Threats to Marriage

815 Words4 Pages
Today there are many threats to marriage and family; and everyone seems to have an opinion on how to create it; fix it; repair it or dissolve it. We no longer look to marriage with dreamy visions of a spouse and the endless bounty of the life and family before us. “We” seem to want many of the benefits a marriage brings without making the commitment. In the 1700’s marriage was a commitment between families, which was taken seriously. There were marriage bonds with monies paid and then the court order for the marriage; and in other colonies this time-revered process might have 17 distinctive steps. Ever since Dan Quayle used the television character “Murphy Brown” in his June 1992 speech as “encouraging family disintegration” the government has continued to make, “marital status and family structure….major themes of political rhetoric and government policy” (Page 518). Quayle also remarked that, “marriage is probably the best anti-poverty program of all” (American Vision and Values, Page 179). Here was one politician who believed the country needed better role models and a return to the values on which our country was founded. Dafoe Whitehead suggests these topics are perceived as an attack on single mothers; and are met with “anger and denial” (American Vision and Values, Page 182). Rather than attack a single family structure - single mothers, consider the outcomes produced by non-traditional structures. Kay Hymowitz believes “we are becoming a nation of separate and unequal families that threatens to last in the foreseeable future” (Page 560). This will have consequences on every aspect of our society. Marriage, before children, was the given status quo for the pro-family period of the 1950’s. At that time, divorce and illegitimacy was ½ of today’s rate, marriage was universally praised and family was hailed as the most basic institution. The 1960’s brought disruptive social and cultural forces. The divorce rate soared and illegitimacy increased 22%. In the 1970’s we see where women could now afford a family without a spouse. It seems the choice to work equally with men devalued the homemaker role of previous decades (Graglia, Carolyn Domestic Tranquility Page 540). These choices were centered on career goals and achieving motherhood; without truly addressing the needs of family and children. And yet many single mothers hover around the poverty line – not nearly as glamorous as “Murphy Brown” made it seem.
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