When we think about marriage and lifelong commitment, surely a sense of meaning comes to mind. Well, according to a recent survey conducted, there has been a significant decrease in the number of Americans who view their partner as a source of meaning in life.
Pew Research Center released research showing that 9% of the participants view their romantic partner as a source of meaning in their life. In 2017, that number was at 20%. This is quite a dip to make over a mere 5 years.
This Decline Was More Common Among Unmarried People
Although all participants reported having these feelings, the difference was most obvious in the unmarried category. In 2017, it was reported that 31% of these individuals believed that their partner brought meaning to life, but that number dropped to 13% this year.
However, about half of the respondents said they found their family and children to be a life's meaning that they cherished.
The survey showed that one of the reasons this decline has taken place is because people have found new things in their life to grant them meaning. Participants cited the following to bring them meaning: freedom and independence, being in nature, and society.
Some say that this is reflective of a cultural shift with this generation – Americans are forgoing traditional societal expectations in favor of doing things on their own terms.
We're Seeing a Decline of Marriages All Around
Marriage rates and birth rates are not only declining, but fewer and fewer people are seeing marriage as a foundation for having kids. In fact, today's surveys show that only 29% see marriage as a very important step to children while almost half of them said the same in 2006.
As marriage becomes less and less popular, particularly among Millennials, it's not surprising that husbands and wives don't see their spouse as crucial to the fabric of life as they did several years ago. It will be interesting to see how Gen Z's marriage rates compare to the Millennials.