Green Room

‘Forbidding to Marry’ (Reply to Laura)

posted at 9:48 pm on April 22, 2009 by

Your post about Carrie Prejean and same-sex marriage contained this:

If you put something out with the trash . . . it’s not really yours anymore; you’ve relinquished your claim to it. And that’s exactly what we’ve done with marriage. We might as well let gays have it. We’re not using it. . . .
And for my fellow Christian conservatives: we haven’t got a moral leg to stand on. Our divorce rate is identical to the national average.

Well, to repeat the punchline of an old joke, “What do you mean, ‘we,’ Kemosabe?” As of next Monday, I will have been married to the same woman for 20 years. My lovely and long-suffering wife deserves almost all the credit for that achievement, of course, but I have at least been present for the occasion.

Most of what you have written about the marriage crisis is, of course, right on target, especially when you say that Christian churches “fail to create a culture of marriage in our youth and twenty-somethings.” But, as with your statistical generalization about the failure of “we,” I fear that you are missing the trees for the forest on this issue. What has happened, it seems to me, is that everybody’s sitting around moaning about “society” and “the culture,” rather than seeking to intervene directly and personally to make a difference in the lives of those closest to them.

For me, being pro-marriage, pro-family and pro-life is more than a political position. My wife and I have six kids ranging from age 5 to 19, and you can imagine how challenging this has been on a journalist’s pay. (Never mind a blogger‘s pay.) But as my late father advised me long ago, “Son, if you wait to have kids until you can afford to have kids, you’ll never have kids.”

‘TWO AND TIE ‘EM’
Christians believe that marriage is an institution ordained by God, and every marriage is thus blessed. However, in ordaining marriage, God commanded man to “be fruitful and multiply.”  This commandment has never been repealed or amended, no matter what any Malthusian population-control fanatic tries to tell you. One trend that has undermined marriage has been the rise of the Contraceptive Culture, which celebrates sterility as the norm and views fertility as a pathology requiring medical prevention.

How many Christians have embraced this false — dare I say, evil — worldview? How many young Christian married couples use contraception because “we can’t afford children now”? And how many married Christian couples have unwittingly subscribed to the Zero Population Growth ideal of exactly two children per couple? Did you know that surgical sterilization (tubal ligation) is the No. 1 form of birth control for American women? It’s the “two and tie ‘em” mentality: Have exactly two children, then get yourself surgically sterilized.

My wife and I encountered this mentality with our second pregnancy (our twin sons, who are now 16). During a prenatal examination, the obstetrician told my wife, “If you want me to perform a tubal at the time of delivery, it will be cheaper than if you want me to do it later, because the insurance will only have to pay for one hospitalization.” My wife came home in tears: “Am I an unfit mother? Why would he even suggest such a thing?” But millions of women across America not only accept such suggestions, they actively seek sterilization, viewing it as a liberation from the menace of pregnancy.

In this, many “Christian conservatives” seem entirely comfortable with being “conformed to this world,” slavishly following the secular trend. What one confronts is an attitude I call “middle classism”: The belief that the object of life is to accrue the symbols of middle-class status (college education, office job, new cars, home in the suburbs, vacation travel) and to ensure that one’s children accumulate the same symbols.

A SHOCKING CHOICE
Life without these symbols is deemed unworthy — “underprivileged” — and many parents who consider themselves Christian conservatives strongly caution their children against early marriage and early parenthood, since these are perceived as obstacles to obtaining middle-classness. If a 19-year-old returns from her freshman year at college to announce that she is a lesbian, her Christian conservative parents may not approve, but they will still love and cherish their child. Let the same 19-year-old announce that she’s marrying her boyfriend and dropping out of school to start a family, and this would drive her Christian conservative parents to the verge of suicidal grief: “You’re ruining your life!

