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The obvious reason for declining marriage rates is the general erosion of traditional social conventions.
By 2012, the situation had basically reversed: 78 percent of men and 67 percent of women were unmarried at that age.
Nor are they part of the rising generation of gender-fluid individuals for whom the ever-lengthening list of sexual identities and affinities spells liberation from the heteronormative assumptions of parents and peers.
The two authors are (or in Weigel’s case, was, when she wrote her book) single, straight women in their early 30s.
The potential spouses assessed each other in the privacy of her home, her parents assessed his eligibility, and either they got engaged or he went on his way.
Over the course of the 20th century, such encounters became more casual, but even tire kickers were expected to make a purchase sooner rather than later.
Though it is probably too soon to say exactly how, Witt and Weigel offer a useful perspective.