Rational choice theory is largely about focusing on the determinants of individual choices which then forms the social structure of society. The theory assumes that every individual considers the losses and benefits of their own decisions and this then becomes a rational decision or a choice making up the primary assumption of the rational choice theory. The theory is popular among sociologists to study collective human behaviour originating from rational decisions from which the irrationality of those same decisions can be detected. The decisions of individuals are considered to be rational as they are assumed to be calculating all the likely costs and benefits of their decisions and gives a new meaning to the idea of rational choice, both as an individual and as a collective human behaviour.
Considering the social structure of marriage in the West and the European countries, the rational feeling is more weighted and inclined towards the similarity of gender position in marriage along with acting on the inherent responsibility of each gender. Thus, when a man feels rational that he is to work for the family and the women is to work for the house and children along with working at office, it is a rational decision, because the social structure is built by such beliefs of working together and also fulfilling the gender roles descried in historical texts. A women is to work if required and if desired, but they are also to take care of the children and perform house chores along if possible. Such decisions are considered rational due to its attachment to the social structure of the West and how they have developed believing in and constructing the meaning of marriage. Rational or not, these beliefs have been challenged by multiple youths and radical thinkers who shun marriage and opt for live in relationships as rational with the court giving consent for such kind of setting. Thus, the rational choice theory is unable to explain the social structure of marriage and its persistence. Surprisingly, the theory is successful in explaining the conception of marriage being rational among many million couples who have had a successful marriage and they are the ones who are being viewed as the perfect reason for making new marriage decisions rational (Guggenbühl-Craig, 2008). The theory is part successful in explaining that the belief in institution of marriage will persist until the extreme thinkers giving shape to the new meaning of marriage and converting it into the rightful meaning of living in relationships or shunning marriage completely, takes over and overpowers the majority of believers in marriage of the current period. In case of atheists who are more inclined to the ever changing belief and not firming their belief in purity and persistence of marriage, are difficult contenders for the rational choice theory. The theory fails to explain the changing nature of marriage among atheists who are secular in their life conduct and does not consider marriage as an important event to be embraced. On the other hand, it can be completely called as rational because the atheists have nothing to gain from marriage and nothing to lose from it, so the rational choice theory succeeds in explaining the belief of atheists about marriage. However, it would be like keeping the answer of rational choice standard and adjusting it with the changing questions.