What is the result of this attitude? I wrote about it a decade ago:

Fact: In 1960, the median age at first marriage for U.S. women was 20. Today, it´s 25. For men, the median age at first marriage has gone from 22 in 1960 to 27 today. Yet researchers report that the average young American today first has sexual intercourse at age 17 or 18.
Judging from these statistics, then, most young people in this country will be “sexually active” . . . for eight to 10 years before marrying. If that is true, what future can there be for the politics of “family values”? . . .
If young Americans are less likely to marry than Americans of a generation ago, they are also less likely to become parents.
Overall, U.S. fertility rates have declined by 43.6 percent since 1960 and like the marriage trends this decline is most pronounced among the young. The birth rate for women aged 20-24 decreased 56.5 percent between 1960 and 2000, according to the Census Bureau. For all the outcry over America´s “teen pregnancy crisis,” the teen birth rate is now 34.7 percent lower than it was in the final year of the Eisenhower administration.

This trend away from marriage and parenthood has not been opposed or condemned by Christian leaders, who are afraid to offend their congregations. Many evangelical Christians like to talk about “stepping out on faith,” even while they live an existence carefully calculated toward attainment of upwardly-mobile middle-classness. Thus, at noon on Sunday, they get into one of their 2.4 cars and drive home from their suburban mega-church to their cul-de-sac development, to their 4BR/5BA house with 1.7 children. And then they wonder why they don’t feel particularly “spiritual.”

Too many people who consider themselves Christian conservatives are disobedient to God’s commandments, yet idolatrously reverent toward the conventions of a middle-class lifestyle. Their true religion is the Theology of Niceness: Get a nice job so you can live in a nice neighborhood with nice schools for your nice children who will wear nice clothes when you drive them in your nice car to play with their nice friends. Everything all neat and tidy, you see? Hard for the Duggars and their 18 children to live nice like that. Yet they work hard and have faith in God, and somehow they don’t all starve to death.

Thou shalt go to college is the first commandment of middle-classness, and the lifestyle idolators don’t consider how this inflexible attitude contributes to the flourishing of adolescent fornication. It’s very good to tell young teens that they should save sex for marriage, but . . . well, how soon can they get married?

“Oh, you’ll have to go to college, start a career and become financially stable first.” And the 13- or 14-year-old does the math and thinks, “Twenty-five? 26? 27? You’re freaking kidding me! That’s like a zillion years in the future! I’ll be practically 30 by that time!” The prospect of an (honestly) white wedding being dangled off in the distant future has a profoundly demoralizing effect on kids. As a result, every church youth leader can tell you stories about the 17-year-old girl who got pregnant after her boyfriend convinced her that “it’s not wrong if we really love each other.” (It’s the oldest line in the book, girls.)

THE DEATH OF ROMANCE
This is why pop songs no longer feature promises of “endless love” and “always and forever.” In 1971, the protagonist of the Temptations’ hit “Just My Imagination” saw a beautiful girl walk past and dreamed:

Soon we’ll be married
And raise a family.
In a cozy little home out in the country
With two children, maybe three.

If such visions of wedded bliss occupy no part of the youthful imagination today, why not? Perhaps because children are indoctrinated to believe that marriage is strictly for grown-ups — heaven forbid an 18-year-old boy should get a job, marry his high-school sweetheart, and start their life together in a tiny little basement apartment. What about college? What about your career? What about the upwardly-mobile ambitions of middle-classness?

If this status idolatry isn’t anti-marriage, what is it? I’m reminded of the fourth chapter of Timothy:

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot ironForbidding to marry . . .

Myself, I try to actively encourage marriage for young people. I’m a relentless matchmaker, and as soon as I see young folks pairing up as boyfriend and girlfriend, I start asking, “When’s the wedding?” (And once they’re married, “When’s the baby due?”) Instead of sitting around waiting for somebody’s legislative agenda, I’m “pro-family” in the most direct, personal way possible.

If young Christian conservatives want to be “pro-family,” then, they need to be getting married and having babies. And what a youth rebellion that would be, huh? “No, mother, I’ve decided against law school. As a matter of fact, Jennifer and I went to the courthouse and got married last Saturday and . . .” Strange to say that the most shocking thing a young person can do in 2009 is to get married. They can change the world one “I do” at a time.

UPDATE: Is this a harmonic convergence or what? While I was writing this, it appears that Laura was updating her post to link my American Spectator column, “Marriage: A Hill to Die On.”

UPDATE II:In the comments at my blog, father-of-five Larry says:

I cannot count the number of times we have been unintentionally insulted by well meaning, self-identified Christians, asking if we know what causes that (pregnancy) . . .

