原创翻译:龙腾网 http://www.ltaaa.com 翻译:yzy86 转载请注明出处

A wedding is no longer the first step intoadulthood that it once was, but, often, the last.

结婚不再像从前那样是步入成年的第一步,而往往是最后一步。



ANDREW CHERLIN MAR 20, 2018

The decline of marriage is upon us. Or, atleast, that’s what the zeitgeist would have us believe. In 2010, when Timemagazine and the Pew Research Center famously asked Americans whether they thoughtmarriage was becoming obsolete, 39 percent said yes. That was up from 28percent when Time asked the question in 1978. Also, since 2010, the CensusBureau has reported that married couples have made up less than half of allhouseholds; in 1950 they made up 78 percent. Data such as these have led tomuch collective handwringing about the fate of the embattled institution.

婚姻的没落发生在我们身上。或者说,至少这是时代精神会让我们相信的东西。在2010年的一次著名调查中,时代杂志和皮尤研究中心询问美国人是否认为婚姻已经过时,有39%的人回答是。这要比时代杂志在1978年询问该问题时的比例上升了28%。而且,自2010年以来人口统计局的报告显示,已婚夫妇占所有户数的比例已经不到一半; 而在1950年占到了78%。这类数据引起了对这个困难重重机构命运的集体绝望。

But there is one statistical tidbit thatflies in the face of this conventional wisdom: A clear majority of same-sexcouples who are living together are now married. Same-sex marriage was illegalin every state until Massachusetts legalized it in 2004, and it did not becomelegal nationwide until the Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015.Two years after that decision, 61 percent of same-sex couples who were sharinga household were married, according to a set of surveys by Gallup. That’s ahigh take-up rate: Just because same-sex couples are able to marry doesn’t meanthat they have to; and yet large numbers have seized the opportunity. (That’scompared with 89 percent of different-sex couples.)

但是统计中存在一个小秘密,公然挑战了这种世俗认知:一起生活的绝大多数同性伴侣处于婚内状态。同性婚姻在所有州都是非法的,直到2004年马萨诸塞州将其合法化,而且在最高法院于2015年对奥贝格费尔诉霍奇斯案作出判决之前,它没能在全国变成合法。根据盖洛普的一系列调查,在该判决发生两年后,组成了家庭的同性伴侣中有61%结了婚。这是一个很高的接受率:就因为同性伴侣能够结婚并不意味着他们必须去结,然而大批的人抓住了这个机会。(这是相较于不同性别夫妇的数据89%而言)。

The move toward marriage has not beendriven by young gay and lesbian couples rushing to the altar. In both the yearbefore and the year after Obergefell, only one out of seven people whom theCensus Bureau classified as in a same-sex marriage was age 30 or younger,according to calculations I’ve done based on the bureau’s American CommunitySurvey. In fact, half of them were age 50 or older. The only way that couldhave happened, given that same-sex marriage has been legal for less than 15years, is if large numbers of older same-sex couples who had been together formany years took advantage of the new laws. In other words, changes in state andfederal laws seem to have spurred a backlog of committed, medium- to long-termcouples to marry.

推动着走向婚姻的并非那些奔赴婚姻圣坛的年轻男同和女同伴侣。根据我基于该机构做的美国社区调查的估算,在奥贝格费尔案的前一年和后一年,被人口统计局归为已进入同性婚姻的人中,七个里只有一个年龄是在30岁或以下。事实上,其中有一半是50岁或以上。鉴于同性婚姻成为合法的时间还不足15年,唯一有可能造成这种情况的就是:大量在一起已多年的老年同性伴侣利用了新法律。换句话说,州和联邦法律的变化似乎刺激了被积压着的那些对彼此做出过承诺的中长期伴侣去结婚。

Why would they choose to do so afterliving, presumably happily, as cohabiting unmarried partners? In part, they mayhave married to take advantage of the legal rights and benefits of marriedcouples, such as the ability to submit a joint federal tax return. But thelegal issues, important as they are, appear secondary. In a 2013 surveyconducted by the Pew Research Center, 84 percent of LGBT individuals said that“love” was a very important reason to marry, and 71 percent said“companionship” was very important, compared to 46 percent who said that “legalrights and benefits” are very important.

