How Cohabitation is Reshaping American Families
The main purpose of Susan L. Brown’s article, How Cohabitation Is Reshaping American Families, is to investigate the impact of unmarried cohabitation on American family life. Currently, the society is exhibiting an increased adoption of the practice of unmarried cohabitation. In this article, Brown observes that people nowadays would rather cohabit than marry for a number of reasons. Couples deem it better to test their compatibility before they enter into a legal union. Additionally, these couples may choose to keep their single status for financial reasons. In cases such as those involving lesbian and gay couples, the law may prohibit them from committing to a legal union. In other cases, couples do not consider marriage at all because they feel it is unnecessary. Between 1970 and 2000, the number of couples living outside marriage has increased drastically. For this reason, Brown endeavors to investigate how outside-marriage relationships have grown and what implications they pose on American families.
The most important information in Brown’s article is that the state of marriage in American, as well as other nations, is undergoing gradual and constant change. In most places, cohabitation is becoming legal, but some zoning laws do not allow three unrelated people to live in one house or apartment. Previously, the US had put in place laws prohibiting fornication. Nowadays, only a few states uphold these laws, but they are rarely enforced. Traditionally, the law was biased, as it was inclined towards marriage. To encourage and preserve marriage, this law reserves many privileges and rights of married persons. However, cohabitation does not provide these privileges and rights. Most people in the 20s and 30s have engaged in cohabitation, and a quarter of this group was cohabitating as of 2005. About 60 percent of couples living outside marriage do not have any biological children.
Brown’s article puts forward the concept that marriage is similar to other social aspects hence subject to change. The state of American families has changed today as compared to fifty years ago. In the past, marriage was the foundation that seemingly gave couples the go ahead to stay together. However, this has changed as couples in current society live together without any legal consent. According to Brown (2005), this cohabitation has changed the face of American families. Studies suggested that married couples are usually happier as compared to their single counterparts. Additionally, children from families in marriage interact better socially and psychologically compared to children from cohabitating parents.
The assumptions in this study are that the social aspect in America is still the same. However, this aspect has changed in many ways. Analyzing this aspect can be best achieved by looking at the generation gap. The youth and young adults in the current society live an entirely different lifestyle as compared those who lived fifty years ago. Factors such as technology and development have contributed to the difference in behavior between these two age groups. Ultimately, if Brown’s reasoning is to be taken seriously, then society now and in the future will be composed of people with poor psychological, economic, and social well being.
In conclusion, we can infer that Brown’s article is comprehensive and achieves its objective of investigating the implications of cohabitation in American families. In the past, society was more inclined towards instituting marriage that gave couples the license of living together in matrimony. However, these values have changed over time, and couples today would rather cohabitate than consummate marriage. Ultimately, this is changing the state of American families.
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