To which I always answer, “Yes, and we’re very good at it.” That shuts ‘em up quick.

In the comments here, meanwhile, Feel of Shadows calls our attention to an article in First Things outlining the role of the decline of the family in the economic crisis:

America’s population has risen from 200 million to 300 million since 1970, while the total number of two-parent families with children is the same today as it was when Richard Nixon took office, at 25 million. In 1973, the United States had 36 million housing units with three or more bedrooms, not many more than the number of two-parent families with children—which means that the supply of family homes was roughly in line with the number of families. By 2005, the number of housing units with three or more bedrooms had doubled to 72 million, though America had the same number of two-parent families with children.
The number of two-parent families with children, the kind of household that requires and can afford a large home, has remained essentially stagnant since 1963, according to the Census Bureau. Between 1963 and 2005, to be sure, the total number of what the Census Bureau categorizes as families grew from 47 million to 77 million. But most of the increase is due to families without children, including what are sometimes rather strangely called “one-person families.”
In place of traditional two-parent families with children, America has seen enormous growth in one-parent families and childless families. The number of one-parent families with children has tripled. Dependent children formed half the U.S. population in 1960, and they add up to only 30 percent today. The dependent elderly doubled as a proportion of the population, from 15 percent in 1960 to 30 percent today.

BTW, we should not neglect to mention that, in myriad ways, government policies have incentivized the decline of the traditional family. Beginning in the 1960s, federal money paid for “family planning” services, numerous welfare programs that fostered unwed motherhood, and policies that tended to destroy the kinds of neighborhoods where young families once got their start.

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Comment pages: 1 2

What’s funny about that is I was googling to see if any churches had been sued for not renting their buildings for same sex ceremonies, and found a post at Riehl World View with a link to your article. Somehow I missed it when it was published. :-)

I don’t disagree with anything you’ve written here. On my site, I wrapped up a similar post with a somewhat more challenging/hopeful note:

If we want to “defend marriage,” that defense needs to begin within the church, and what we do will have far more impact on the culture than what we say. If we believe that marriage is a sacred institution we need to not just say so, but act so in order to be believed and to convince others that we are right. … These are views that a mere fifty years ago were considered entirely unremarkable. There is no telling what people will believe in another fifty years. But to a large extent, isn’t that up to us?

And I think in the long term, society will swing back to more conservative values and faith-wise, we’re going to experience a great revival like what’s happened in China. But in the meantime… I believe same sex marriage is inevitable. If for no other reason than that people don’t seem to see the connection between how they treat marriage and the concept that other people want to redefine it.

Laura on April 22, 2009 at 11:08 PM

I enjoyed reading this article.

You made some profound points.

Thank you.

ColtsFan on April 22, 2009 at 11:50 PM

Good grief.

somewhat more challenging/hopeful note:


than my post here earlier today…
Not more challenging or hopeful than your post. Sometime I’ll learn to proofread my comments and be careful to say what I mean instead of carelessly shortcutting it.

Laura on April 23, 2009 at 12:02 AM

Congrats on the twenty years! Sad that seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

Tio on April 23, 2009 at 12:14 AM

I believe same sex marriage is inevitable. If for no other reason than that people don’t seem to see the connection between how they treat marriage and the concept that other people want to redefine it.

It is important to remember, at dark moments like this, that when Whittaker Chambers left the Communist Party and became an anti-communist, he believed he was joining the losing side. But you see, Chambers’ book, Witness, inspired a guy named Ronald Reagan and . . .

At any rate, do not cease to hope so long as you’re in the fight. Men with less cause for hope have resisted more powerful evils, and triumphed.

The Other McCain on April 23, 2009 at 1:34 AM

Hope springs eternal. :-) But given the recent election and the changes just in the last 100 days, I’m not at all convinced we are the winning side of that battle either. It’s going pretty much like this guy called it twenty years ago, it’s just taking a good deal longer than people expected. Eh…I don’t want to harsh your mellow. I’m a pessimist these days wrt the immediate future. Long term, we’re going to be fine; history has a way of doing that. China, now turning to capitalism and with more Christians than members of the Communist party, is a great example. I just think things are going to get a good deal worse before they get better.

