Many individuals in their lifetime get married, have families and in some cases divorce or never get married at all. Attitudes towards marriage have changed dramatically since the 1970s. These attitudes relate to gender roles and social changes in today's society and have contributed to women marrying later than their ancestors. Economic factors, a rise in feminism, attitudes about sex, educational pursuits, and divorce statistics all play important roles in the dramatic drop in marriage. .
As people are becoming less religious, cohabitation, couple living together without being married, is becoming more popular. Cohabiting was first look upon as sin and was very unacceptable for one to do. In the mid-1970s, only five percent of single women lived with a man before getting married. But by the 1990s, almost 70 percent of single women did. The public views cohabitating as the lead up to marriage, although most people in this situation tend to break up, it is seen as an alternative to marriage. This method is what most young couples are favoring. Using this method, less money is spent and is easier to handle break ups because the divorce process is avoided. Studies show that between 1970 and 2000 there was a decrease in marital quality. This can partly be attributed to the regard people are holding marriage to. The idea of permanence has declined and this is causing marriage to lose its sense of security. .
Being married is a lot more expensive than it used to be. When marriage enters the picture, double standards and financial imbalances leave men responsible men to pick up the slack. When first pursuing women to marry, men have to save up just to buy a woman a ring. Women look for a man that can take her out on nice dates and buy her nice things. On top of that most married couples start families adding on the cost of the household. The husband is look upon to keep the family financially stable and the wife is to take care of the family and the household.