The Decline of Traditional Marriage (Abort. mentioned)

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The Decline of Traditional Marriage (Abort. mentioned)

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/opinion/sunday/douthat-more-imperfect-unions.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

The columnist argues that some of the primary causes of the decline of traditional marriage are:

1. Conservative policies that have led to higher imprisonment rates for poor men
2. Conservative policies that have led to lower job stability and income potential for poor men (making women less likely to want to marry them)
3. Liberal policies (or attitudes maybe?) that have led to an over all decline in morality
4. Liberal policies on abortion (presumably because now there is less need/call for shotgun weddings?)
5. Liberal policies on divorce (specifically, allowing no-fault divorce.)

Strangely, no mention of gay marriage which we all know is the Black Death to traditional marriage! (I kid the Conservatives! I kid! :p)

Do you agree with these? Also, assuming you do agree with them, what do you think the solution should be, or is there a solution? For example, I think about getting rid of no-fault divorce, and my thought is "So you want to keep people married to each other who don't want to be married to each other? I'm not sure that's a good a solution.")

Any other thoughts?

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Well, of course I agree with 1 and 2, just as Ross Douthat knew I would (tricksy Conservative, always one step ahead! ;)) I don't even know if it's about "What woman would want to marry this guy" as it is about resources to do so, but I'm not going to argue his over all premise there.

3. Maybe. I'm trying to think of a show that normalizes adultery, for example, or glamorizes single parenthood. I can't think of any off of the top of my head, but that doesn't mean that they don't exist. Certainly plenty of shows normalize and/or glamourize sex outside of marriage, but my thoughts on whether that is a bad thing are more nuanced than just "yes good" or "no bad." I agree with the author's premise that married people or people in long term committed relationships tend to be better off financially. That just makes sense - two adults pooling their resources have an easier time than one. On the other hand, studies show that when people get married young, they are actually MORE likely to get divorced. So if the alternative to showing young sexy people out hooking up with a bunch of people is showing young sexy people getting married to each other...I don't know if that will actually fix the divorce rate. On the other hand, I feel like a lot of these shows don't deal in a very realistic way with the real consequences of having a bunch of unmarried sex. If someone experiences an unwanted pregnancy from it, it's probably a "very special episode" and I can't think of Barney from How I Met Your Mother ever mentioning getting an STD. So certainly the pop culture treatment of sexuality is seriously flawed - I just don't know that swinging it too far the other way would fix the divorce rate.

4. As Ross pointed out, as a liberal I am not a super fan of getting rid of abortion in order to save the marriage rate. From a practical stand point, if a relationship is not at the point where the participants want to get married anyway, adding the stress of a baby doesn't necessarily seem like it would increase relationship satisfaction or make people want to stay together. I remember reading somewhere that money and child rearing are two of the top reasons that married people fight, so adding an unplanned (and potentially unwanted, sad to say, if the mother would have otherwise sought an abortion) baby to a potentially already unstable relationship just doesn't sound like a good solution to me. Having said that, I do think that we need to encourage men to stay in their children's lives (and for women to let them!) regardless of whether they are married to the mother. Beyond that though, I don't know what kind of practical changes we make to make this happen. From a policy stand point, I'm not even sure that at this point outlawing abortion would actually mean that more people get married any more. I suspect that cultural ship has sailed, and that it would just mean more children born to unwed mothers.

5. I get what he is saying here, I actually do. I think it's a valid point that when you make divorce an "easy" option, perhaps people keep it in the back of their heads that if things don't work out they can always just get a divorce, and that makes it that much easier to enter into marriage more flippantly, and to also work less hard to fix problems. My husband and I actually have a rule that we agreed on early in our marriage that neither one of us will ever ever mention or bring up divorce unless we really plan on doing it (getting a divorce) because we don't even want that to be a part of the conversation. In our relationship, divorce is just not even on the table. I mean, I guess it would be if it absolutely absolutely had to be, but for all intents and purposes, it's not. And I do think that having that be an unthinkable non-option is a good thing for our marriage and for our chances of making the long haul. So to a certain extent, I agree with him. But having said all of that, I don't think that the answer is having the government step in and force people to stay married who don't want to be married. I mean, talk about big intrusive government!!! I think we need a cultural shift which maybe does relate to #3, but I'm not sure how to get there.