为什么他们像那些同居的未婚伴侣那样生活并且目测也很幸福之后,还是会选择这样做?部分原因是,他们可以通过结婚享受到已婚夫妇的合法权益,比如能够提交共同的联邦纳税申报表。但是,法律问题虽然重要,似乎居于次要。皮尤研究中心在2013年进行的一项调查显示,84%的LGBT个体表示,“爱”是结婚的一个重要原因,而71%的人表示“陪伴”非常重要,相比之下,只有46%的人表示“合法权益”非常重要。

Yet the emphasis on love and companionshipis not enough to explain the same-sex marriage boom. Without doubt, most of themiddle-aged same-sex couples who have married of late already had love andcompanionship—otherwise they would not have still been together. So why marrynow? Marriage became for them a public marker of their successful unx,providing them the opportunity to display their love and companionship tofamily and friends. One reason, of course, was the desire to claim a right solong denied, but that only further underlines the way in which marriage todaysignals to the wider community the success of a long-standing relationship.

然而,对爱与陪伴的强调仍不足以解释同性婚姻的兴盛。毫无疑问,近来结婚的大部分中年同性伴侣已经拥有了爱和陪伴,否则他们就不会仍在一起。那么为什么挑现在结婚?婚姻变成了他们成功结合的公开标志,使他们得以向家人和朋友展示他们之间的爱和陪伴。当然了,其中一个原因是要求一种长久以来不被承认权利的渴望,但这却进一步凸显了(结婚)这种方式,即如今的婚姻向更广泛的社群传达出一种存在已久关系的成功。

In this sense, these gay couples werefalling right in line with the broader American pattern right now: For manypeople, regardless of sexual orientation, a wedding is no longer the first stepinto adulthood that it once was, but, often, the last. It is a celebration ofall that two people have already done, unlike a traditional wedding, which wasa celebration of what a couple would do in the future.

从这个意义上看,这些同性伴侣正在贴合如今在美国人中更为广泛的模式:不考虑性取向,对许多人来说结婚不再像从前那样是步入成年的第一步,而往往是最后一步。不同于传统的婚礼是在庆祝一对夫妇会在未来做的事,如今的婚礼庆祝的是两个人已经完成的所有事。

Consistent with this shift in meaning,different-sex couples, like the many of the same-sex couples who have marriedrecently, are starting their marriages later in their lives. According to theCensus Bureau, the median age at first marriage—the age at which half of allmarriages occur—was 27.4 for women and 29.5 for men in 2017. That’s higher thanat any time since the Census began keeping records in 1890. It is six years higherthan when I got married in 1972 (at the typical age of 24). In my era, a youngcouple usually got married first, then moved in together, then started theiradult roles as workers or homemakers, and then had children. (I scandalized myparents by living with my future wife before I married her.) Now marriage tendsto come after most of these markers are attained.

与这种意义上的转变一致,不同性别的夫妇像最近结婚的许多同性伴侣那样,开始在他们生命中更晚的时候结婚。根据人口统计局的数据,在2017年首婚年龄的中位数,女性为27.4岁,男性为29.5岁。这比1890年该局保存记录以来的任何一年都高。比我在1972年结婚的时候高6岁(当时我处在典型的结婚年龄:24岁)。在我的时代,一对年轻夫妇通常会先结婚,接着搬到一起住,然后开始充当工人或是家庭主妇等成人角色,再然后才是生育孩子。(我因为与未来的妻子在婚前就住在一起而使我的父母蒙羞。)而现在,婚姻呈现出一种趋势,即在达成这些标志性节点中的大部分后才会发生。

The main distinction in marriage patternstoday is between Americans who have attained at least a bachelor’s degree andthose with less education. The college-educated are more likely to eventuallymarry, even though they may take longer to get around to it. In addition,nearly nine out of 10 wait until after they marry to have children, whereas amajority of those without college educations have a first child before theymarry. Rates of divorce have been dropping across the board since about 1980,but the drop has been steeper for the college-educated. In the mid-20thcentury, people’s educational level had less impact on when, whether, and forhow long they married. Today, marriage is a much more central part of familylife among the college educated.

