- Parent Category: Advanced News Lessons
- Category: Relationships Lessons
- Written by Chris Cotter
For the first time in US history, traditional marriage has ceased to be the preferred living choice in most households. It's by no means dead, but data released in August indicated that marriage didn't figure into 56.8 million American family households. That figure represents 50.2 percent of the total. By comparison, six years ago, married couples made up 52 percent of the 105.5 million households.
Single women headed more than 14 million households, and another 5 million by single men. Most interesting, or alarming, depending on which side of the conservative-liberal line you perch, were the large number of "non-family households." This term refers primarily to gay or heterosexual couples cohabiting out of formal wedlock.
The shift could herald drastic changes in every facet of American life, from family law to national politics with its emphasis on family values. In the short term, however, it indicates the failed efforts of conservatives, despite their push to reinforce and emphasize traditional marriage and families.
Douglas Beshavor, a sociologist with the American Enterprise Institute, suggested that cohabitation and short-term relationships would dominate American life for years to come. As a result, people will find themselves more isolated than ever before. Both parents will be working, so there will be fewer siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles. America will move towards a much more individualistic society.
"Change is in the air," he said. "The only question is whether it is catastrophic or just evolutionary."
Preview some of the lesson material:
Warm Up: Do you agree or disagree? Why?
- Marriage has been an important part of society, is important now, and will be important in the future.
- Marriage is old fashioned. To be single and to have short-term relationships is best.
- There is little reason to get married if a couple is already living together.
- Children need to have contact with their extended family of cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.
- It's wrong, disgusting, and/or sinful for an unmarried couple to live together.
Fragments: Remember how the fragments were used, and complete the sentence from today's article.
- Single women headed more than 14 million households, and...
- This term refers primarily to...
- In the short term, however, it indicates the failed efforts of...
- As a result, people will...
- Both parents will be working, so...
post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!
- Do you think the drop in marriage rates is a temporary trend in America, or is it here to stay? Why?
- What are the marriage rates in you r country? Are more or less people getting married? Why?
- How many people do you know are unhappily married? What advice would you give them?
- Why do you think less people are getting married in America?
- Do you think marriage rates all over the world will eventually go down? Why/not?
Google Search: Type "unmarried households" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.