Today is Valentine's Day, when Americans will spend an estimated $17 billion on gestures of affection, genuine or contrived. We love Valentine's Day in this country. Data from the National Retail Federation show that Americans spend more on Valentine's Day than on any other holiday save Christmas. If only we loved actual romance as much as its ostentatious display.
In 1960, 72 percent of American adults were married. By 2011, the percentage had dropped to 51. A Pew survey in 2011 found that only 36 percent of adults said that having a successful marriage was "one of the most important things in life."
"Marriage increasingly is being replaced by cohabitation, single-person households and other adult living arrangements," Pew researchers concluded.
While divorce rates have fallen in recent years, so have marriage rates. Americans are decreasingly interested in committing to one partner. Too many of us want the trappings of romance, but not the commitment that real romance requires.