Skip to comments.7 Reasons Marriage Is Falling Apart in America
Posted on 04/06/2013 7:32:02 AM PDT by Kaslin
It's no secret that marriage has been in decline in America, but most people don't realize how quickly it has been crumbling. The numbers are staggering and the sea change in attitude that has gone along with them would shock previous generations of Americans.
"In 1960, two-thirds (68%) of all twenty-somethings were married. In 2008, just 26% were." "To get a sense of how different attitudes were in the 1960s, perhaps this will do it. (M)arried women were asked, In your opinion, do you think it is all right for a woman to have sexual relations before marriage with a man she knows she is going to marry? ...Eighty-six percent said no."
The damage to our society caused by this decline in marriage is almost incalculable.
According to the Index of Leading Cultural Indicators, children from single-parent families account for 63 percent of all youth suicides, 70 percent of all teenage pregnancies, 71 percent of all adolescent chemical/substance abuse, 80 percent of all prison inmates, and 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children.
A study cited in the Village Voice produced similar numbers. It found that children brought up in single-mother homes are five times more likely to commit suicide, nine times more likely to drop out of high school, 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances, 14 times more likely to commit rape (for the boys), 20 times more likely to end up in prison, and 32 times more likely to run away from home.
There are no easy fixes for this problem, but before we can even begin to consider solutions, we need to get a better understanding of what has gone wrong. Why is marriage collapsing in America? What are the root causes of the phenomenon? If studies show that married couples are happier, more financially secure and generally better off across just about every variable you can imagine, why are there so many people who are reluctant to get married?
1) The Sexual Revolution: There have always been people who've had sex outside of marriage, but there was a time when that was widely considered shameful. Fifty years ago, a book like The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On would have been considered nothing more than obvious common sense. Today, if you write a book like that, you'll end up on TV facing hosts who can't believe there's anyone left who believes in not having sex before marriage. In other words, the promise of easy access to sex used to be a big reason to get married. These days? Fifty nine percent of people polled at MSN Dating said they would have sex within the first three dates and less than 7% said they would wait until marriage.
2) The Inability Of Many Poor Men To Support A Family: There was a time in America where a hard working man with a high school degree and limited skills could still make enough money to support himself, a wife and a child or two. Granted, they might have had to scrape by, but they were able to make it. Unfortunately, as automation and technology have replaced some of those jobs and others have moved overseas to workers in China and India, the economic prospects for many men in this group have plunged. What that means as a practical matter is that a lot of men who would have been married and providing for a family in a previous era are now single and can barely afford to take care of themselves.
3) A "Marrying Up" Gap: Women have always been inclined to "marry up." In a world where female incomes have dramatically increased and there have been more women than men getting college degrees for the last twenty years, that means many ladies believe they have a much smaller pool of potentially acceptable mates than ever before. The male CEO may be content to marry the pretty maid who wants to take care of him, but a female CEO probably isn't going to marry a butler.
4) No Fault Divorce: When Ronald Reagan was governor of California, he signed the nation's first "no fault" divorce bill into law. Later on, Reagan called that act his "greatest regret." It should have been because it led to those laws, which made divorce much easier to get, spreading across the country. As a result, between 1960 and 1980, the divorce rate in America more than doubled. Happily, the numbers have since stabilized, but they ended up almost twice as high as they were before. The more divorces there are, the less attractive marriage becomes because it increases the risk factor. "No fault" or not, divorce is usually a devastating process for everyone involved and the more likely marriages are to end in divorce, the less likely people will be to want to get married in the first place.
5) Increased Economic Options For Women: There was a time when the surest path to economic security for women was to get married. Today, that's not necessarily true. Women on the low end of the pay scale can have the government step in to pay many of their bills. Women with college degrees or in demand skills can make just as much as a man if they're willing to put in the same hours. Those additional economic options make marriage -- and staying in a difficult marriage -- less attractive to women.
6) Marriage has become a much less attractive option for men: There was a time when the man was expected to provide for his wife and kids and in return, he was treated as the king of the castle. Now, men are often treated more like partners than kings. Moreover, if there's a divorce, men know they may not be treated fairly by the court system. Almost every man knows a guy who has had access to his child used as a bargaining chip, who has to pay Draconian child support payments or who has otherwise been generally treated unfairly because of his gender, not the merits. No man wants to end up as the guy paying a huge chunk of his income to a woman who broke his heart while he wonders if he'll be allowed to have access to his own child.
7) Children have become more of an economic hindrance than a help: There was a time when having children was essentially an insurance policy. If you became disabled or too old to work, your kids took care of you. Today, the government fulfills that role. Additionally, the cost of raising a child has skyrocketed. You'll now have to take $235,000 out of your wallet to raise a kid to 17 -- and that doesn't even include college costs. While a married couple can bear this expense much more easily than a single parent, as a practical matter what it means is that less Americans are having children. If you take away the need to have a partner in raising a child, you've removed one of the biggest reasons for marriage to exist in the first place.