Laura on April 23, 2009 at 2:09 AM

Thank God I’m not the only one that thinks like this-more specifically, thank The Other McCain!!!!!!!!

scottm on April 23, 2009 at 6:12 AM

There are more divorces every year than there are gay marriages. pick your poison

nice343 on April 23, 2009 at 6:19 AM

Thank you for this post. I’m taking the plunge next month, and it’s been a lot of work and it does seem to be stepping out in faith, but I am thrilled.

I am a child of divorced parents and an evangelical and I can’t think of anything in the world that matters more to me than making my marriage work.

bcm4134 on April 23, 2009 at 7:03 AM

The very best writing – and its very rare indeed, especially on the Internet – both persuades the reader and provokes honest introspection.

It’s almost non-existent in cyber-space. Blog writing tends to neatly categorize, then demonize the opponent and preach to the choir. It rarely even tries to provoke real thought.

This piece was the exception. As I began reading, I was shaking my head at the premise – sure I’d be disagreeing with every word.

But now I find myself seriously considering the points raised, and wondering if some of my own choices aren’t the wrong ones.

Whatever conclusions I ultimately reach – well done. Impressive writing. It shows what the blogosphere could truly be capable of, if anyone tried.

Professor Blather on April 23, 2009 at 7:12 AM

Great Article. I enjoyed reading it. I am going on 16 years. It’s not always easy but we always make it past the rough spots.

Brat4life on April 23, 2009 at 7:35 AM

I hit 34 years on Sunday but I understand Laura’s point since I have three adult children with no trips down the aisle. Their attitude is dismissive.

Cindy Munford on April 23, 2009 at 7:37 AM

I’m a relentless matchmaker, and as soon as I see young folks pairing up as boyfriend and girlfriend, I start asking, “When’s the wedding?”

As a 22 year old who’s had the same sweetheart for 6 years now, let me personally say that the “when’s the wedding” bit gets tired quick :-)

ernesto on April 23, 2009 at 7:38 AM

Great article! My husband and I were just having a discussion last night about birth control and getting a vasectomy/tubes tied after having kids. I am very against it, and will be sending this link to him.

dagny on April 23, 2009 at 7:44 AM

ernesto on April 23, 2009 at 7:38 AM

When’s the wedding?

Al in St. Lou on April 23, 2009 at 7:55 AM

Going on 25 years, myself. I would like to propose a radical notion regarding government sanction of marriage. As you stated, marriage is a sacrament, established by God. That is true in every religion that I know of. Ratification of marriage by the government seems to be a violation of the separation of church and state. I think that ALL domestic unions should be legally “civil unions” under the law. Whether or not it is considered a “marriage” should be a matter decided by the church, or mosque, etc. All civil unions should be subject to the same legal responsibilities and privileges that are attached to legal marriage today. I want the government to recognize things like my next of kin in estate matters, but I do not need the government to sanction my marriage. By the same token, I do not begrudge my gay neighbors the right to establish responsibilities and privileges under the law, but only their church can decide if they are married. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, render unto God what is His.

Navig8r on April 23, 2009 at 7:55 AM

Wasn’t the joke “what do you mean ‘we’, pale face?”

Darth Executor on April 23, 2009 at 8:08 AM

You hit on a point that the government probably can’t address, and shouldn’t. However, one that families and churches can. The materialism required for children to even keep pace with their parents’ standard of living can require college, grad school and then 80-hour work weeks easily taking a person into their 30′s, before marriage is a consideration. Many women are having their first child at an age where fertility becomes a question and birth defects statistically more likely.

Families and churches can help by supporting values that go beyond what type of car you drive, which college are you kids attending, what zip code do you live in, where do you vacation. Providing a community where spiritual values are celebrated in this world can provide people a welcome relief from the religion of materialism. However, it is likely that Christians need to promote these values in the market place of ideas more than in the realm of government legislation.

dedalus on April 23, 2009 at 8:20 AM

Feminism killed marriage.

Men don’t need it to get sex anymore.

The laws prevent men from leaving a bad marriage without losing his livelihood and kids.

