Social Problems of Institution of Marriage and Family
Sociology deals with the origin, development, organization, and activities of society of people and individual behavior in this society. This science investigates social institutions and their influence on society. Thus, modern society faces numerous social problems that change its values and traditions. A great variety of social institutions are the components of society. Each of them has its problems that can be analyzed from the point of main perspectives. Modern sociology defines three main perspectives such as the functionalist, conflict, and symbolic, and they are useful in solving social problems of various nature. This work will analyze the institution of marriage and family with the help of one of these perspectives, specifically the functionalist one, and show how it can solve problems that appear in the family.
Sociologists often examine different social problems from the point of the functionalist perspective that helps to analyze a problem carefully and to find a proper solution for it. According to this perspective, every element of society depends on others and they need to function together as a whole to create strong society (Kostenberger, n.d.). Different societal institutions are connected, which means they cannot function separately. For example, children can obtain education free of charge at schools and colleges, but parents need to pay taxes to the state for this to happen. Therefore, while a family depends on school and government for giving a good education for their children and supplying them with a good job, the state depends on parents’ money in the form of taxes to provide this education (Kostenberger, n.d.). As a result, their children become responsible citizens who support the government by paying taxes and respecting the law. If everything is good, all elements of society create order and stability, but if something goes wrong, all these elements must make all efforts to renew the order, productivity, and stability in society.
According to the theory of functionalists, it is possible to have an order and stability in society only if its members work together on some problems and have some consensus. However, there is no intention to change the social environment, which is undesirable because other parts of society will have to compensate problems that might occur (Elwell, 2009). Therefore, the institution of marriage does not support this perspective as functionalists neglect the problems of divorce. From the point of this functionalism, different social groups cause different problems and form the everchanging nature of society.
One of the main social institutions is the institution of marriage and family. Nevertheless, many problems are connected with it. In the past, marriage was considered as something special that had to be cherished and valued. Family traditions and values had a great meaning for every person (Ruppanner, 2015). Nowadays, people have lost such values, and they do not understand the meaning of marriage as a main element of stability and productivity of society. Such problems are analyzed, and they can be solved with the help of the structural-functionalist perspective. According to it, marriage and family are the basic elements of society (Ruppanner, 2015). They supply the stability of society and have plenty of important functions. For example, they form a structure to produce and raise children who will be next generation of society. At the same time, as Elwell writes (2009), these institutions provide the satisfaction of sexual needs in some regulated way without any conflicts. When married, people feel pleased, satisfied, and loved; thus, these feelings make them productive members of society.
During recent years, divorce rate has increased because people have lost their values; they have big expectations from marriage, people do not want to support and respect each other since they are very selfish. Many families fail because of financial problems. Nowadays, family relations are often based on money and some advantages but not love and respect (Elwell, 2009). The level of unemployment is high in modern society, and it leads to many divorces that result in single parents, and abandoned children. Moreover, in modern society, many families are single-parent ones or those with a high level of violence in relations. Therefore, these changes in family values lead to great problems inside of society. Consequently, children from such families cannot grow up with a positive attitude towards life; they cannot be responsible and highly-educated members of their society and guarantee its prosperity and stability.
The way to solve the problem of unstable marriages is to encourage people to keep family traditions and values, to reduce the level of divorces, and to teach children how to build strong and healthy relations in the family. At school, it is necessary to make a special training on how to build happy relations in the family and discuss different problems that can lead to divorce (Elwell, 2013). There should be laws against violence in family relations. Women must be protected by law and government and feel safe. All institutions are to work together to reach some goals and to change this situation.
To sum up, it is possible to say that modern society faces many problems, and one of them is the problem of the institution of marriage and family. Modern people have lost family values and they no longer accept family as an important part of society. Men want to dominate over women, women feel pressure, the level of unemployment is very high, and many families face the problem of poverty. Such issues cause conflicts and divorces as well as the overall crash of stability and order in the society. Nevertheless, there are some ways to solve these problems according to three main perspectives of sociology. If all people work together and cooperate, respecting each other’s rights, making everyone equal emotionally and financially, the family will be a strong element of society, and in 10 years, people will change their attitude to the institution of marriage.
Elwell, F. W. (2009). Macrosociology: The study of sociocultural systems. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press.
Elwell, F. W. (2013). Sociocultural systems: Principles of structure and change. Edmonton, Canada: Athabasca University Press.
K?stenberger, A. (n.d.). The top 10 issues facing marriage and family today. Retrieved from http://www.biblicalfoundations.org/the-top-10-issues-facing-marriage-and-family-today-an-assessment/
Ruppanner, L. (2015, March 10). Contemporary family issues. Retrieved from http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199756384/obo-9780199756384-0122.xml