Fewer Americans See Their Romantic Partners As a Source of Life’s Meaning

Fewer Americans See Their Romantic Partners As a Source of Life’s Meaning

This doesn’t bother me, and it is as it should be.

There’s nothing wrong with marriage or wanting to be married, but, too often times, secular culture, many religions, and in particular, Christian gender complementarians, have made far too much out of marriage, to the degree all these groups make women who never marry, or who marry only past their mid-30s, or who are divorced, feel like they are big, worthless losers.

Some secular conservatives and Christians even run around on their podcasts, tweets, and blogs saying as such – that single or childless adults are selfish or losers.

Complementarians especially are pretty bad about this, because they tend to define “womanhood” as, and to tie a woman’s worth and purpose, to if she marries and has children .

While I am not a supporter of the far left’s anti-nuclear family views, I also don’t agree with how so many Christians have gone the opposite and equally damaging route by advising women that their value or identity resides only in being a wife and a mother – something the Bible does not teach, by the way, but actually says that being single is better than being married (see 1 Cor. 7).

Christians often seem to forget that Jesus of Nazareth never married and never had children – yet Christians shame or exclude adults today who don’t marry and/or who do not have children.

(Link):  Fewer Americans See Their Romantic Partners As a Source of Life’s Meaning

  • Pew research found 9% of Americans saw their partner as a source of meaning, down from 20% in 2017.
  • Dating during a pandemic is hard, and couples had to confront unhappy relationships in quarantine.
  • Paired with the declining birth rate, it seems Americans are finding fulfillment on their own terms.

Some people spend a lifetime looking for their soul mate. But more Americans are finding life’s meaning in other things.

A new report from Pew Research Center that surveyed more than 2,500 Americans found that 9% of respondents cited their spouse or romantic partner as a source of meaning in life.

That’s quite a drop from 2017, when 20% said the same.

Both married and unmarried adults felt this way, but the decline was greatest among those who were married. In 2017, 31% of this cohort found life’s meaning in their spouse. Now, 13% said the same.

In fact, viewing your partner or spouse as part of life’s meaning has seen one of the biggest decreases among all other responses. But most people (49%) said their family and children were the source of life’s meaning; it’s possible they were including their spouse in this. But that, too, saw a drop by 7 percentage points since 2017. Twenty percent of respondents found friends as a source of life’s meaning, down by only 1%.

It seems that relationships overall still hold importance to Americans, but they’ve taken a hit during the pandemic, particularly when it comes to romance. It makes sense, given the circumstances.

A cultural shift
Of course, relationship troubles alone weren’t the sole reason for the decline in Pew respondents citing their partner as a source of life’s meaning.

Things such as the outdoors, freedom and independence, and society all saw an uptick in meaning compared to 2017. It could be that people don’t value partners less than they once did, but that they’re placing newfound emphasize on different things during a pandemic era.

…Regardless, the drop is indicative of a cultural shift. Marriage and kids have long been a cornerstone of the American Dream that emerged in the 1950s, but the marriage rate and birth rate have been declining for years as millennials postpone these milestones until a later age.


(Link): Do You Need a Partner to Have a Happy Life? by D. LaBier

(Link): Fewer Americans Think Marriage is Needed To Create Strong Families, New Poll Suggest

(Link):  Jesus Christ Removed the Stigma, Shame From Being Single and Childless – by David Instone Brewer

(Link): Authors at The Federalist Keep Bashing Singleness in the Service of Promoting Marriage – Which Is Not Okay

(Link): Lifeway Research: Pastors Encourage Single Adults, Some Provide Targeted Ministries (How Churches Are Ministering to Adult Singles in 2022)

(Link): Unmarried and Childless Women Are the Happiest, Happiness Expert Claims

(Link):  Nearly 4 in 10 American Adults Live Without Spouse or Partner As Single Population Grows: Pew

(Link): Marriage-Pushing Zealot Wilcox Suggests that Being Single is Immoral: National Review Article

(Link): Lonely Sunday: Single Christians and the Church’s Opportunity by K. Becker

(Link): Why We Thought Marriage Made Us Healthier, and Why We Were Wrong by Bella DePaulo

(Link): Marriage & Motherhood Are No Longer The Milestones Of Adulthood. Now What? by J. Filipovic

