The question which I ponder is: Why are marriages decreasing as fornication increases?
As can be seen, the marriage rate peaked at the end of the war because ostensibly it had been put on hold for the war years. It declined thereafter likely because the population increased with baby boomers, and the number of people of marriage age were already.
Roughly speaking marriage started a steady decline in about 1970. What changed in the 1970s decade? Much! Not only was this period an economic slump called stagflation, but it was also the rise of feminism, and at the commencement of what was called the sexual revolution. Women wanted what men had: the freedom to fornicate without restraint! Of course with sexual freedom there came a penalty. Marriage took a nose-dive and still is diving!
Of course, there is no cause and effect proven, but the correlation is great. It appears that marriage took a hit because men and women were getting their sexual needs met outside marriage. In language which can be understood by everyone symbolically: Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? This means: Why would men and women get married when they can have sex freely outside marriage?
The sexual revolution supports that notion. Feminism made women able to sin just as the men were, without being ostracized. Feminism included the sexual revolution. Both are interdependent. Women no longer needed a man for support, feminism demanded that women be treated just as men in the workforce, and although there are many differences, some more advantageous, others not. Regardless of the economic improvements for women with the feminist movement, marriage took a nose-dive. Women believed that they would be happy without a mate but many aren't. Not only is there an innate desire for a mate, but also for companionship.
Women came from the old English wifman, meaning wife of man (English Language and Usage). The very concept of the word "woman" is that females are intended to be the wives of men. What is the etymology of the word female? It's root is from the Latin femella, which also means "woman". The words woman and female both point toward marriage. Womankind was meant to be married. In fact, her role in life has always been as a help-mate to man, to multiply, and to nourish children (Genesis 2).
Feminism is against nature. It's against the model God created. God somehow made Eve from Adam. As such there is a spiritual and psychological bond between men and women. Marriage made that bond holy. Indeed, Holy Matrimony is symbolic of mankind's marriage to Christ; He is the groom and his companions are the bride. It is Holy Matrimony because marriage is a picture of mankind's kinship to Christ. We were made in his image. As Jesus requires agape love, humans need philia, eros, storge, and agape love. Philia is love between equals, and eros is mutual sexual satisfaction. Storge is familial love, and all are united in agape, or a righteous type of love for God and others.
Most marriages are probably due to eroticism, but both sexes found out that they can be erotic without marriage. Hence, sexual relationships does not mean marriage, but mere fornication. The feminist movement is a move toward fornication, and feminists paid the price. They erroneously believed that they don't need men for sex, and men caught onto that notion. Now, rather than marriage, people merely play-act the roles. Men get their milk but never own the cow. They merely milk her for all she's worth until that day when a better, usually a prettier heifer comes along.
Men fail to commit to marriage because they don't have to! Women created the milieu where marriage has no place in it. Women don't get married because men won't commit. It's just easier for them to let the women be feminists, and they enjoy the fruits of feminism.
The nourishment part comes from storge. God implanted in womankind the need to multiply and nourish. Christian women love to have mini-hers and mini-hims, and raise them. For women, many have said that there is a biological need to have children. In this modern age, the civil document means marriage. It was not always that way. In the time of Jesus, Hebrew marriage consisted of (1) mutual acceptance, (2) consummation, (3) child-bearing, (4) and familial acceptance, all done under the auspices of God. There was no civil document nor ceremony. Colonial America had the same definition with the marriage banns. It is estimated that nearly 80% of marriages in the wilderness were done without civil bond.
The paper, then, is not what marriage is all about! It's finding a partner and being true to each other. When they were created man and woman, they were created in unity. Marriage reunifies that original condition. To be unified means that there are mutual needs and sexual knowledge, not of lust but to procreate.
Returning to feminism: the role of woman is not to pro-create; it is sexual freedom. Because the role of sex went from multiplication to mutual pleasure, storge was lost from male/female relationships. Women still have that biological need to bear offspring, whether recognized or not, but men are relieved of the obligation to provide for the children. Relationships are founded on selfish sex rather than mutuality.
Marriage has declined because most don't know what marriage is! When that man beds a woman time and time again, and others recognize the relationship, then they are married in God's eyes whether they do it in front of Him or not. The woman at the well was the prime example! People are married in God's eyes and don't even know it, then they sin again by breaking up the bond they had.
As such, men and women move in and out of marriage. The chart above doesn't show those marriages but God sees them, and he is disappointed. What's more, the divorce curve (on the bottom) is sky-high because men and women break up so easily. Civil marriage has declined because men have found that they can escape responsibility because of a piece of paper.
Any person who had had a long-term sexual relationship can testify that it's termination is as hurtful as divorce because it was a marriage! Serial dating makes young men and women acclimated to multiple marriages. Breaking up in serial dating is good practice for changing marriage partners.
Sure, a cause and effect is hard to establish but one thing is for certain: God ordained marriage in the beginning, and unless one is completely married to God, then everyone belongs in marriage.
1 Corinthians 7:9 "But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.If people can't be chaste, not having sexual intercourse, let them wed. Paul said that it is better to marry than to burn - lust! Marriage then, is also for putting out the fire in the mind and in the loins. Sex is ordained in marriage but outside marriage it is fornication. Fornication in a sexual relationship is symbolic of having other gods besides God. It's a serious offense in God's view, and marriage is the remedy for lasciviousness.
In summary, there is a reduction in civil marriages because people don't want the commitment put on paper. That would imply responsibility. Both men and women don't want the responsibility it takes to be married and remain unmarried because due to Satan, marriage is hard work! Love isn't only an emotion; it too is a responsibility. God commands love because love is not inherent but acquired.
As long as the feminist idea is prevalent and sexual freedom is demanded, marriage will lose out! Ironically, sexual freedom is indeed, serving sin. Pleasure becomes the master which puts God far away. How will Marriage Gone Bad be saved from extinction. By making it holy again.