For most people, getting married is a mainstream universal value and the goal of the
lives. People also believe that married people are more mature and have abilities to take more
responsibilities for families and society. However, society’s values of marriage change as
time goes by. In fact, unmarried people become prevalent in modern society. For example,
according to a 2010 census, the married rate of U.S. adults age 18 or older has decreased
steadily from 72% in 1960 to only 50% in 2010 (Bower, 2012). This dramatic change means
it is unnecessary for adults to get married for a society to remain strong. The reason why is
because marriage can be replaced by other relationships and a society can still remain strong
without marriage. Specifically, marriage can be substituted by three main relationships:
common-law relationship, educated singles, and unmarried people with children.
First of all, the reason why it is unnecessary for adults to get married for a society to
remain strong is because common-law relationship couples have the same function as well.
That is, common-law relationship has been accepted by the society and has been practiced by
unmarried couples to replace marriage nowadays. For example, according to Zheng Wu, a
University of Victoria sociology professor who has studied the trend, “More people are
substituting cohabitation for marriage and really treat it as marriage,” In addition, Zheng
Wu states, “Common law has become a protected social institution. It’s not an irrational
decision” (in Agrell, 2007, p.1). This expert’s opinion clearly shows that many people chose
cohabitation to replace marriage, and this phenomenon becomes normal and harmless for
modern society. Some critics argue that people can gain more rights and protection by laws
from marriage than unmarried couples. However, unmarried couples have the same rights and
get the same social welfare as married couples. In other words, marriage is no longer the...