今天在美国人中主要的婚姻模式区别,体现在获得至少一个学士学位的人群和那些受教育程度更低的人之间。接受过大学阶段教育的人最终更有可能结婚,尽管他们可能需要更长的时间才会开始考虑结婚。另外,这类人中几乎十分之九的人会等到他们婚后才会要孩子,而大部分没有接受过大学教育的人群在婚前都会要第一个孩子。自大约1980年以来,所有阶层的离婚率都一直在下降,但受过大学教育人群的离婚率,降幅更为显著。在20世纪中期,人们的教育水平对他们的结婚时间、结婚与否以及婚姻持续时间的影响较小。如今,在受过大学教育的人群中,婚姻是家庭生活中更为核心的部分。

Nevertheless, the last-step view ofmarriage is common across all educational groups in United States. And it isbeing carried to the nth degree in Scandinavia. In Norway and Sweden, amajority of the population marries, but weddings often take place long after acouple starts to have children, or even after all of their children are born.The median age at first marriage in Norway is an astounding 39 for men and 38for women, according to a recent estimate—six to eight years higher than themedian age at first childbirth. In Sweden, one study found that 17 percent ofall marriages had occurred after the couple had had two children. Why do they evenbother to marry at such a late stage of their unxs? Norwegians toldresearchers that they view marriage as a way to demonstrate love and commitmentand to celebrate with relatives and friends the family they have constructed.This is capstone marriage: The wedding is the last brick put in place tofinally complete the building of the family.

尽管如此,在美国所有受过高等教育的群体普遍都抱持这种“最后一步论”。而且这种观念在斯堪的纳维亚地区被推到了新的高度。在挪威和瑞典,大部分人都会结婚,但通常会在一对夫妇开始生养孩子之后很久才会举办婚礼,甚至在他们所有孩子出生后才会发生。根据最近作出的估计,挪威的首婚年龄中位数,男性为39岁,女性为38岁,这要比首次生孩子的年龄中位数高6至8岁。在瑞典,一项研究显示:所有的婚姻中有17%发生在夫妻双方已然生育两个孩子之后。他们何苦在结合后的如此晚期还要去结婚呢?挪威人告诉研究者说,他们认为婚姻是一种证明爱和承诺的方式,并且能与亲友一起庆祝他们已然建立的家庭。这是压顶石式的婚姻:即结婚是最终完成构建家庭的最后一块砖。

Americans have tended to rank marriage asmore important than Europeans do for as long as there have been Americans. Thetransatlantic difference extends back to the Calvinist settlers who believed inthe exalted place of marriage found in Martin Luther’s theology. And thedifference has persisted: Between 2005 and 2009, the World Values Survey askedsamples of people in various Western countries whether they agreed with thestatement, “Marriage is an outdated institution.” Just 12.6 percent ofAmericans agreed, which is smaller than the proportion who agreed in any of theWestern European nations surveyed, including heavily Catholic Italy (where 18.1percent agreed) and Spain (31.6 percent).

相比欧洲人,美国人把婚姻看得更重要的时间和他们成为美国人的时间一样长。这种跨大西洋的差异可以追溯到信奉加尔文宗的定居者,他们信仰马丁路德神学体系中婚姻的崇高地位。而且这种差异始终存在:“世界价值观调查”在2005年至2009年间询问了西方各国人的样本,是否同意“婚姻是一种过时的习俗”这种论调。只有12.6%的美国人表示同意,该比率比接受调查的任何西欧国家都要低,包括天主教信徒甚众的意大利(18.1%同意)和西班牙(31.6%)。

Justice Anthony Kennedy reflected this highAmerican regard for marriage when he wrote for the majority of the Court inObergefell, “Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential toour most profound hopes and aspirations.” Although many on the cultural andpolitical left applauded the Court’s decision, Kennedy’s language was quitetraditionalist. In fact, plenty of Americans view marriage as, at best, one ofmany lifestyle choices and, at worst, a deeply flawed heterosexual institutionthat should be transcended. Some go as far as to argue that families headed bymarried couples should be replaced by networks of friends and past and presentromantic partners.

