Family Is Still Society's Bedrock
With all the hoopla over infectious disease, some truths never change.
Yes, there’s a pandemic of coronavirus (SARS-CoV2, a.k.a. COVID19) that began in China. Yes, there have been locusts descending on the crops of East Africans. Wars and rumors of war are here. Oh, let’s go all in with words written by the Apostle Paul to Timothy: “In the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
We’re living in times that are apocalyptic by definition. Yet, we can still make an impact and change course. Let’s look at one such place to make positive change — our approach to family.
“In the beginning…” That phrase to many acknowledges the creation of everything. That “everything” included the family — one man united to one woman for the purpose of stewardship of God’s creation.
Whether the politically correct or the culturally superior want to admit it or not, marriage and the nuclear family are cornerstones of a successful society and serve as a key pillar in civic strength. Yet, the very opposite has been taught and even propagated via militant indoctrination for the last 40 years. The data is available and it’s clear: Being married is best.
The Washington Examiner looked at the marriage crisis, citing the vast demographic shift away from matrimonial partnership. In 1960, almost 70% of adults were wed; only 50% are today. Back in 1978, 59% of young adults 18 to 34 years of age were married; today, only 29% are.
What impact has this made?
We have written extensively of the better health of children of married parents, but for the purpose of recent analysis, the economics of a married home drive the data points.
The Wall Street Journal recently featured a piece showing that “Affluent Americans Still Say ‘I Do.’ More in the Middle Class Don’t.” Of the highest U.S. earners in 2018, 60% were married and the poorest, or those whose incomes are below $25,000 annually, were the least likely to marry.
So, why not just cohabitate, you ask?
Looking again at the young adults, 25-34 years of age, the median wealth of those adults who were married in this age range is four times that of couples who live together in the same age group, according to research by the St. Louis Federal Reserve. Clearly, “for richer or for poorer” has new meaning when looking at the facts.
What’s contributing to the decline in marital vows over time?
Put simply, the narrative that being married infringes upon the freedom of one partner or the other has fueled the decline of value of marriage over the last four decades. The era of the Secular Trinity — Me, Myself, and I — values self and independence much more than collaboration within a core group willing to sacrifice, endure, and share in good times and in bad.
Add the empowerment angle that suggests one loses their identity and full purpose in a marriage to the fact that men who are underemployed — working in jobs that cannot sustain a family — are not only undesirable, they have no incentive to improve their station in life if there’s no pressure from a dependent family. Dependent in the sense that what one does impacts the other. But that type of thinking is so yesterday, right?
If a professional woman is seeking a life partner and her choices are too often the unmotivated male population satisfied with their status quo, unwilling to seek additional training for expanding employment beyond the entry-level job or career with no prospects for promotion, the lack of interest is understandable. This marital equation can easily be reconfigured with men just as selective. Nonetheless, parents play a role in encouraging their children to strive for personal educational attainment, a lifetime of learning while actively discussing the value of marriage. We may have missed a generation by giving into lies.
In 2005, the Journal of Sociology published a longitudinal study by Dr. Jay Zagorsky looking at 9,000 participants over 15 years — it’s considered the most comprehensive study on the economics of marriage. His report, Marriage and Divorce’s Impact on Wealth, illustrated a key point: married couples save more. The Ohio State study showed that married respondents experienced per-person net-worth increases of 77%.
No, marrying for money is not the goal. Yet making the decision to reject the falsehood that marriage is of fleeting significance in a high-tech, advanced society is an intellectually sound choice and one proven to benefit individuals, their families, our communities, and our culture.
Be smart. Be better positioned in life. Be married.