Why we now partner up: to raise children?

Richard Reeves asks: “Is marriage dying?” He tracks big social changes in the USA. The family pattern of child-rearing Mums and bread-winning Dads has long gone. He suggests the new model means that we now partner up to raise children.

Before his conclusion, Richard Reeves, author & Fellow at the Brookings Institute, reviews the evidence of huge cultural change in roles, family and marriage. The main reasons to marry have been: God, money, love, pregnancy, and status. Why people partner up now has diversified.

Children are the priority

Society has fundamentally transformed its central institution of marriage. The women’s movement has shattered the old model of gendered inequality and dependence. Women are looking for something more than just a paycheck. They don’t stay in bad marriages. Men too are changing fast so they don’t get left behind.

Lesbian and gay couples are keen to marry – and they have children too.

Social class differences are emerging. Those with less education do not marry as much. There are more single parent families. People marry later. Marrying is often now a signal of everything that has led up to the ceremony rather than the beginning of a journey. 

What matters above all is parenting, the way we raise our kids … based around egalitarianism between men and women, [and] a shared commitment to kids.

Richard V. Reeve, Author

Richard Reeves says that what matters now above all is parenting, the way we raise our kids. Couples and families are primarily committed to raising children. The new model for families is based on shared parenting, not the old model of economic inequality.

If it’s true that we now partner up to raise children, it follows that the children will continue to be the priority when families separate.