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What's the problem with the decline of "traditional marriage"? Was that something to strive for to begin with? I'm not so sure about that, and I'm personally pretty glad to see that we are no longer pushing people into marriage because they had the bad luck of falling pregnant together. (I think a lot of women would do better by choosing the father of their children more carefully, but whether they are married or not doesn't change that either way.) We are no longer expecting people who hate one another to stay together "for the children," and that's fine because that was never good for the kids anyway. We no longer expect men to be the breadwinners and women to stay home, so who cares if a man earns less; he can marry a woman who makes more! We are no longer shaming people who live together for a while before getting married, and that's great because it's far easier to move out on someone you aren't good with before you've legally entwined your lives. I don't see any of those things to be a negative thing or a reason to mourn the supposed loss of traditional marriage. I actually think it strengthens the concept of marriage when we see the ones happening, staying together.

As for the conservative policies leading to a higher imprisonment rate for poor men, that's more of an overall problem with our legal and justice systems than it has to do with marriage. I'll concede that it's probably easier to find & marry a nice girl when you aren't in prison, but I have a feeling that many of the men who end up behind bars from being poor are already married, or at least already in an established family group. Them going to prison tends to break up families, not prevent their occurence in the first place.

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If you read the article, the starting premise (which I agree with) is that marriage is a strong predictor (both for the parents and then for their children as well) of income mobility. In other words, people (and their children) are more likely to stay poor if they are not married. I would add to that that you can probably get most of the same benefit from a long term committed cohabitation without the official peice of paper, but the general premise seems sound to me. When we are talking about people living and staying below the povety (which is disproportionately women and children BTW) it makes sense to me to look at all of the factors, including the social factors involved. To me, it makes sense to point out that two adults pooling their resources have an easier time than one adult. Having said that, my thought is not how do we FORCE people to get and stay married, but maybe how do we encourage them to want to get and stay married or at least in a long term committed relationship. You're absolutely right about the fact that part of it needs to be about picking their partners and their co-parents more carefully. Maybe easy access to birth control is part of it, then?

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

Strangely, no mention of gay marriage which we all know is the Black Death to traditional marriage! (I kid the Conservatives! I kid! :p)

That falls under number 3

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

3. Liberal policies (or attitudes maybe?) that have led to an over all decline in morality

Which I believe is the root of all the rest.

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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

That falls under number 3Which I believe is the root of all the rest.

Can you be more specific? I'm geniunely trying to peice out how I think the social and legal aspects interplay with the practical outcomes of less marriage and decreased financial mobility, so I would like to hear some specific thoughts on what you think is at play here other than just liberals are immoral. Like specifically, what immoral things are happening and specifically how does that relate to the decline of marriage? Like I gave the example of TV shows not showing an accurate representation of the consequences of "sleeping around" which could potentially normalize and glamourize sleeping around instead of settling down. Do you agree with that one? Do you have others in mind? Things like that. Also, do you have any practical ideas for reversing these trends? For example, do you want the government to step in and enforce laws about not showing single people hooking up on TV? If so, what are your thoughts on the way that impacts Freedom of Expression? Things like that, please. :)ETA: As another example, if you want to say specifically that gay marriage is contributing to the decline of marriage over all, can you please explain specifically how? Like what mechanism is causing it. "People see gay people getting married and therefore they..... which causes them to get married in lower numbers because.....and get divorced in higher numbers because......"

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Yeah, sorry, I didn't read it. I seem to have exceeded my number of "free reads" on that site, which boggles my mind since I don't recall reading much on the NYT this month.

I'm not sure I agree with the premise that people, and therefore their children, are more likely to stay poor if they are not married. I would agree with that only if children are involved, or when children become involved. Single people and childless couples are generally far more wealthy, per capita, than people with children. And people generally take a hit to their finances when they have children, but that's irregardless of marriage; that's because kids are negative income -- they not only don't bring in money, they cost you money. It sounds like this guy is trying to tie income to marriage, when it's really income tied to children.

