Is Marriage Really a Lifelong Commitment?
Two sets of strangers open up about whether they think marriage is really “til death do us part.”
More about this episode
A Conversation on Marital Commitment
According to the CDC, the marriage rate in the U.S. has steadily declined over the last 20 years. In 2000, the marriage rate was 8.2 per 1,000 people; in 2019, the marriage rate was 6.1 per 1,000 people. Of these marriages, 39 percent will end in divorce or separation. This rate makes the U.S. the 3rd highest divorce rate in the world.
These grim statistics show that people are becoming increasingly hesitant to marry, and when they do, often end that marriage in divorce or separation. According to a recent national survey, the number one reason given for ending a marriage is a lack of commitment.
So, if you’re really trying to make marriage a lifelong commitment, it is important to regularly engage in activities that strengthen your bond over time — or else you might be like the nearly 1 in 4 couples who decide to end their marriage.
Opinions, we all have them, especially when it comes to love and sex. So what happens when two people who've never met get to share their opinions in an open and honest conversation? Maybe they learn something about the other person and maybe they learn something about themselves.
I'm Dr. Judy, and this is "Well, In My Opinion." Today, we're asking the question: Is marriage a lifelong commitment?
So funny thing is, you know, I had this whole idea when it came to marriage that it was like, you have your one person and then you meet them and then, you know, you're stuck with them for the rest of your life…until I got engaged to be married. And then I realized that it's not really a lifetime commitment because there's no ring on my finger.
I think you should still go in with the mindset that you are going to be with that person for a lifetime, though, because if I'm going to get ready to marry someone, I'm not thinking of any what ifs that we're not going to work out. I feel like I'm getting married to someone, anyone, you should have that mindset that me and this person are definitely going to be together for the rest of our lives. Because if you start with, you know, pre-conceptual thoughts that this might not work out, what are you doing it for? Because it's almost like you're going into a relationship with doubt.
Well, let me ask you this: If you were to, you know, find somebody that you wanted to marry, would you make them sign a prenup?
I think that it is fair to make them sign of prenup, just because I think it's still good to come into any relation[ship] with caution that anything can happen because I thought that'd be kind of messed up. If you worked your butt off and you know, that person got in on what you were making because of something that they screwed up on in the relationship. What if it wasn't your fault?
Yes, but I think that it's also contradictory because if you're saying that it's going to be a lifetime commitment, then you know you shouldn't need to sign a prenup.
I see where you're coming from and how that could be contradictory, but you know the whole thing kind of is situational.
I don't agree, but yeah.
I mean, I'm telling you, my sister is exactly the same. You're not even the only one. She said the exact same thing. "Why do I need to sign all these papers for if I'm getting married? I'm gonna be with this person and I love them. I don't need all this paper and commitment." And what I say to that is, why not?
I never really understood with the whole marriage thing, because I mean, like, I'm gay, if you didn't know. So, what was it like, 2012, 20-whatever when [President] Obama, you know, signed the legalization of same-sex marriage across the country that, like, you know, gay people had been like fighting for marriage equality for so long.
And now you're kind of just like…
Yeah, it's just kind of like, I don't want that anymore.
But it's also like, there there was like, you know, people saying like, "Oh, well, you know, gay people getting married, you're going to going to ruin like the sanctity of marriage." But then there's like straight couples that are together for like a month and then they get married and people are like, "Oh, I think that's so romantic."
No, it's stupid. And I'm not even I'm not even trying to be that person, but it's absolutely stupid. It's ridiculous how people can see when it comes to same-sex marriage that it's such a big difference. And I think it's the same thing when you look at how people view certain ethnicities. You're stuck on your predetermined mindset that you have from, you know, hundreds and hundreds of years ago, and you keep deeming it on to the new society when we keep advancing every single day, every single year. We're constantly evolving to different things and it's stupid.
And I'm happy that you were able to realize that after so long of fighting for that, we don't even need that. We don't need justification to show how much we love each other. Because like you said this, some heterosexual couples that lasts for two months. But once you can, you know, program your minds not caring about that justification. But sky's the limit, you know what I mean?
Statistically, the numbers are pretty much split down the middle when it comes to how we all feel about monogamy. 36% of Americans think that people are naturally monogamous, while 37% think that monogamy isn't really in our nature and the rest of us just haven't made up our minds yet.
I do see marriage as a lifelong commitment because the only way that I would marry someone is if I saw myself spending the rest of my life with them. Otherwise, if I didn't see myself spending the rest of my life with them, why would I marry them?
But I also don't understand people for whether it's, you know, religious or cultural reasons. They get married and they stay married because they don't believe in divorce. I feel like that would be tough because if you marry someone and then you're unhappy later on or you're not in love with them anymore. That's the only life that you're going to live for the rest of your life. So then it's like when you're 90, you're going to be like, "Well, I just wasted it like X amount of decades being married to someone that I wasn't in love with.
So it's…I do believe that marriage is a lifelong commitment, but I also believe that people should get divorced if things aren't working out anymore.
Yeah, I think in theory, for everyone, marriage is a lifelong commitment. It's literally defined as till death do us part.
Yeah, I forgot about that.
In theory, it's lifelong. But obviously things change. My mom, when she got divorced from her first husband, my sister's dad, her stepbrother and her brother are both very, very religious, and her stepbrother wrote her this like twelve page front and back letter of why she's going to hell, just on and on and on. And she couldn't get past like three pages of it. But I mean, she was miserable and it was abusive. So, in theory, it's lifelong. And then if you get in it and it's not what you imagined, then that's what divorce is for.
Exactly. It's just, I view it as the same as like, I don't know, a relationship on steroids. And so it's like, if I'm in a relationship and then I'm not happy anymore, then I end the relationship. Why would I not do the same with marriage?
Exactly. I think the reason divorce rates are so insanely high is because marriage is a lifelong commitment and people change and circumstances change, and it's hard to do one thing for your whole life, no matter what it is.
Exactly. I think that, you know, engagements where a prenup causes issues is ridiculous because you never know where life is going to take you and what's going to happen. And if you are committed and you're engaged, that's kind of you saying, yes, I see myself spending the rest of my life with you. But it's also just irresponsible, in my opinion, to not plan for something go wrong.
Worst case scenario. But I also think if people don't want to get a prenup like go ahead, you'll see.
It's your shit storm to deal with down the road.
Yeah, I admire people who are that confident.
Yeah, for sure. But for me personally.
I think it's people just being like, that's not romantic. It's like, Well, I know myself and I'm psycho, so I don't know what's going to happen. You're going to want a pre-nup.
There's a lot of different opinions out there about marriages, and I think that some people feel like marriage is something that they have to do in this lifetime. Other people don't necessarily think that that's the case. I think where everybody agrees is that it's nice to have a partner that you can depend on whether or not that is inked or not. It may not matter as much in the long run.
I'm Dr. Judy, and this has been "Well, In My Opinion."