No Rings Attached: Fewer Couples Saying 'I Do'
The children's rhyme spells out pretty clearly what was expected of people in life: First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the parents with the baby carriage.
In today's world, the baby can come before anything, and the marriage might never come at all.
Wedded bliss no longer is the ultimate goal for some couples, including in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania,, where the number of marriages appears to have declined recently.
"We talked about it, but it didn't appeal to us," said 30-year-old Scranton resident Elizabeth Davis, who has been in a relationship with Morgan Evans for nearly 13 years and has no plans to marry any time soon.
"To me, (marriage) didn't seem like an important distinction," said Mr. Evans, 30. "I don't need a church or judge to validate my affection."
And they aren't alone. Lackawanna County records show the number of people applying for marriage licenses there has declined since 1994, the earliest year for which data was available, and a local sociologist says it actually is a nationwide trend.
"It's been a pretty clear trend within the last 10 to 20 years, and it fluctuates throughout history," said Robert Tuttle, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology at Wilkes University. "There's not a guarantee that it's going to continue this way. It could go back up in the future. We don't know about that."