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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

That falls under number 3

Which I believe is the root of all the rest.

The problem with #3 is, whose morality are we judging it all with? Yours? Mine? Alissa's? One's own morality is for every person to decide for himself.

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"Spacers" wrote:

Yeah, sorry, I didn't read it. I seem to have exceeded my number of "free reads" on that site, which boggles my mind since I don't recall reading much on the NYT this month.

I'm not sure I agree with the premise that people, and therefore their children, are more likely to stay poor if they are not married. I would agree with that only if children are involved, or when children become involved. Single people and childless couples are generally far more wealthy, per capita, than people with children. And people generally take a hit to their finances when they have children, but that's irregardless of marriage; that's because kids are negative income -- they not only don't bring in money, they cost you money. It sounds like this guy is trying to tie income to marriage, when it's really income tied to children.

I may not have stated it exactly right. He is quoting a study done by Harvard, but the study looks at the mobility of the children more so than the parents. Please tell me you can read Slate? Smile

New Harvard study, “Where is the Land of Opportunity,” finds single parents are the key link to economic opportunity.

The study, “Where is the Land of Opportunity?: The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States,” authored by Harvard economist Raj Chetty and colleagues from Harvard and Berkeley, explores the community characteristics most likely to predict mobility for lower-income children. The study specifically focuses on two outcomes: absolute mobility for lower-income children—that is, how far up the income ladder they move as adults; and relative mobility—that is, how far apart children who grew up rich and poor in the same community end up on the economic ladder as adults. When it comes to these measures of upward mobility in America, the new Harvard study asks: Which “factors are the strongest predictors of upward mobility in multiple variable regressions”?

1) Family structure. Of all the factors most predictive of economic mobility in America, one factor clearly stands out in their study: family structure. By their reckoning, when it comes to mobility, “the strongest and most robust predictor is the fraction of children with single parents.” They find that children raised in communities with high percentages of single mothers are significantly less likely to experience absolute and relative mobility. Moreover, “

hildren of married parents also have higher rates of upward mobility if they live in communities with fewer single parents.” In other words, as the figure below indicates, it looks like a married village is more likely to raise the economic prospects of a poor child.

What makes this finding particularly significant is that this is the first major study showing that rates of single parenthood at the community level are linked to children’s economic opportunities over the course of their lives. A lot of research—including new research from the Brookings Institution—has shown us that kids are more likely to climb the income ladder when they are raised by two, married parents. But this is the first study to show that lower-income kids from both single- and married-parent families are more likely to succeed if they hail from a community with lots of two-parent families.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

Can you be more specific? I'm geniunely trying to peice out how I think the social and legal aspects interplay with the practical outcomes of less marriage and decreased financial mobility, so I would like to hear some specific thoughts on what you think is at play here other than just liberals are immoral. Like specifically, what immoral things are happening and specifically how does that relate to the decline of marriage? Like I gave the example of TV shows not showing an accurate representation of the consequences of "sleeping around" which could potentially normalize and glamourize sleeping around instead of settling down. Do you agree with that one? Do you have others in mind? Things like that. Also, do you have any practical ideas for reversing these trends? For example, do you want the government to step in and enforce laws about not showing single people hooking up on TV? If so, what are your thoughts on the way that impacts Freedom of Expression? Things like that, please. :)ETA: As another example, if you want to say specifically that gay marriage is contributing to the decline of marriage over all, can you please explain specifically how? Like what mechanism is causing it. "People see gay people getting married and therefore they..... which causes them to get married in lower numbers because.....and get divorced in higher numbers because......"

I wish I knew the answer of how to return morality to social norms. I think until people return to a belief that there is an absolute truth things will continue to decline. It's all about relativism. If there is no absolute than what is right or wrong is determined by whatever is acceptable in society at the time.

