The Daily Aztec
San Diego State's Independent Student Newspaper
Sterling Alvarado


December 5, 2010

Proposing the big question

More articles by »
Written by: Staff

Share on TumblrShare via email

Artwork courtesy of Taylor Stookey

It’s the day every girl dreams of. Church bells, a beautiful white gown and the person you’re devoted to spending the rest of your life with is standing proudly by your side. All eyes are on you as you promise loyalty and commitment by reciting the traditional wedding vows: for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. When contemplating these words, it’s impossible not to marvel at what it represents: unconditional unity through thick and thin.

However, I can’t help but ponder in awe about how often, and how quickly, couples these days are willing to exchange these cherished words without having the capability or maturity to actually honor them. Let’s narrow down some culprits: the half-minded celebrities who race to the chapel one week then sign annulment papers the next, or the numerous TV shows and Hollywood movies portraying the all-too-familiar scene of a very drunken night, ultimately leading to a boozed trip to a chapel, with only a cheap wedding ring to revive any memories of the previous night. These are all examples of the discouraging and pathetic ways people so often tarnish what is expected to be one of the most meaningful and momentous occasions of a person’s life.

Why then, has a recent study by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press revealed 39 percent, or roughly four out of 10 Americans, believe marriage is becoming obsolete? Perhaps people are finally starting to realize the fundamental mentality of marriage has been so deeply skewed in our brains that it has wrongly convinced us that a life of stability and happiness is unattainable until we walk down the aisle.

Even worse, it seems most of us feel the privilege of having a family should be restricted only for wedded couples. According to the study, 43 percent of Americans believe unmarried couples living together and unmarried couples raising children are bad for society. In addition, 88 percent of Americans consider a married pair without children a family, while only 43 percent would think the same about an unmarried couple without children. This ignorance astounds me and makes me wonder whether people truly understand the difference between unmarried couples and single parents and the effects of both on children. Unwed mothers and fathers are fully capable of giving their children the same amount of love and support as married parents; believing otherwise is ridiculous and displays a horrific lack of judgment. I’m not denying the logical benefits of marriage 8212; such as an easier time getting loans and mortgages and receiving additional financial benefits 8212; but the quality of one’s parenting skills is not, and never will be, determined by a marriage license.

Wake up, people. Cohabitation, joint bank accounts, monogamy and having children are not reserved only for the married. On the other hand, I’m not denying the fact that things get a bit more complicated when you are unmarried. One inconvenience is how unwedded fathers must establish paternity in order for custody proceedings to run smoothly in the case of a separation. The bigger picture here is that unlike divorcing couples, unwed parents wouldn’t have to settle any of the horribly complicated issues that come with legal separation. Resolving custody and child visitation agreements would be much more simple.

Refreshingly, it seems more Americans are warming up to atypical traditional family households. According to PRC’s study, 34 percent of Americans believe the “growing variety of family living arrangements is good for society.” Clearly, what we have here is a controversial battle between traditional values and a blossoming, new age perception. While I greatly admire what wedding vows symbolize, marriage doesn’t come with any guarantees, and a vast majority of us have seen that first hand. Many are quick to judge an unwed couple, but no one questions the insanity behind feeling the need to legalize your commitment to another person in order to obtain validation from friends and family. The distorted way in which we narrow-mindedly define family has habituated us to measure the quality of a couple’s relationship based on some sort of point system. Marriage: four points. Children: three points. A house: three points. Congratulations, your family is a perfect 10. Before you shuffle in line with other brides-to-be, consider your motives and ask yourself if they revolve around an underlying yearning for society’s seal of approval. After all, knowing you’ve found a person you want to spend the rest of your life with is the only validation you really need.

8212;Stacey Oparnica is a journalism sophomore.

8212;The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Daily Aztec.

Facebook Comments

About the Author




Interview with San Diego street artist Mario Torero

Mario Torero is a San Diego artist who became a prominent leader during the Chicano movement in the 1970s. He has become a highly influential muralist during the last 40 years.

by Staff


Allow street art on walls of new Aztec Center

Call it the working man's art exhibit: a pandemic of posters featuring a stark black and white face staring grimly outward; a vibrant space invader tiled underneath a freeway overpass; an image of the pope, in true Marilyn ...

by Staff


The US must bring civics into the classroom

Most of us weren't even in high school when the Twin Towers fell. Since then, our country has faced many crises. Hurricane Katrina, corporate corruption, the great recession and the BP oil spill are just a few of the disast...

by Staff



SDSU competes with UC research

Thanks to San Diego State's dedicated researchers, students and faculty, the boat of our "trade school" reputation has been seriously rocked. Our BioScience Center has implemented practical futuristic technolog...

by Staff


Illegal immigrants allowed in-state tuition

It's nothing new: California is in the throes of a major budget crisis. There have been numerous attempts and countless theories attempting to pull us out of the hole we've fallen into. The next big thing: Recruitment of ou...

by Staff



Be the first to comment!

Leave a Reply