Over the last two days, I began seeing various tweets about the decline of marriage. The first came from Christianity Today, then I noticed the New York Times had some polls going, and I saw this: Click here – Go ahead and click there and vote in the unscientific poll and you will see that around 60% of people say that marriage may pass away as our values evolve, rather than Marriage being central to a healthy society. In the public mind, there seems to be no consequence should marriage itself completely disappear.
It seems that according to that poll, and various data is also showing that Marriage is declining as a desirable norm, and that statistically, those in poorer and middle class families are more and more deciding that marriage is not in their future. Various data shows that cohabitation, single motherhood, and divorces are becoming more the norm. As a minister to youth this worries me because I see how all these things make life harder for the kids. Children who have a loving and present mother and father have a more solid foundation than children who have absent parents, parents they see only once in a while, or living with people who have no binding commitment to hold them together. Ultimately, to know who they are and develop well, children need to feel safe – relationally, physically, emotionally, spiritually.
It seems that there is a growing sense of animosity towards the institution of marriage in general. Lately political battles have broken out about what marriage actually is, who can legally be married, and on television – liberation from bad marriages is a popular story mover. I suppose this is because divorce, bad marriages, and separations means more drama for the viewer. I do think this entertainment seeps into how we see our selves. Being married myself, and seeing how awesome it is, I often wonder why our culture can’t seem to get a hold of the idea of what a Good Marriage is. I
It is definitely not this simple:
But it really isn’t that hard either. The giving up of oneself for the other is the foundation living well together. I know our culture isn’t good about giving up oneself and giving unconditionally, but it is one of the most advanced moral things we can do as human beings. Going back to that poll, that talks about evolving past the value of marriage, I wonder what we would be evolving toward? What is greater than what is modeled in a good marriage? What is above Selfless Love? Again, I am worried, that we aren’t evolving towards anything – but rather, just giving in to whatever we want at any given moment without any particular ideal in mind. Experience shows, that if we don’t have an image of the ideal, people wander and while wandering – people get lost.