Ethical Relativism | Absolute Etchics | Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry

As far as divorce I think it is interesting that the rate of divorce for Christians correlates not just with being a Christian, but on how dedicated they are and how much they actually attend church services. It is easy to say you are a Christian but those who actually practice their beliefs are less likely to divorce.

Christian Divorce Statistics of various groups |

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"Spacers" wrote:

The problem with #3 is, whose morality are we judging it all with? Yours? Mine? Alissa's? One's own morality is for every person to decide for himself.

IMO that is the problem. Morality shouldn't be based on what a person decides for him/herself it should come from God. If each person decides their own morality than nothing is sacred, which is why moral values in this country are on the decline. If according to my morality divorce/cheating/swinging is all ok then it can only go downhill from there because who is going to stand up and say those things are wrong? If things are only right or wrong based on the perception of the person doing the action nothing will ever be wrong.

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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

As far as divorce I think it is interesting that the rate of divorce for Christians correlates not just with being a Christian, but on how dedicated they are and how much they actually attend church services. It is easy to say you are a Christian but those who actually practice their beliefs are less likely to divorce.

Or you could it around, to what I think is the real truth: people who do happen to get divorced for whatever reason, even for some very good reasons like spousal abuse, stop going to church because they no longer feel welcomed. I certainly seen that a number of times IRL.
And a different researcher, one who has written dozens of books about faith & family, found that the difference between those who claim to be atheist or agnostic (30%) and those who claim to be born-again christian (32% aggregate of evangelical & non-evangelical) is just 2% which is within the 3% margin of error for the study. So atheists are either less likely, or equally likely, to divorce as born-again christians.
https://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/15-familykids/42-new-marriage-and-divorce-statistics-released

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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

IMO that is the problem. Morality shouldn't be based on what a person decides for him/herself it should come from God. If each person decides their own morality than nothing is sacred, which is why moral values in this country are on the decline. If according to my morality divorce/cheating/swinging is all ok then it can only go downhill from there because who is going to stand up and say those things are wrong? If things are only right or wrong based on the perception of the person doing the action nothing will ever be wrong.

So anyone who doesn't believe in your god is immoral? Why is society going to go downhill if consenting adults choose to allow swinging into their marriage or choose to divorce if they can't make it work? If it's OK with both of them, then what does it matter to you? The point should not to be to adhere to someone else's sense of right & wrong, but to your own. If your sense of right & wrong comes from your god, good for you. Mine does not and I would not want to live my life as you choose to, and I think I'm a pretty moral person even so because I do adhere to my set of morals. And that's why I didn't date anyone who identified as a christian, because that's not where my morality lies.

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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

IMO that is the problem. Morality shouldn't be based on what a person decides for him/herself it should come from God. If each person decides their own morality than nothing is sacred, which is why moral values in this country are on the decline. If according to my morality divorce/cheating/swinging is all ok then it can only go downhill from there because who is going to stand up and say those things are wrong? If things are only right or wrong based on the perception of the person doing the action nothing will ever be wrong.

So we should live in a country with morality dictated by one specific religion? (And that should be yours, I assume.)

Yikes. I thought that was one of the great things about America, that we DON'T think everyone should follow one religion.

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I do think it's interesting that atheist/agnostics have the lowest rates of divorce, although I don't necessarily think that it's because we're more "moral" than anyone else. Incidentally, I don't think that divorce is "immoral" or that not getting married is "immoral" either - but as I stated above I do think that marriage or at least a long term committed partner is, for most people, probably the best case scenario for having a happy and stable (and financially stable) life. That doesn't mean that you can't have a happy and stable life without it, just that it seems to me to be the model that works for the most amount of people, assuming that they find the right partner.

I can't remember where, but I read an article somewhere about how Christian institutions actually undermine the likelihood of long term success in marriage. It was stuff like encouraging people to marry younger and have more kids and more kids younger which carries a higher incidence of divorce.

I kind of assume that atheists are also less likely to get married in the first place (we're not opposed to living together after all) so if we make it through the trial run of living together and decide to get married, it must be legit. We're also much less likely to be opposed to birth control, which probably means that our pregnancies are more often planned.

