-137

Waite,Linda. Does Marriage Matter? Demography,Vol. 32, No. 4 (Nov., 1995), pp. 483-507

Willis,Robert and Robert Michael. &quotInnovation in Family Formation:Evidence on

Cohabitationin the U.S.&quot Pp. 119-45 inThe Family, the Market, and the State in Ageing Societies,London: Oxford University Press. 1994, Print