Many people like to believe that something like marriage is stable, it is an unshakable institution. This could not be further from the truth. Just see how the idea of same-sex marriage in the United States has grown from a total periphery to something that is legally accepted throughout the country. However, looking ahead to the next decade, there will certainly be more changes. Here’s a look at some of the biggest potential marital trends for 2020.
Divorce rates are declining in the United States, and this is a trend you can only expect to continue. From 2000 to 2016, the marriage rate dropped from 8.2 to 6.9 per 1,000 people, with divorces falling from 4.0 to 3.2. Expect similar declines in the coming years as people continue to be less likely to marry early due to issues such as the pursuit of personal education and careers, combating debt levels and financial insecurity, and more.
Couples will marry later and will potentially be more confident that they have made the right choice and made it in a more mature and stable moment in their lives. On the other hand, more people will continue to divorce later in life, as prioritizing personal happiness and satisfaction is something more people consider even after their children move out or retire. The idea is called gray divorce, and while the divorce rate has fallen, gray divorces have doubled in the last few decades.
For couples who are still divorcing, one of the most common trends that will only intensify is dealing with a man’s or a woman’s best friend in the ensuing legal challenge. Three states have already passed legislation that addresses the prospect of a pet’s well-being during a divorce, as opposed to treating the animal only as a property to be divided.
Another trend that will play out more and more on the battlefield for divorce will be cryptocurrency. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are already beginning to emerge in divorce battles for several reasons, including the difficulty or inability to track or prove the financial assets a person may hold on that medium, and the rapidly changing values that these assets may represent. As cryptocurrencies become more widespread, they will become an even bigger problem to fight.
Technology should be a great thing for marriage, and in many ways it is. Consider being able to have video conversations with your spouse while one person is away, as well as the ability to sync calendars to make it easy to keep up with a person’s schedule. Yet, at the same time, technology often disrupts relationships, whether as a distraction to prevent quality time or the risks and lures of everything from social media to dating apps. Technology will become more integrated in our lives than it already is, and its impact will continue to be felt on both sides of the spectrum.
The idea of marriage or divorce may not go anywhere, but the ways in which these seemingly stable institutions are evolving and changing are faster and more impactful than many would realize at first glance.