In the past few years we’ve seen marriage eroded on several fronts. Gay marriage advocates would have us believe that marriage is about economic and legal fairness and a stable relationship between adults. The young are increasingly abandoning marriage. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in May 2009 that births to unmarried women have reached an astonishing 39.7%.
This week I read two excellent, hard-hitting articles on marriage, one after another. I recommend that you read them in full. Here are brief highlights:
Caitlin Flanagan, “Why Marriage Matters,” Time, July 13, 2009, pp. 45-49. “On every single significant outcome related to short-term well-being and long-term success, children from intact, two-parent families outperform those from single-parent households. Longevity, drug abuse, school performance and dropout rates, teen pregnancy, criminal behavior and incarceration … in all cases, the kids living with both parents drastically outperform the others.”
“Is [marriage] simply an institution that has the capacity to increase the pleasure of the adults who enter into it? … Or is marriage an institution that still hews to its old intention and function – to raise the next generation, to protect and teach it, to instill in it the habits of conduct and character that will ensure the generation’s own safe passage into adulthood?”
Mark Galli, “Is the Gay Marriage Debate Over,” Christianity Today, July 2009, pp. 30-33.
Quoting David Blankenhorn: “Among us humans … marriage is not primarily a license to have sex. Nor is it primarily a license to receive benefits or social recognition. It is primarily a license to have children…. Marriage says to a child: The man and the woman whose sexual union made you will also be there to love and raise you. Marriage says to society as a whole: For every child born, there is a recognized mother and a father, accountable to the child and to each other.”
Quoting Margaret Somerville: “Reproduction is the fundamental occurrence on which, ultimately, the future of human life depends. That is the primary reason why marriage is important to society.”
Marriage isn’t about us adults. It’s about our kids. Sobering thoughts.