Is The Institution of Marriage Dying?

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 10/01/2014 | 05:00 PM EDT

CentricTV.com Gerren Keith Gaynor explores string of celeb divorces and whether it points to a cultural shift in attitudes

There’s a state of emergency in America: married couples just can’t seem to stay together.


In Black Hollywood alone there have been at least seven reported divorces, including Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey, Keyshia Cole and Daniel Gibson, and more recently Wiz Khalifa and Amber Rose.


Whether over infidelity or irreconcilable differences, it seems celebrity couples are calling it quits left and right with no sign of hope in sight. So much so that a couple actually surviving is mythical in theory (hey, Jada and Will!)


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Other marriages that have joined the divorce roll call this year include Randy Jackson and wife Erika Riker, celebrity chefs Gina and Pat Neely, Sherri Shepherd and Lamar Sally, and Paula Patton and Robin Thicke.


That has to be a record-breaking number.


While one can easily chalk up the recent string of celebrity divorces as an industry norm driven by the fame and the fortune, seeing so many couples heading to divorce court makes you wonder: why does it seem no one can stay together? Is this indicative of the times, in which a cultural shift in the attitude of marriage is beginning to take form?

 

But don’t think celebrity couples are the only ones who are susceptible. Divorce in Hollywood is only a skip and hop away from the national reality of marriage.


Fifty-percent of all marriages in the United States are expected to end in divorce, based on divorce rates that continue to climb. The rate of mothers heading the household has ballooned as well. The hard facts tell us that the institution of marriage is slowly deteriorating.


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Pinpointing the cause of so many failed marriages, however, is tricky considering so many things have been used to make sense of America’s divorce problem; such as the rise of social media, the accessibility of divorce and societal pessimism over monogamy as a whole.


While psychologists have long argued that human beings desire companionship, it seems rather odd that so many are opting to do quite the opposite.


Or are we looking at it all wrong?


Maybe it’s not that people are turning to divorce because they’d rather be alone; it could also be that they’d rather not be tied down to one person. Whatever the case, what’s clear is that marriage doesn’t seem to have the same luster it once had. Maybe there needs to be a new standard. Maybe the Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham approach to avoid marriage altogether is the only way to ensure romantic longevity.


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Regardless, marriage is and should always be considered sacred. Coming to that decision should not be taken lightly. That’s not to say marriage is an easy undertaking. The pressures of marriage can prove to be difficult, with many possibly tying the knot a little too prematurely.


The great thing about America is that we have the right to marry whoever we want (well most of us). It’d just be a lot more comforting if more people learned how to stay together.


The opinions expressed in this article are solely of the author and do not reflect the thoughts of Centric or BET Networks.


(Photos from left: Jason Merritt/Getty Images, Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

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