It’s often thought that more than 50% of couples get divorced every year in the United States, though the current divorce rate is actually about 2.9 persons per 1,000 people. While the overall divorce rate in America is falling, however, the idea of marriage is still alive and well — especially when driven by something like a global pandemic. From the increase of saying “I do” as of late to how many overall are choosing to focus on cultivating healthy, committed relationships instead, here’s what you should know when it comes to marriage today.

Has Marriage Lost its Importance? The Popularity (and Decline) of Marriage in the United States
Drew Coffman

The results of a pandemic

When it comes to the global pandemic, the situation has led to a surge in those who have chosen to buckle down and make plans to say “I do,” highlighting how an uncertain situation can bring couples together. 82% of couples, for instance, said that living through the pandemic has made them even more eager to get married so they could get through things together, according to one Brides survey of 4,000 engaged couples. Additionally, 55% of couples said they’re prioritizing their relationship above anything else, as the pandemic changed their expectations when it came to marriage. As a result, the pandemic has given many the opportunity to focus on strengthening their relationship and ensuring it’s built to last before proposing marriage. Weathering lockdowns together, for example, has allowed for the chance to cultivate a healthy and committed relationship by planning date nights, and working on communication skills.

An overall decline of marriage?

While the pandemic has led to a surge in engagements and marriage as of late, many have also realized that marriage is not a necessity in order to lead a fulfilling and happy life. In fact, fewer than one in five US adults say that being married is essential for a man or woman to live a fulfilling life, according to one Pew Research Center survey that was conducted back in the summer of 2019. While this might contribute to fewer people overall getting married, the focus has seemed to shift on having committed, romantic relationships instead, with 26% of adults saying that being in a committed and romantic relationship is essential for men to lead fulfilling lives, while 30% say the same for women.

The idea of marriage may be on the decline for others as well, as fewer US adults believe it is “very important” for those with children to be married. On the other side of things, however, Americans are more likely to believe that it is important for those who plan to spend the rest of their lives together to get married, with 26% people think it to be somewhat important for committed couples to marry, while 38% say it’s very important.

Many Americans have taken the pandemic as an opportunity to focus on their relationships and thinking about marriage. However, an overall perspective suggests that the importance is more placed on a healthy, committed relationship instead, leaving married couples to potentially become the minority.