Monday, July 6, 2009

Blasting anti-marriage myths

Kay S. Hymowitz's Friday opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal is a breath of fresh air for those of us - in fact, the national majority - who remain committed to lifelong marriage.

Now, before you click out of this post, Hymowitz can't be faulted as a "religious nut." Her approach is statistical and secular. She calls marriage a "human invention" where a Christian would call it "instituted by God."

Hymowitz shows that the "marriage crisis" is based on over hyped celebrity divorces and media sensationalism. And statistics on marital breakdown are inflated by a very non-PC reality:

First and foremost, marital breakdown is not rampant across the land. It is concentrated among low-income and black couples. Americans seem to have a lot of trouble grasping this fact, probably because so much public space is taken up by politicians, celebrities and journalists with marriages on the skids. But in actuality, the divorce rate for college-educated women has been declining since 1980. Out-of-wedlock childbearing among the educated class remains rare.

She also refutes the latest anti-marriage chic argument:

The seemingly reasonable notion that marriage is crashing because we're likely to live till 80 also doesn't hold up. The typical divorce is not of a midlife couple bored with finishing each other's sentences; it's of a twosome who have just written the last thank-you note for wedding gifts. More than one-fifth of marriages break up within five years. The median age at first divorce is 30.5 for males and 29 for females. The risk of break-up goes up after one year of marriage and peaks at 4½ years. That's right. A lot of Americans barely wait till the paint is dry in the new family room before setting out for more promising territory.

As with so many aspects of life these days, those who have failed at or avoided something get media support as the norm against those who are sacrificing toward higher goals.

Good article and as you see she has some fun with words. Go check it out.

h/t TitusOneNine


Anonymous said...

"Soul-mate-itis" is a dangerous condition. My own ex left me, and abandoned her kids, basically because she wanted to find the "soul mate" who would make her happy. (She still hasn't found anyone, BTW, and her last boyfriend turned out to be a thief.)

Such thinking is ultimately extremely selfish: "It's all about my happiness." Wrong; it's about those you have vowed to be responsible to.

TLF+ said...

Bless you, anonymous. So sorry for the grief inflicted on you and the kids... too many such reports out there today.

It is tragic that the selfishness is so all-consuming that she can't actually find the happiness to which she thinks she is entitled. The whole "soul mate" myth is so foreign to the Biblical concept of covenant - even though there are great romances in the Bible, it's not about syrupy cultural notions of romance.

For your kids, remember Psalm 27:10 - "Though my father and my mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me." And Isaiah 49:15 - "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget,I will not forget you!"