Modern Love – Internet – Changing Patterns in Marriage/Divorce

COMMENT: I enjoyed your article on gold and how trends change with the generations. I find it very true that my children looked at me with my silver bars and just asked so what can you really do with it? I have watched the youtube video when people choose the chocolate bar over a bar of silver. Things do change and we should ask if we are judging the world only by own own beliefs rather than trying to see what others think.

Thank you for the food for thought. The world is not always black and white.

BDV

REPLY: The Economist just published a piece on how the internet has changed the dating scene among the youth.  How people now meet is almost 70% online. A church is the lowest, primary schools are #2, college #3, bars #4, and introductions among friends #1. How people are meeting has changed and even how marriage has evolved over the centuries is even more interesting from a cyclical perspective.

The Economist stated that the first personal advertisement for marriage took place back in 1695. Traditionally, the man was twice the age going into the 19th century because he first had to establish himself and then prove he could support a wife and family. If he went to a girl’s father to ask for her hand, the first question was: What do you have? The dowry is one of the biggest misconception ever. Many assume the dowry was given to the husband to marry the daughter. It was the opposite. The dowry was given to contribute to her support and that of her children. It was not money for the husband to party.

As the industrial revolution began to mature, the age difference declined by the end of the 19th century as men were able to support a family at an earlier age. It was common up until the Great Depression for the man to be 15 to 20 years older before he could afford a wife. There was none of this stuff about looking and falling in love at first sight. That was really lust turned into love by Holywood to sell movies. Most studies have found love at first sight to be just an illusion. Interestingly, Holywood has really changed society hand-in-hand with socialism. Today, 61% of women believe in love at first sight while a whopping 72% of men actually think it is a real concept. This probably has a lot to do with the divorce rate.

It was the birth of Socialism where society was drastically changed. The age difference collapsed to nearly the same age as socialism expanded but the divorce rate soared. No longer did the boy have to prove he could afford a wife, government social programs filled the gap. As women entered the workforce after World War II, no longer was the burden on the man to support the family. Suddenly, the burden was shared and the two could start with no assets and build a life. Yet the number one reason for divorce was not infidelity, but money is in the top 10 while most say they got married for the wrong reason.

However, not only did Socialism change marriage, it also changed the family structure. No longer did you have several children because that was your retirement. The average family size declined and children no longer saved to take care of their parents. Now we have the internet changing dating but what is really interesting is that the cycle has changed and the age difference is back on the rise. It seems that boys do not become men until at least 10 years after a girl becomes a woman. This difference in maturity is making itself known once again. Younger women are now seeking older men especially in Europe where unemployment among the youth is at 60% in the southern regions.

Women are upset because studies show that men live longer with younger wives who probably keep them more active. Yet, when a woman marries a younger man, the opposite takes place and her life-span declines. Perhaps because she had to take care of a grown child. These studies in themselves have caused a lot of controversies. Perhaps everything is just returning to what it was before socialism. Young women expect boys to be men and thus that has been the challenge post-1930. I can say from my personal experience, my father was 15 years older than my mother. It was nice that after he died in 1983, she was still with us until 2018 with her mind intact.

Things are starting to reverse. The age gap is returning to the historical norm and people are starting to get upset politically with socialism. Once upon a time BEFORE income tax, the woman stayed at home and raised the kids. Today, it takes two incomes to live even at a lower standard with each passing decades. Socialism has led to governments consuming up to 33%-40% of GDP and the tax burden rising to provide government employees with pensions. Something has to give.