Way to go, feminists!

spec_ops_mateo on April 23, 2009 at 8:31 AM

Congrats on the marriage and the kids. Having six would be fun, but me and the wife were glad to stop at three.

I concur on the long suffering spouse keeping it going. Same is true for me.

Mr. Joe on April 23, 2009 at 8:53 AM

My husband and I married at 19. Both of our families thought we would last 6 months. We lived in an awful all bills paid apartment and drove the most horrendous cars. In September we will be married 16 years and are living a comfortable middle class life with three kids. We knew that we wanted each other and nothing else mattered. We both still feel the same way.

TXMomof3 on April 23, 2009 at 8:57 AM

Great piece… Fits very nicely with an essay in the current issue of First Things on the causes of the economic crisis.

FeetOfShadows on April 23, 2009 at 8:59 AM

I got married at the age of 21, and during my year-long engagement I got so many comments from people telling me I was too young, that I hadn’t begun to live my life yet etc. My response was “I’m not interested in sleeping around, partying, and getting drunk on the weekends,(which seems to be how most of those people defined their 20s), being married and having a family IS how I want to live my life.”

They’d just shake their heads at my cluelessness. But I’ve been married for four years with a baby on the way, and I couldn’t be more content. :)

alathia on April 23, 2009 at 9:01 AM

My husband and I were married at 21. We had both been in the military for a few years, and out of a group of about 30 friends roughly our age, we were the second couple to get married. It’s crazy to think that while we celebrated our 5th anniversary, my maid of honor has yet to even begin to date regularly, putting her career ahead of any family life she might want.

What galls me is the anti-child atmosphere nowadays. We have 3 kids (including a set of twins), and we’d love to have another. We aren’t really in a position to have another right this minute, but the door is not shut. However, mention this to my (devout Lutheran) in-laws, and they rant about how they’ll kill my husband if I get pregnant, and how they don’t ‘need’ any more grandchildren. We even hear from other members of their church about how we’re too young to have so many kids – how are we going to pay for college/cars/etc for not only them, but for ourselves. We’re 26/27! How is that too young? There are only so many times that I can retort with “We’re old enough/it’s our family/you can take out loans for college, but not for retirement!” before I have to run to the bathroom to cry.

I come at this from a non-religious angle – although I understand where you’re coming from (and agree). There is a dangerous mentality among young people today – everything centers around their personal gratification. Now, I know Tim and I are different, with our military background, but I’ve learned some basic lessons that are applicable to others our age. It is possible to get married/have children at a young age and be able to attend school/work/achieve life goals. It takes a bit of work, patience, some serious soul searching, and sacrifice – something most young people abhor. Can’t go out clubbing all night when you have a job and small children at home (unless you live off adrenaline!). We all need to work together to teach our children that material possessions and disposable income do not bring happiness, and that there are many routes to personal success, college only being one of them.

I didn’t mean to rant, but as someone who has gotten a lot of flak for being married at my age, it’s something I have a bit of an opinion on. :)

Anna on April 23, 2009 at 9:10 AM

When’s the wedding?

Al in St. Lou on April 23, 2009 at 7:55 AM

I suppose if theres not a ring on her finger she’ll get fed up so probably in a year or two ;-)

ernesto on April 23, 2009 at 9:11 AM

Hey HA writers and commentators,

Go ahead and make the republican plank pro-gay, and while you’re at it, pro-abortion.

I promise you the conservative christians will no longer vote for you at all, and you’ll never win the election again. You guys don’t get it. You can’t motivate people who have biblical beliefs just by things regarding money. I can tell you I know tons upon tons of people that you will lose in future elections.

So please, continue the ed morrisey nonsense(which he got from someone else) of taking the government out of marriage, or being pro-gay marriage, etc.

Have fun with your nominal party.

TTheoLogan on April 23, 2009 at 9:12 AM

And for my fellow Christian conservatives: we haven’t got a moral leg to stand on. Our divorce rate is identical to the national average.–Laura

Millions of folks who don’t follow Jesus call themselves Christians.
Better studies show that couples who pray together daily are much less likely to divorce. Ditto for couples who serve in church ministry together. BTW, my wife & I do both.

jgapinoy on April 23, 2009 at 9:14 AM

God commanded man to “be fruitful and multiply.” This commandment has never been repealed or amended

And we obeyed it, there are more than six billion people here now. So what’s the problem?