And that is why the Catholic church requires Pre-Cana classes before you can marry in the Church.
Get rid of the "Set up for life" social programs, and people will start needing and wanting each other again. Neighbors will start needing neighbors again. Nation and nation, kingdom and kingdom will start working together again.
The politicians, who like playing God, have sold the people of the world a lie for the sake of their own power and privilege (and their tower of socialist Babble is just about ready to fall).
Agree the politicians are a big part of the problem they make people weaker not stronger.
For it’s all about votes and power.
I remember the Murphy Brown/Dan Quayle exchange.
We conservatives need to push back harder. Quayle and others (Bill Cosby) have been severely beaten after they have confronted the mainstream on unwed mothers and the very obvious causes of poverty.
For anyone to be attacked for the number one cause of all of the social issues in our society is ridiculous.
Poverty and violence in the inner cities can be traced to a broken home.
We have 6 children 3 boys and 3 girls.Nobody was allowed to move in with someone.If you did you could leave your partner at home because they were not welcomed in my house.They also knew to marry in their faith and commit to it.As a family we back them up and we all help.If you have children we help watch them.If you buy a house do it based on one salary.The kids all stuck to it.Biggest thing is your faith.Go to church.I have a 30 year old daughter,most of her friends live together.She is married with a child.Her friends say they are afraid to have children.I can’t figure it out.
Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:
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“... Catholic church Pre-Cana, etc...”
All true, except the Church has given up since Vatican II. The Chruch quit its true teaching (magisterium) role in the 60’s.
Thanks. You add the missing ingredient. There has been a lot of good points made on why marriage breaks up. You have made the point of what keeps marriage intact forever.
Children with a stay at home mom and an involved dad is hard to beat.
When asked are YOU brain washed to some extent.?...
If you say NO, then you surely are... and maybe delusional as well..
Propaganda is a scientific fact... “Logans Run” is a metaphor of reality..
Intimacy no longer has meaning beyond the pleasure of the moment. A man no longer needs to win a dame’s heart with chivalry and sonnets of love.
On free milk everywhere, as Aristotle observed that which is ubiquitous is deemed less valuable than that which is rare.
I agree, albeit with a heavy heart, with the poster who saw all of this as merely symptomatic of the broader collapse of Western civilization.
It appears that Hollywood is the seat of Satan’s power. It is full of willing subjects.
“...Propaganda is a scientific fact..
I have no idea what Logans Run is, however I do know that this country is brain washed to the extent that they are oblivious.
Thanks,what I can’t figure out is why the my daughter’s 30 something friends are afraid to be mother’s.They have told me this.
“Its falling apart because its very legally disadvantageous to men.”
That’s right, and our aging spinsters will shake their fists at the men who won’t marry them while insisting on keeping those laws in place.
In may area the only people breeding are immigrants; the whites that bother to get married get his and hers dogs...
The article is right in the first sentence; this is not something unfolding at some future point; it is happening NOW, and the political ramifications are frightening.
“Thanks,what I cant figure out is why the my daughters 30 something friends are afraid to be mothers.They have told me this.”
They’ll have to focus on something more important than themselves, and the commitment is for the rest of their lives. It is a lot easier to spend money on yourself, raise an animal instead, and complain about the proliferation of dark people jabbering in strange tongues in your old neighborhoods...
“...that which is ubiquitous is deemed less valuable...”
The women gave it up - why did they do it? the rare thing they had, their feminine value, the women in power threw out. They echanged their true value for nothing.
“The demise of this county has already happened.”
Absolutely; I’ve said for years that the demographic nightmare is here NOW, not 40 years down the road. In my area, Americans are disappearing and being replaced by Asians and Hispanics; pregnant whites are rarely seen, while nearly 1/3 of Hispanic females over 16 seem to be pregnant (and showing).
Neither party will defend Americans (even within their own constituencies); the Repubs selling out the white middle class has been matched by Dems selling out the black permanent underclass.
“...Americans are disappearing ....”
See my post#19. I was astounded by the Mexican children in this incubator house. I suppose I was niave because I knew about it intellectually per se, now I saw it in real life.
We are done. To quote you - the Dems have sold out to make the black the permanent underclass. The permanent dem plantation.
Lest I sound racist - look at the Irish not hired in the 20’s/30’s!!! Irish need not apply - not permanent victim statuS !!!
You nailed it. The article is OK, but it failed to mention the #1 reason why marriages are failing.
And that is the family is under attack by our government. From the divorce courts, from the welfare agencies, from the same-sex marriage laws, from the overturning of DOMA, and a thousand other laws, policies and regulations stemming back from the onset of the Great Society - Our government is dead-set on destroying the backbone of our culture; that is the family.
Sure there are a ton of cultural and social ills like pornography and the homosexual agenda. But none of these would be nearly effective as they are if it were not for a willing and powerful government.