In our Grandparents time, people married and stayed married a good deal of the time. That sometimes translated to putting up with undesirable habits because that's what you did. In today's world, forever does not exist. When a couple commit to one another it's open ended. People change - this is not a bald thing. Better to move on than to be miserable for the sake of a marriage certificate. People want to know they have hassle free options if something doesn't work out.
While marriage is not the norm that it used to be, I don't believe that it has become outdated. For some couples, it is not the smartest decision, however, it is still a highly regarded custom, and not one that should be discarded outright. There are still many benefits to being married, including within the criminal justice system, the tax system and the family court system, and marriage is very important to many people, both those that wish to prove the depth of their relationship, and those that consider it necessary from a moral or religious standpoint.
No, I do not think that marriage is an outdated ideal at all. I think that marriage is a great thing, and I can not wait to settle down with my girlfriend in a commitment that lasts a lifetime. I think that todays problem is people getting married without time.
No, marriage is not an outdated ideal, but an ideal that should be held in high regard. People happily marriage today and can have just as long of a happy marriage as what people did 50 years ago. The ideal of working at a marriage and shaping and molding into something spectacular just seems like a foreign concept to so many that just want to be "free". So the ideal is not outdated and very much alive. Its just not as strong among some people as it once was.
In spite of what the media is crying about, marriage is not in as much in danger as they would have you believe. There are still men and women out there who have integrity. There are still people out there that believe in one man and one woman. Even homosexuals still want marriage to exist.