According to the CDC, there were 600,000 fewer marriages in the United States in 2020 than in 2000, even though the population grew by nearly 50 million. While many reasons are offered for the downward trend, one of the most common is cultural instability.
But that explanation does not apply to Ukraine, which has been in the midst of a war for the past six months. With thousands dead, infrastructure wrecked, and control of cities switching back and forth, “stability” wouldn’t be the word to describe Ukraine. Yet, in the first half of 2022, the nation had a record number of marriages, with weddings more likely at the front than behind the lines.
What explains so many couples taking the big leap in the face of mortal danger? Maybe they’ve got nothing to lose. Maybe marriage is an act of defiant hope. And maybe, marriage isn’t the relationship of convenience that so many in the West have come to think of it as.