I am reading Andrew Cherlin's The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today. Cherlin is a big name in family sociology, and this is the book he says he has been thinking of writing for a long time. His main concern is why and how American family patterns are different from European patterns.
Cherlin's opening claim is interesting: we are strongly committed to marriage, like the southern Europeans, and we are strongly committed to individualism, like the northern Europeans.
Hence, the marriage-go-round. We keep marrying and remarrying for the family, but also breaking up for ourselves.