I'm obviously uninterested in a country-wide definition of morality that comes specifically from Gloria's (or any person's) interpretation of God. I like my religious freedom too much for all of that.

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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

So we should live in a country with morality dictated by one specific religion? (And that should be yours, I assume.)

Yikes. I thought that was one of the great things about America, that we DON'T think everyone should follow one religion.

The question was asked why I think traditional marriage is declining. YES I absolutely think that Christianity plays a big part in morality and whether people stay married or not. What does that have to do with the country being dictated by one specific religion? A large majority of Americans identify as Christian so of course that plays a part in the morals of this country, and if you don't think that Christianity played a part in the history of ideals of this country you are deluding yourself. Christianity isn't the ONLY way to develop morals, but it did influence how morals developed in this country. And yes IMO the further Americans drift away from Christianity the more moral standards in this country will decrease. You don't have to agree with me but that is absolutely what I believe.

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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

The question was asked why I think traditional marriage is declining. YES I absolutely think that Christianity plays a big part in morality and whether people stay married or not. What does that have to do with the country being dictated by one specific religion? A large majority of Americans identify as Christian so of course that plays a part in the morals of this country, and if you don't think that Christianity played a part in the history of ideals of this country you are deluding yourself. Christianity isn't the ONLY way to develop morals, but it did influence how morals developed in this country. And yes IMO the further Americans drift away from Christianity the more moral standards in this country will decrease. You don't have to agree with me but that is absolutely what I believe.

I don't know where you got ALL of that from my statement. I was responding to this:

Morality shouldn't be based on what a person decides for him/herself it should come from God.

I know a whole lot of Christians who don't actually share your morality about many issues, so it's a lot more complex than you say.

I didn't say Christianity has no influence or no history or no followers. I don't know why you think I did.

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"Spacers" wrote:

So anyone who doesn't believe in your god is immoral? Why is society going to go downhill if consenting adults choose to allow swinging into their marriage or choose to divorce if they can't make it work? If it's OK with both of them, then what does it matter to you? The point should not to be to adhere to someone else's sense of right & wrong, but to your own. If your sense of right & wrong comes from your god, good for you. Mine does not and I would not want to live my life as you choose to, and I think I'm a pretty moral person even so because I do adhere to my set of morals. And that's why I didn't date anyone who identified as a christian, because that's not where my morality lies.

If you don't think those things are immoral than good for you. If morality is based on each person than we really shouldn't be surprised when things go downhill, because there is no right and wrong, just whatever feels good to you.

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In fairness, I don't know how many people define "morality" as "whatever feels good." Obviously you define it as what you interpret God wants. I personally interpret it on a system that is more like "Who does this help?" (helping is often, but not always, moral) and "Who does this hurt?" (hurting is often, but not always, immoral.) I think most systems of morality derive from something more than just "if it feels good do it." Now, people don't always do what even they believe is the moral thing to do. Witness all of the Christians in jail. But just because you do the wrong thing doesn't mean that you don't think it's wrong. People are complicated like that.

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This is not a debate I really want to get tied up in, but I did want to through something out there about the marriage/devorce rates amung Athiests/Christians.

A large amount of Athiests do not get married, they just live together or only get married after living together for many years. If you were to take the piece of paper out of the equation and just determine the amount of stable long term relationships I think you would find much different statistics.

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Bonita, I agree that atheists are more likely to live together first and if we are going to break up, to break up in that stage. I see that as a positive thing, as I think that divorce is likely more disruptive than moving out, depending on how you handle living togehter in the first place. I can only speak anecdotally, but I lived with someone else for three years (never inspired to get married) before I was with DH. I am so very grateful that I never married him and did not have to divorce him. Not just for the social stigma of divorce because I don't really care about that, but because since we had always kept our finances separate and our reliance on birth control meant no children, our breakup was relatively straight forward. He kept his stuff, I kept mine, it was done in a couple of days with a minimum of arguing over the actual mechanics of the break up. I see that as a good thing. If DH and I divorced, it would be so much more complicated because our lives are so very intertwined. Part of that comes with time (we've been together almost 11 years as opposed to my 3 with the other guy) but it also comes by design. We decided to buy a house together after marriage, have kids together after marriage, have the same bank accounts and credit card accounts after marriage, et cetera. We purposefully did those things after we were married that I wouldn't have done before we were married. So yes, atheists live together before marriage and therefore we marry less, but I don't know that it's always an equivalent break up. For some I'm sure it is, but for others, not so much. At least in my circle of friends, living together before marriage is very common, but so is waiting until you are married to fully join your finances and lives.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