(Link):  Codependence Is Not Oneness: What Christians Get Wrong About Relationships

(Link): I Married Young. I Was Widowed Young. I Never Want A Long-Term Partner Again by R. Woolf

(Link): Coronavirus: Even Married People With Children Die All Alone

(Link):  Adult Singles Do Not Need A Marital Partner to Be Whole or Complete

(Link): Research: Being Single [or Fear of Being Single] is a Meaningful Predictor of Settling for Less in Relationships 

(Link): Self-Serving Editorial at CT: Married With Kids Lady Says ‘Why Christians Need to Embrace a Changing Definition of Family’ – But She Wants Free Baby Sitting

(Link):   Why We Thought Marriage Made Us Healthier, and Why We Were Wrong by Bella DePaulo

(Link): Married People Who Find Themselves Single Again – Spouses With Dementia / Married People Who Are Lonely

(Link): Single Adult Christian Pressured Into Marriage by Her Church – And Regrets It

(Link):  Getting Married Is Not an Accomplishment by N. Brooke

(Link): Widower to Advice Columnist Talks about Being Stereotyped by Married Couples or Ignored by Other Marrieds Since His Wife has Died

(Link): Widows and Childless and Childfree Have Better Well Being Than Married Couples and Parents says new study

(Link): Bride Battling Cancer Dies 18 Hours After Exchanging Vows

(Link): Christian Couple Dies in Helicopter Crash Hours After ‘Fairytale’ Wedding

(Link): What You Lose When You Gain a Spouse – What if marriage is not the social good that so many believe and want it to be? by M. Catron 

(Link): When You’re Married and Lonely by J. Slattery

(Link): Woman Says She is Lonely in Marriage to Husband Who Ignores Her in Favor of His Job, Watching TV, etc.

(Link): Critique of: Why Single Men May Not Be Having the Most Fun by W. B. Wilcox (who tends to be a marriage idolater and anti-singles bigot)

(Link): The Nuclear Family Was A Mistake – by David Brooks – and Related Links

(Link): Woman Says She is Lonely in Marriage to Husband Who Ignores Her in Favor of His Job, Watching TV, etc.

(Link):  When You Are Lonely In Your Marriage by K. Parsons

(Link):  The Selfish, Lazy Husband Who Kept Blowing Off His Stressed Wife to Go on World War 2 Reenactments – Male Entitlement in Relationships: Why Women Divorce Men – and Churches and Culture Support This Male Entitlement

(Link): My Marriage Broke Down Around Age 30 — And So Did Most of My Friends’ Relationships by E. Woods

(Link): Another Christianity Today Magazine Editorial Expects Single Women To Meet the Needs of Married Women – Christians Never Ask the Reverse

(Link): Really, It’s Okay To Be Single – In order to protect marriage, we should be careful not to denigrate singleness – by P. Chin

(Link): Want To But Can’t – The One Christian Demographic Being Continually Ignored by Christians Re: Marriage

(Link): Southern Baptist Al Mohler Intimates That Childless And Childfree Adults Are  Not Human (2019) – and He Thinks This is a Good and Biblical Worldview

(Link):  Christian Blogger About Divorce, Pastor Andrew Webb, Thinks All To Most Mid-Life Never – Married or Single – Again Adults Are Mal-Adjusted, Ugly Losers Who Have Too Much Baggage

(Link): The Irrelevancy To Single or Childless or Childfree Christian Women of Biblical Gender Complementarian Roles / Biblical Womanhood Teachings

(Link):  You Will Be Ignored After Your Spouse Dies

(Link):  Widower to Advice Columnist Talks about Being Stereotyped by Married Couples or Ignored by Other Marrieds Since His Wife has Died

(Link):  Asking Too Much Of Marriage – Married People are Lonely

(Link):  Study: Porn Use by Men Could Be Reason For Declining Marriage Rates / Double Standard by Many Single Men: Single Men Too Entitled, Picky About Dating Criteria

(Link):  The single life: Some people never find the love of their lives. And live to tell about it.

(Link): The Holy Spirit Sanctifies a Person Not A Spouse – Weekly Christian Marriage Advice Column Pokes Holes in Christian Stereotype that Marriage Automatically Sanctifies People

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