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry . . .

St. Paul also said this:

27Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. I Corinthians 7:27

God is neither in favor of, or opposed to, someone getting married.

Bobbertsan on April 23, 2009 at 9:25 AM

TTheoLogan on April 23, 2009 at 9:12 AM

There’s nothing about the nature of American government that need be anti-gay. While I will no longer argue with those who appose abortion (though most don’t have the stomach to take opposition to abortion to its logical conclusion), the gay issue really has very little to do with federal government or even state government given the principle of incorporation. Government is not a cultural enforcer, and in the lamentable event it is forced to be such an enforcer, all American citizens must be given its equal protection.

Period.

If government is a steward of the cultural tradition of marriage, then it must provide equal protection to each citizen. If government writes laws that distinguish between married and unmarried couples in terms of tax filing, adoption, estate planning, whatever, it must provide equal protection to all.

So sure, insist upon religious or cultural principles as the bedrock of your governing philosophy, but its a double edged sword.

ernesto on April 23, 2009 at 9:35 AM

Good article. You’ve given me a lot to think about as my husband and I (almost 16 years) raise our three kids.

NebCon on April 23, 2009 at 9:40 AM

As a 22 year old who’s had the same sweetheart for 6 years now, let me personally say that the “when’s the wedding” bit gets tired quick

You know how to end it? Get married!

The Other McCain on April 23, 2009 at 9:44 AM

Anna, I appreciate your comment, which I quoted at my own blog. The “how will you pay for college” question is meant to be the ultimate “gotcha.” My daughter’s working her way through college. Next question?

The Other McCain on April 23, 2009 at 10:02 AM

You know how to end it? Get married!

The Other McCain on April 23, 2009 at 9:44 AM

I was a gypsy in a past life, I’ve got to get over the urge to roam and be free first.

ernesto on April 23, 2009 at 10:05 AM

The Other McCain on April 23, 2009 at 10:02 AM

Thank you. And yes, that college thing irks me. I managed to graduate valedictorian of my class at a trade school, while juggling his job, my class, and three kids – it wasn’t easy, but it made me appreciate what I accomplished even more.

I’m still shocked someone read my post! :)

Anna on April 23, 2009 at 10:11 AM

ernesto on April 23, 2009 at 10:05 AM

Posting on a backwater website with a bunch of beta males and lonely housewives isn’t exactly “roaming free”.

Darth Executor on April 23, 2009 at 10:17 AM

God is neither in favor of, or opposed to, someone getting married.

Bobbertsan on April 23, 2009 at 9:25 AM

You’re technically correct, but missing the forest for the trees. Paul’s context is that the unmarried will be unencumbered to carry out ministry, serve others, etc. He didn’t say “don’t get married so you can party more.”

cs89 on April 23, 2009 at 10:18 AM

Overall, I think people have the right to make their own choices. The cultural pressure alluded to is very real. Most people we work with and know are pretty positive about our large family, but it’s certainly remarked upon as out of the ordinary.

“Don’t you know what causes that?”

Obviously.

cs89 on April 23, 2009 at 10:20 AM

Posting on a backwater website with a bunch of beta males and lonely housewives isn’t exactly “roaming free”.

Darth Executor on April 23, 2009 at 10:17 AM

Eh, I can’t get paid to play guitar and wax eloquent about society now can i? So work I must. That my job affords me both sustaining funds and the time to wax not so eloquent about society with beta males and lonely housewives is about all that keeps me sane :-)

That and I was being a bit facetious. While I have gypsy blood and a strong affinity for Flamenco, my wandering involves mainly just Manhattan and pondering whether I’d be happy married.

ernesto on April 23, 2009 at 10:23 AM

Very eloquent piece, and great comments as well. Thank you Mr. McCain and HA readers.

RushBaby on April 23, 2009 at 10:30 AM

Feminism killed marriage.

Men don’t need it to get sex anymore.

The laws prevent men from leaving a bad marriage without losing his livelihood and kids.