This is not a debate I really want to get tied up in, but I did want to through something out there about the marriage/devorce rates amung Athiests/Christians.

A large amount of Athiests do not get married, they just live together or only get married after living together for many years. If you were to take the piece of paper out of the equation and just determine the amount of stable long term relationships I think you would find much different statistics.

Except that's not how the statistics work. Divorce rates have nothing to do with marriage rates. They are specifically, of those who got married, how many got divorced. And I would suspect that atheists don't overall have a lower marriage rate, only a delayed one as atheists tend to marry later. We choose it for the legal protections, not the spiritual ones.

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I also don't get all hung up on the divorce rate. I think good, happy marriages are good for society, so I worry about divorce, but more than that, I worry about people in unhappy, unhealthy relationships (married are not) whose kids grow up not knowing what it means to be in a positive relationship or to be kind to each other. We all know those couples who bicker or say unkind things to each other in front of other people (and alone), who come at every situation from s selfish perspective.

Some people SHOULD divorce. But I also think people should view marriage more seriously than many do.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

In fairness, I don't know how many people define "morality" as "whatever feels good." Obviously you define it as what you interpret God wants. I personally interpret it on a system that is more like "Who does this help?" (helping is often, but not always, moral) and "Who does this hurt?" (hurting is often, but not always, immoral.) I think most systems of morality derive from something more than just "if it feels good do it." Now, people don't always do what even they believe is the moral thing to do. Witness all of the Christians in jail. But just because you do the wrong thing doesn't mean that you don't think it's wrong. People are complicated like that.

So the question still goes back to whose morality do we choose? Do we go by the lowest denominator? That's kind of what it seems like to me. If you don't actually physically hurt someone than almost anything else is ok, because who are we to say something is wrong? In this country I guess it is Hollywood and the media who dictates morality because they have the most influence. I really can't say that I think that is a good thing. I really don't know anyone who actually thinks that moral standards are getting better and not worse, unless that is your opinion.

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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

So the question still goes back to whose morality do we choose? Do we go by the lowest denominator? That's kind of what it seems like to me. If you don't actually physically hurt someone than almost anything else is ok, because who are we to say something is wrong? In this country I guess it is Hollywood and the media who dictates morality because they have the most influence. I really can't say that I think that is a good thing. I really don't know anyone who actually thinks that moral standards are getting better and not worse, unless that is your opinion.

For the record I didn't say that only actually physically hurting some one is immoral. I think that hurting someone emotionally, financially, et cetera, can also often be immoral. And actually in some areas I do think that we are getting better morally. I think about a time in our not so distant past when, for example, black people had to sit at the back of the bus and drink from different water fountains. Or when women and children were considered property. Or when it was acceptable for workers to work in unsafe and potentially even fatal working conditions with no consideration for their health. I think all of those things represent huge steps forward in our collective morality. We're not perfect by any means, but if you want to argue that our morality is getting worse, I'm sure I can come up with more examples of how the past was pretty bad too.

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I do think a higher percentage of Christians get married (as opposed to not getting married or waiting for years weeding out the bad ones) is going to change the statistics. For example if 90% of Christians (made up numbers to show a point) got married and 20% of them got divorced it would not be the same as if 30% of Atheists got married and 20% of them got divorced. A greater % is getting married so it makes sense that a greater % gets divorced.

