By Angie Argabrite, Thursday, April 5, 2012, at 9:01 am.
Marriage isn’t exactly in style. It’s at a record low (48 percent) in the U.S., where many who once would have been smack dab in the middle of a marriage are just living together instead; the number of 30- to 44-year-old cohabitating couples has more than doubled since the ’90s. And though same-sex marriage is making slow but steady progress—now legal in eight American states and the District of Columbia—one in five gay couples say they already consider themselves married, legalities be damned. (The same-sex marriage issue is being argued with passion in the U.K. as well.) Much attention has been paid to how quickly and profoundly the institution of marriage has fallen from popularity—and that’s just for ordinary citizens; for celebrities, an algorithm has been developed that predicts how long high-profile couples will stay wed. With all that public pressure, might more marrieds be neglecting to stoke the fires of their unions? Two businessmen from New York are aiming to give married couples a romantic kick in the pants with the launch of HowAboutWe, a dating site for committed couples. The New York Times best-seller list may also be a testament to efforts to reenergize marriages, as women around the world buy up a sexually explicit novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, said to be getting tired moms around the world into the mood. (Publishers hope so: They’re jumping on the rising interest in erotica e-books.) Also inspiring? This couple married for 72 years—just six years short of the longest American marriage on record. Says the 96-year-old bridegroom, “[The secret is to] have a glass of wine every day.” Are you thinking what we’re thinking? What a great new marketing idea for some lucky wine seller.