安东尼·肯尼迪法官在写给奥伯格费尔案所涉大部分法庭的文中深思了美国人对婚姻的高度重视:“源于最基本的人类需求,婚姻对我们最深切的希望和抱负至关重要。”尽管许多文化和政治上的左翼人士对法院的决定给予了喝彩,肯尼迪的话语却颇为守旧。事实上,大量的美国人认为,婚姻充其量只是对众多生活方式的选择之一,而说难听点,这是一个应该被超越的内含重大缺陷的异性恋习俗。有些人走得更远,他们主张:朋友圈以及过去和现在的爱人应当取代以已婚夫妇为首的家庭制度。

The alternative visions are far fromreplacing marriage. It is an open question, however, how much longer marriagewill continue to dominate American family life. According to the General SocialSurvey, a national survey of Americans conducted every other year, thepercentage of Americans who agreed with the statement, “It is alright for acouple to live together without intending to get married,” increased from 41percent in 1994 to 57 percent in 2012, the last time the question was asked.Moreover, the material foundations of marriage have weakened. America is wellpast the heyday of the farm family in which a husband and wife united in laborand raised children to help work the land. Marriage seems to operate best todayfor parents who pool two incomes and invest heavily in their children’sdevelopment. Yet these investments could be made by parents in long-termcohabiting relationships. The dominance of marriage may simply be due to whatthe sociologist William Ogburn called “cultural lag”: the tendency of attitudesand values to change more slowly than the material conditions that underliethem.

替代性的愿景远非取代婚姻这么简单。这是一个开放性问题,然而婚姻继续主导美国家庭生活还会有多久呢。根据每两年发布一次的美国国民调查“综合社会调查”的数据,美国人对“一对不打算结婚的伴侣生活在一起没有问题”论调的同意比例,从1994年的41%,增加到最新一次提问发生的2012年的57%。此外,婚姻的物质基础已经弱化。美国早就跨越了农民家庭的全盛时期,在这种家庭中,夫妻共同劳作并养大子女来帮着耕地。如今运转最佳的婚姻,似乎是那些手握两份收入并大量投资于孩子发展的父母。然而,身处长期同居关系的父母同样可以做到这些投资。婚姻的统治地位可能仅仅是由于社会学家威廉·奥格本口中的“文化滞后”:一种趋势,即态度和价值观的变化,比作为其基础的物质条件的变化来得更为缓慢。

There may soon be a slowdown in theproportion of same-sex couples who choose to marry. Sometime soon, the backlogof same-sex couples wishing to marry will be depleted. At that point, marriage ratesamong same-sex couples will depend largely on what younger people in recentlyformed relationships do. Many of them may do the same things that youngerdifferent-sex couples are doing: live together in cohabiting relationships,postpone marriage, and ultimately choose marriage less frequently than theirparents’ generation did. If that happens, the rate of same-sex marriage willslow. But it will surely persist—more, to be sure, as a common last step intoadulthood than as a first.

同性伴侣选择结婚的比例,其增速可能很快就会降下来。不久后的某个时间,希望结婚的同性伴侣的积压量将被耗尽。届时,同性伴侣群体中的结婚率将主要取决于年轻人士最近所塑造关系(的后效)。他们中的许多人,可能会做现在的年轻异性伴侣正在做的事:在同居关系中住在一起,推迟结婚,而最终选择婚姻的少于他们父母那一代。如果发生这种情况,同性婚姻的增速将放缓。但它肯定会持续下去,可以肯定的是,更多是作为进入成年期的常见最后一步而不是第一步。