...marry me today." Things I'll Never Say by Avril Lavign.
An opinion article caught my eye today as I got online to check my email. It was published on CNN.com and it discusses why the "marriage gap" is bad for America. The author lists statistics of education and income levels and correlation with marriage statistics, and the results are staggering.
Wilcox's study finds that over the last 30 years, among what the report calls "Middle Americans" (the 58% of moderately educated Americans who have a high school degree), the proportion of children born outside of marriage skyrocketed from 13% to 44% while the portion of adults in an intact first marriage dropped from 73% to 45%.Meanwhile, among financially well-off Americans (the 30% who have a college degree or higher), the proportion of children born outside of marriage climbed only slightly from 2% to 6%, the divorce rate dropped from 15% to 11%, and intact first marriages dropped from 73% to 56%. (Leah Ward Sears, Why The Marriage Gap Is Bad For America)
We knew marriage was in trouble in America, but even I found these numbers shocking.
It's not all bad news (the divorce rate has dropped in the 30% of Americans with college degrees) but Sears's conclusion is that we should "recognize poverty as an injustice" and "helping the less fortunate find fortune." And her primary concern is, understandably, the children growing up in these marriage-less and broken homes.
We can't just put a bandage on the injustice by, for instance, providing support groups only to single parents, albeit support groups certainly can help. Instead, we should help couples, too, achieve the stability for which they long.This means, among other things, reconnecting marriage and parenthood in the public imagination, encouraging both religious and secular civic organizations to reach out to Americans from less-privileged backgrounds, and also urging state lawmakers to reconsider how existing divorce laws are helping -- or hurting -- our families.Strengthening marriage and parenthood are key to renewing a broad and flourishing middle class. As Wilcox notes, marriage "has long served the American experiment in democracy as an engine of the American Dream, a seedbed of virtue for children, and one of the few sources of social solidarity in a nation that otherwise prizes individual liberty."Marriage today is all of those things -- for upper-class Americans. Our challenge is to extend the benefits of married life once again to all. (Same as above)
I'm delighted that the government action she seeks law-makers examining and changing divorce laws, and that she sees private institutions, the "religious and secular civic organizations" as the real movers and shapers of this issue. But I think the issue is much deeper than merely "reaching out."
I think there needs to be a huge change in the way our culture views marriage, family, and sex.
Anyway, I found this interesting, and thought I'd share it. Pray for marriage in our country.