Is Marriage Becoming Obsolete?

There’s so much “social progress” going around these days it’s hard to keep track of it all. The latest news is that nearly 40% of Americans think that marriage is becoming obsolete. This opinion tracks with the rise in the percentage of children living in homes with one parent, unmarried parents, or homosexual couples.

High percentages of people say they have cohabited with a sexual partner prior to marriage. In my age bracket (30-49), it’s a majority. Over a third of people say that the “variety of family living arrangements” are good for society, a greater percentage than those who say they find this variety troubling.

We learn that the Census Bureau is going to expand its definition of “family” in the next go-around, thus achieving a goal the radicals have had at least since the late 1970s.

Here’s a modest prediction: a culture that abandons the social unit that has formed the basis of civilization for 5,000 years will run into some problems.

Thanks to my lovely (and definitely non-obsolete) wife for forwarding me this article.

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About Dr. J

I am an Associate Professor and head of the Department of Humanities at Faulkner University. I am also Associate Editor of the Journal of Faith and the Academy.
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One Response to Is Marriage Becoming Obsolete?

  1. Rachel Wishum says:

    I think it makes sense that a culture where fewer people are serious about Christianity would abandon marriage. I know that the numbers for divorce for Christians and non-Christians is supposed to be the same, but I don’t think that plays out when it comes to people who are active, faithful Christians versus those who are not. Perhaps it is only my experience, but when I simply look around at those who are in church with me all the time and who are active in the church life there, the number of people who are divorced is nowhere close to the 50% number that polling would suggest. Maybe my perception is off, but I think that the “Christian” number may be including a lot of people who are Christian in name, but who aren’t taking their faith all that seriously. (Not that I think faithful Christians never divorce- I have seen that’s not always true- but I don’t think it’s the epidemic those polls would suggest.) Those people who don’t have God’s guidance and help are, I think, finding out that marriage is painful or unsatisfying, so they think that it is no longer worth the trouble it takes to get in and get out again. I don’t actually blame them- I think that if I didn’t have God’s teaching, and if Russ and I weren’t regularly asking God to help us have a strong relationship, the selfishness that I come by naturally would eventually destroy our marriage. I don’t think I’m unique in that. I’ve been reading a book called, “What Did You Expect?” and its thesis is that the reason that there is trouble in marriage is because when you put two sinful, selfish people (the state of everyone who isn’t getting help from God) in a marriage together, you get conflict and pain. He says that while a lot of the “communication” and “meeting needs” stuff out there may be helpful, the one thing all married couples really need is to look to the Bible to help them deny their sinful nature, and to learn from God how to show mercy to their spouses, who are also sinners having to rely on God to help them become who they need to be.

    Point is, I think that our culture has failed to recognize that God created marriage, and because they haven’t listened to Him for instructions on how to run it, they have determined that it’s broken and doesn’t work, and so they don’t want anything to do with it anymore.

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