Why is Marriage At Risk?
Who would have imagined, even 50 years ago, that we would be talking about the institution of marriage being at risk. Yet that is exactly where we are. Marriage, as we know it, is being attacked on all sides — and there are a number of reasons for this.
First, Marriage is at risk because we are living in a “divorce culture” rather than a “marriage culture.” As David Blankenhorn, author of Fatherless America says, “In a divorce culture, people are intensely interested in divorce and want to improve divorce. Family scholars study it. Children’s books tell stories about it. Policy makers pursue the goal of better divorce. In contrast, marriage commands relatively little attention in a divorce culture.” (p. 224)
Furthermore, marriage has become just one of many options in the smorgasbord of choices. People can choose not only if they should marry, but whether they might want to cohabit or if they should want to marry a man or a woman. There is a plethora of choices available to a person growing up in the 21st century.
The institution of marriage is also at risk today because society has turned the issue into a “political football” as government leaders try to decide who should be allowed to marry and who should not – as if it is up to them!
We at Marriage, Inc. believe it’s time to turn things around and begin to rebuild a marriage culture. Together, we need to call the attention back to the original design for marriage – one man and one woman for life! We must speak about how to improve it and protect it, about why it matters, and the benefits it brings to our society.
Rebuilding a culture of marriage doesn’t mean that everyone will, or must, marry. Nonetheless, the vast majority of people will choose to marry and should be encouraged to do so — as has always been the case. Yet living in a marriage culture does mean that people will honor marriage as the primary social institution it is and has been. They will see it as foundational for a healthy, well-ordered society.
Marriage must no longer be viewed as irrelevant, dispensable, or merely one of several equally-viable relationship options. Instead, society must return to promoting and maintaining its marriages, believing them to be a unique social and cultural good, and the best context for raising children.
Think about what you might do to turn things around in your community. The future of our society literally depends on what we do with this issue.