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OK, to get back to the original topic, I finally had a chance to read the second article that Alissa posted back in #9 and I still tend to disagree with it. The author says it's better for kids economically to be raised in a married-parents household in a married-parents community, rather than be raised by a single parent or in a community with a large number of single parents. He is completely dismissing the demographic of two parents living together without being married, which includes most gays & lesbians, and possibly a bunch of atheists. These parents are stable & secure, many studies have shown that gays & lesbians raise their kids just as well as anyone else, yet they are without the piece of paper that he claims makes the difference. I don't see it. The difference, as I said before, is not marriage. It's two committed parents who live together in one household. That, I can see making a difference.

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The decline of traditional marriage is harmful to society, the numbers dont lie. Most statistical studies show a more stable community when the marriage rate is higher. I do think I have ever seen a statistic that says different, and it may be fun to seek out.

The only reason that was given in the article that I disagree with is the men being incarcerated is effecting traditional marriage? Not sure why that would effect marriage. Statistically speaking again, most men already have one or more children out of wedlock before incarceration so they are already not in a "traditional" marriage

I believe the main reason for marriage decline in this country is that people here have an expectation that they need to be happy at all times. In times of strife in a marriage they look outside the marriage for things that will give them that temporary happiness they expect (like adultery, spending money that stresses the marriage, drinking) People are not as willing to deal with the unhappiness while they work on the marriage.

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DP

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Sorry, I haven't had a chance to read the whole thread.

I think the decline of traditional marriage is because of money! I'm not sure about where you ladies live, but here it can cost around ?30,000! The cheapest you're looking at if you're lucky is about ?13,000.

Most poeple I know just cannot afford it.

xx

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Do you mean a wedding? I don't consider the cost of a wedding to factor into marriage. If you are only getting married in order to have a wedding you shouldn't be getting married.

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It cost us $80 for our marriage license, and $150 for the woman who married us. If we'd gone to City Hall & been married by a commissioner, it would have been even cheaper. And there are so many financial benefits. We probably saved triple that amount the very first year just on health insurance premiums because we could get a family plan instead of two individual plans.

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I was confused by that as well. What are these costs?

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"Jessica80" wrote:

Do you mean a wedding? I don't consider the cost of a wedding to factor into marriage. If you are only getting married in order to have a wedding you shouldn't be getting married.

"Spacers" wrote:

It cost us $80 for our marriage license, and $150 for the woman who married us. If we'd gone to City Hall & been married by a commissioner, it would have been even cheaper. And there are so many financial benefits. We probably saved triple that amount the very first year just on health insurance premiums because we could get a family plan instead of two individual plans.

I would guess she is talking about the cost of the wedding. Depending where you live there may be absolutely no financial gain to getting married, so if you are one of those who believe it is just a piece of paper removed from your commitment to each other, and a fancy expensive party, then whats the point of going the cheap route, and if you cant afford it, then the party route is just not worth it either.

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There are many, many ways to have a zero cost or low cost wedding. If that's what keeps you from getting married then you are better off not married for sure! Just don't have "that" kind of wedding!

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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

There are many, many ways to have a zero cost or low cost wedding. If that's what keeps you from getting married then you are better off not married for sure! Just don't have "that" kind of wedding!

I dont think you are really getting what I am saying (and honestly, my above comment sucks for clarity).

So, answering purely for myself, the only reason we got married was because we wanted kids, and we wanted our whole family to have the same last name. Thats it. That was the only benefit we gained from marriage that we didnt already have as common law, and really, I could have changed my name without getting married, but we also wanted the party Smile We managed to get married for a relatively low cost, without going into debt, but I can understand in some places the 'party' is going to cost a lot more.

So people keep saying that you can get married for nothing, and if you are only getting married for the wedding than you are better off not married. But I guess the question I have is, why bother to get married at all? You dont need a marriage license to commit to someone. DH and I did that long before our wedding, so if you cant afford to celebrate your union with friends and family, then why not just open a bottle of wine in your own living room, commit to your partner and save the $200 or so in fees you would pay to get 'married'.

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"ftmom" wrote:

I dont think you are really getting what I am saying (and honestly, my above comment sucks for clarity).

