The real threat to marriage

John W. Whitehead, of the conservative Rutherford Institute, says heterosexual people are doing more to undermine the institution of marriage than gays and lesbians could ever dream of:

Contrary to what critics might say, same-sex marriage, while it may be a symptom of a cultural shift away from traditional marriage and all it has historically entailed, is not responsible for the collapse of marriage as a long-revered institution in this country. That blame rests squarely on the shoulders of heterosexuals for whom marriage—and the family unit that arises from it—has become a temporary arrangement at best, with divorce now seen as an immediate cure-all and cohabitation a happy, less permanent, alternative.
Even among professed evangelical Christians who tout traditional marriage, divorce rates are comparable to those of non-Christians. And while the decline in divorce in recent years has been hailed as good news (it now stands at 40%, down from a high of nearly 60% in the 1980s), it is a false positive that is offset by falling marriage rates and surging cohabitations. As researcher George Barna observes, “There no longer seems to be much of a stigma attached to divorce; it is now seen as an unavoidable rite of passage. Interviews with young adults suggest that they want their initial marriage to last, but are not particularly optimistic about that possibility. There is also evidence that many young people are moving toward embracing the idea of serial marriage, in which a person gets married two or three times, seeking a different partner for each phase of their adult life.”
That said, divorce is not solely to blame for the collapse of the institution of marriage. Marriage generally seems to be falling out of favor everywhere except in the realm of reality TV. For the first time in American history, unmarried households now make up the majority of all U.S. households. Younger generations are also more inclined to live together.

One thought on “The real threat to marriage

  1. Brad Brzezinski says:

    Marriages are failing because we “liberalized” our marriage laws along with our whole society. End of story. Mentioning gay marriage at all, makes me suspect that Whitehead has some sort of not-so-conservative agenda.

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