I watched the most fascinating documentary this weekend – *Single – a profile of the decline of marriage and the rise in divorce in America, the normalcy of the single gal or guy and how it’s becoming more and more acceptable and prevalent to be unmarried later in life.
The most interesting statistic I heard in this documentary, though, was not about single women today, but rather single women in the 1930s. In the 1930s, women ranked physical attraction as number 5 on the list of “important traits to find in a husband.” Physical attraction/chemistry was ranked after financial stability and a good job, and after the approval of one’s parents.
We’re told every day about the divorce rate in America and we think, oh how sad, so many people are getting divorced. But maybe we’re wrong about feeling badly in that vane. In the 1930s and 40s, when couples married for convenience, having children, financial stability, etc. it was easy to stay together because you didn’t expect to necessarily be madly in love anyway.
Today, people expect love, romance, chemistry, and all the bells and whistles. We don’t stay in relationships anymore because of stability, we stay because we are fulfilled by someone, because they make us happy and fulfilled, because they add value to our lives in more ways than one.
What if the divorce rate has nothing to do with unhappy marriages, but has everything to do with happy individuals? Wouldn’t you rather be divorced, happy and fulfilled than married, trapped and unfulfilled? I would. I know because I’ve been there. And we’re smarter today than we were as women, specifically in the 1930s. We know now we deserve the bells and whistles. Stability isn’t enough. We also have to be loved and appreciated. And if it takes a divorce (or two, or three, c’mon now) to find that love and appreciation, so be it.