Family Frameworks

Marriage is Important for OUR Country!!


Jan 2013


This past year I personally have experienced the weddings of two of our children.  The newness is still there for both of them.  It’s still a beginning for many that were married in 2012.  I looked up the statistics for the most popular months to get married and to my surprise, June is no longer the most popular month, July and August have taken the lead for weddings then June.  Right now many are planning their weddings.   The excitement of the event is usually the main topic rather than the lastingness of the event.  The wedding takes up 3-4 hours of one’s life, but the marriage takes of the rest of their life.  Many brides get so enthralled with all the details, spending thousands of dollars for the perfect wedding, but they have not prepared themselves at all for the marriage.

“Marriage is just supposed to happen”.   “If it doesn’t work, then we can get divorced.”   I also hear frequently, we don’t have enough money right now so we are just going to live together.  Unfortunately all these thoughts have normalized cohabitation.   Ten to fifteen years ago we still considered living together as shacking up and an immoral thing to do.  Now it’s so common we just accept it.

Unfortunately we are seeing the consequence of this attitude in the next generations that have appeared.  In “The State of the Union” report from the Institute for American Values and the National Marriage Project they report that now the norm for our middle-class is 44% of our children are born outside of marriage.  This is up 13% from the 1980’s.  We have studied this enough to know that when children are raised in a single-parent home there are many side effects that effect the children.  Such as they struggle in school, they struggle with relationships, they have more incidences of delinquency and they struggle economically.

Right now our country is struggling with the economy.   Our Government does not mention one of the biggest problems that effects our need for taxes that could be easily reconciled, marriage rather than cohabitation.  A study was done by the Institute for American Values that showed if we could decrease the percentage of children NOT raised by their married biological parents by just 1% we would save $1.1 billion annually.   When two biological parents raise children there is less need for repeating grades, medical bills and counseling costs.

When do we affect this?  I believe it is before the marriage starts.  We know that Premarital Counseling helps those that prepare for marriage know what areas they will need to work on.   They can go into the marriage with their eyes open not expecting things to always be perfect.  So many think they are supposed to have Hollywood marriages or what we see and when it’s not they break up.

The Institute for American Values has come up with some ideas that the government can do to help this situation such as:

  • Eliminate marriage penalties and disincentives for the poor, for unwed mothers, and for older Americans., including lesser-known disincentives present in current Medicaid and Social Security policies. 
  • Triple the child tax credit to shore up the economic foundations of family life in Middle America
  • Help young men to become more marriageable and better husbands and fathers with job apprenticeship programs championed by report co-author Robert I Lerman of the Urban Institute, military programs like the Strong Bonds Program, and prison programs like Within My Reach. 
  • Enact the Second Chances Act to prevent unnecessary divorce.  (Designed by the Institute for American Values)
  • Provide marriage education for newly forming stepfamilies since their rate of divorce is even higher. 
  • Invest in and evaluate marriage and relationship education programs, especially those that target at-risk individuals and couples.  Our organization as well as Compassion House here in Dalton provide these types of programs. 
  • Engage Hollywood, much as the anti-smoking movement did, to help shape positive American attitudes toward marriage and parenting.  Right now the majority of sex on TV and in movies is shown between unmarried couples. 
  • Launch social media campaigns about the facts and fun of marriage, perhaps led by the U.S. Surgeon General.  Such as our Dating My Spouse program and Date Night Dalton. 
  • Model how to talk about shared marriage values from a variety of perspectives.  
All of the above can help.  Here at Family Frameworks we are trying to model the above in our community, area and state.  We are persevering and we are seeing a change being made.  I still believe in the importance of marriage and want to share that with the next generations coming up.  We must all do that before marriage is a lost institution.  MARRIAGE IS IMPORTANT!!! for all of us, but especially the next generations.  Help spread the word.  

Leave a comment