Here's an interesting article a reader sent me some time ago (thus proving I am still trying to catch up on past emails). It's about how marriage is a "dying" institution.
First of all, I would like to point out that the opinions of Hollywood actors/actresses very rarely reflect those of mainstream America. Let's face it, their lives (with few exceptions) are not normal.
Second, the person writing this article is a psychiatrist. In other words, his life's work is to fix (or declare unfixable) the problems of people who suffer, including those who suffer from broken marriages. Um, does this strike you as someone unbiased on the institute of marriage? If all he sees, day in and day out, are those who are unhappy in marriage, he's going to conclude that marriage does not lead to happiness.
He writes," As a healer, I can’t help looking askance at anything that depletes energy, optimism, mood and passion to the extent that marriage does. It is, without a doubt, one of the leading causes of major depression in the nation."
Okay, so then how do you explain people who ARE happily married? My folks have been married for 54 years and still hold hands. This couple was married 72 years and died holding hands. There are happily married couples everywhere -- if you open your eyes to see them.
Happiness in marriage stems from a number of things sorely lacking in today's society. Chastity until marriage has the amazing ability to keep one's vision clear about a prospective partner's qualities as well as faults. Nothing blinds someone more than lust. Common goals, common interests, common religious beliefs, and mutual respect for the other person are all contributing factors to a solid marriage.
But today's feel-good culture dictates wild living before marriage with no consideration about how that wild living can impact future stability in a marriage. Broken vows -- eh, who cares? It's just another "me first" behavior from a culture that supports "me first."
Obviously not all marriages deserved to be saved, but let's face it, the vast majority of people could avoid divorce by either (a) marrying the right person to begin with, and/or (b) treating their spouse as the treasure he or she is (instead of someone to nag or complain or nitpick to death).
This author points out one or two things I don't necessarily disagree with, but he draws the wrong conclusions. He ends by saying, "It’s only a matter of time now. Marriage will fade away. We should be thinking about what might replace it. We should come up with something that improves the quality of our lives and those of our children. And we should keep government out of it, if we know what’s good for us." [Emphasis added.]
Marriage has been around for literally thousands of years, since the dawn of civilized culture, and you want to replace it because a bunch of people in the last fifty years can't keep their vows? Huh?
Marriage itself is not a dying institution. Marriages may be dying because people no longer know how to choose the right partners, and no longer know how to keep vows... but the institution itself can and should live on. There is nothing -- nothing! -- that "improves the quality of our lives and those of our children" more than a secure and happy marriage. Nothing.
But I do agree we should keep government out of it.