Way to go, feminists!

spec_ops_mateo on April 23, 2009 at 8:31 AM

Bingo.
No fault divorce helped RUIN the social fabric of our country.
There’s no such thing as ‘no-fault’ when it comes to getting a divorce. It’s always somebody’s fault.
Sometimes its both.
I was married at 18 & had my child at 19.
7 years later I was divorced bcs I got real tired of my husband finding his company with other women, which he found no problem with.
I would still be married to the putz if he’d been able to pull his head out of his a$$ bcs I was committed to the marriage & my family.
My husband now of almost 10yrs was the victim of ‘no fault’ divorce when his wife of 9 yrs up & left bcs she ‘didn’t love’ him anymore. Then to justify herself, she made up all sorts of stories how he abused her & so on.
We need to bring back the ‘fault’ in divorce.
Fewer people would be doing it if there were consequences.

Badger40 on April 23, 2009 at 10:31 AM

pondering whether I’d be happy married.

ernesto on April 23, 2009 at 10:23 AM

If you are an extrovert who gains energy from the presence of other people, and your intended spouse in particular, your chances of happiness in marriage are good. If children delight you, your chances are great.

If you replenish your energy from solitude, you might find yourself feeling smothered.

RushBaby on April 23, 2009 at 10:41 AM

Thou shalt go to college is the first commandment of middle-classness, and the lifestyle idolators don’t consider how this inflexible attitude contributes to the flourishing of adolescent fornication. It’s very good to tell young teens that they should save sex for marriage, but . . . well, how soon can they get married?
“Oh, you’ll have to go to college, start a career and become financially stable first.”

So we should encourage kids to marry and have children young, something that would make it EVEN HARDER for working class kids to go to and finish college, in order to prevent fornication?? Statistics show that one in three of any such marriages will end in divorce and, if you have your way, children in broken homes. What great thinking.

Infidoll on April 23, 2009 at 10:42 AM

If you are an extrovert who gains energy from the presence of other people, and your intended spouse in particular, your chances of happiness in marriage are good. If children delight you, your chances are great.

If you replenish your energy from solitude, you might find yourself feeling smothered.

RushBaby on April 23, 2009 at 10:41 AM

Well thats me. I value my solitude greatly, and honestly never felt any particular joy in being around a child. That said, i find women irresistible. Up until they wanna start showing me off their families and getting serious. Then they arent so irresistible.

ernesto on April 23, 2009 at 10:52 AM

Anna on April 23, 2009 at 10:11 AM

Anna, I read every word of your post, and admire you greatly.

Maggie45 on April 23, 2009 at 11:06 AM

Well thats me. I value my solitude greatly, and honestly never felt any particular joy in being around a child.

ernesto on April 23, 2009 at 10:52 AM

I suspected as much. I’m the same way. I inflict a lot of pain on my spouse because of I can go for days without seeing another soul or uttering a single word. I wish I had considered that before I got married.

Tolerance and love keeps us together though (nine years now). I found a person secure enough to bear it, and loving enough to indulge it.

RushBaby on April 23, 2009 at 11:20 AM

I got married at 19, hubby was 20. We are now going on 18 years next month. It definitely wasn’t easy, either. But well worth it. We have 2 kids, ages 15.5 and 13, and though this post is about how people stop at 2 kids, I am soo thankful that I was born in a time with birth control!! LOL. I hated being pregnant, hurt way too much (and I’m not talking about the birth, I’m talking about the entire pregnancy.) Glad I’m not doing it again, though there are times I wish I had one more.

StephC on April 23, 2009 at 1:21 PM

If you are an extrovert who gains energy from the presence of other people, and your intended spouse in particular, your chances of happiness in marriage are good. If children delight you, your chances are great.

It’s a nature/nuture thing, isn’t it? I think being raised in a married-family household, with lots of siblings and close ties to extended family, free time to roam and play, tends to instill a pro-family attitude. Whereas the more common contemporary environment of childhood — single-parent households, or two-career families with 1.7 children in the isolation of the suburban cul-de-sac — tends to produce either loners, or else people who are very peer-oriented.

The Other McCain on April 23, 2009 at 1:38 PM

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