Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Is There Hope for the American Marriage?"

I was more than a little surprised when I heard through our office grapevine that TIME Magazine’s cover story a few weeks ago was on marriage. Marriage? In the wake of affairs of such public figures, like Gov. Mark Sanford, I was pretty skeptical about what TIME would have to say about marriage, but I was definitely curious nonetheless. So I read it.

And I was pretty impressed. The author, Caitlin Flanagan, brought up several thought-provoking points. Here are a few of my favorites:

o “When children are born into a co-habiting, unmarried relationship . . . they arrive in a family in which the principals haven't resolved their most basic issues, including those of sexual fidelity and how to share responsibilities. Let a little stress enter the picture — and what is more stressful than a baby? — and things start to fall apart. The new mother starts to make wifelike demands on the man, and without the commitment of marriage, he is soon out the door.”

o “ . . . We want something like that for ourselves; we recognize that it is something of great worth, but we are increasingly less willing to put in the hard work and personal sacrifice to get there. . . A lasting marriage is the reward, usually, of hard work and self-sacrifice.”

o "The fundamental question we must ask ourselves at the beginning of the century is this: What is the purpose of marriage? Is it . . . simply an institution that has the capacity to increase the pleasure of the adults who enter into it? Or is marriage an institution that still hews to its old intention and function — to raise the next generation, to protect and teach it, to instill in it the habits of conduct and character that will ensure the generation's own safe passage into adulthood?”

You can access the entire article here:,8599,1908243-1,00.html

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