About 40 couples participate in a group Valentine's Day wedding ceremony in West Palm Beach, Florida. The forms and functions of marriage have changed dramatically many times in the past as societal conditions changed.
Journalists and politicians regularly treat marriage and divorce rates as metrics for morality, but they are not. Marriages are strategic alliances, and like everything involving strategy, they combine an unchanging logic with cultural specifics. Humans are rational, strategic actors. Marriage is losing ground not because Americans are more feckless than they used to be but because the conditions that for so long made it a profitable form of alliance are changing -- particularly for women....
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