Americans are getting more liberal about most family-related topics—according to a recent national CDC survey, Americans are increasingly OK with living together before marriage, teen sex before marriage, women having children out of wedlock, same-sex couples adopting children, and other related topics. "But on one crucial measure, they have become much more conservative," writes Catherine Rampell in the Washington Post: divorce. In 2002, about half of Americans agreed with the statement, "Divorce is usually the best solution when a couple can’t seem to work out their marriage problems." Ten years later, more than 60% of Americans disagreed with the statement, and today, younger Americans were especially likely to disagree with it.
That's probably because previous generations saw marriage as something to be done early in life, by young people who would grow together to achieve stability—but today, young people want to achieve stability first, and then get married. "Marriage has, in other words, gone from being a cornerstone achievement to a capstone one," Rampell writes. As for why marriage has been placed on such a high pedestal, it's not clear; perhaps the high divorce rates of decades past have made today's young people especially fearful of "creating their own broken homes." Either way, if you have young friends putting off marriage, "Chances are they’re dragging their feet not because they don’t take marriage seriously but because they do." Rampell's full column here. (Read more divorce stories.)