So, answering purely for myself, the only reason we got married was because we wanted kids, and we wanted our whole family to have the same last name. Thats it. That was the only benefit we gained from marriage that we didnt already have as common law, and really, I could have changed my name without getting married, but we also wanted the party Smile We managed to get married for a relatively low cost, without going into debt, but I can understand in some places the 'party' is going to cost a lot more.

So people keep saying that you can get married for nothing, and if you are only getting married for the wedding than you are better off not married. But I guess the question I have is, why bother to get married at all? You dont need a marriage license to commit to someone. DH and I did that long before our wedding, so if you cant afford to celebrate your union with friends and family, then why not just open a bottle of wine in your own living room, commit to your partner and save the $200 or so in fees you would pay to get 'married'.

The wedding had nothing to do with my decision to get married, though. I didn't actually care about celebrating it with a party or anything. I wanted to be married. If it doesn't change anything for you then yeah, there's no reason to do it. We were already living together and committed but for both of us -- him religious and me not -- it still meant something else to be married. (We don't even all have the same last name, I kept mine as is.)

Different meanings for different people, it's all good. Our wedding was a pot luck picnic. Being husband and wife means the world to us.

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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

The wedding had nothing to do with my decision to get married, though. I didn't actually care about celebrating it with a party or anything. I wanted to be married. If it doesn't change anything for you then yeah, there's no reason to do it. We were already living together and committed but for both of us -- him religious and me not -- it still meant something else to be married. (We don't even all have the same last name, I kept mine as is.)

Different meanings for different people, it's all good. Our wedding was a pot luck picnic. Being husband and wife means the world to us.

So because someone wants a big expensive wedding, they shouldn't even consider marriage? That's ridiculous.

I would love a huge fairy tale wedding, it doesn't mean I would marry any tom, **** or harry to get it. I would only marry someone I truly loved and wanted to be with for the rest of my life. However, our "tradtion" is to have the wedding dress and the after party with all your family and friends. That's what I would want, whether that make me a bad person or not.

xx

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I don't think that is what anyone is saying. I wanted a big wedding (didn't have to be expensive though) and I was fortunate enough to be able to have what I wanted. However, if I didn't have that chance I would have married my dh no matter what.

If you are delaying marriage only because you can't have some big fancy wedding, to me then, you shouldn't be getting married.

Getting married is cheap. Weddings are (usually) expensive.

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"Minx_Kristi" wrote:

So because someone wants a big expensive wedding, they shouldn't even consider marriage? That's ridiculous.

I would love a huge fairy tale wedding, it doesn't mean I would marry any tom, **** or harry to get it. I would only marry someone I truly loved and wanted to be with for the rest of my life. However, our "tradtion" is to have the wedding dress and the after party with all your family and friends. That's what I would want, whether that make me a bad person or not.

xx

You're missing my point, and I certainly never said anything like that.

All I'm saying is, if the reason you (proverbial you) don't get married is that you can't afford a specific wedding, it might be time to rethink what marriage means to you. Not everyone can afford that big event wedding, and if that's what stops you from wanting to get married, well...I think maybe getting married isn't a priority for you.

I personally wouldn't hold off on taking the next step in my life because I couldn't afford a party. I'd get married, then save up, and have the big party to celebrate at another time when things were better financially. To me, marriage is much more important than a wedding. Life is short, I wouldn't want to wait.

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Maybe it's the different culture. Everyone I know that is married, purposely waited to do it until they had enough money for an extravagant occasion. That is our tradition.

There are obviously people who don't want the fuss. However the main reasons for people having the ceremony only would be because of one - life threatening circumstances or two, they'd been married a number of times before.

It's sad really but also reality here.

xx

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"Minx_Kristi" wrote:

Maybe it's the different culture. Everyone I know that is married, purposely waited to do it until they had enough money for an extravagant occasion. That is our tradition.

There are obviously people who don't want the fuss. However the main reasons for people having the ceremony only would be because of one - life threatening circumstances or two, they'd been married a number of times before.

It's sad really but also reality here.

xx

I get that, lots of people wait and save up to have the wedding they want. But deciding not to get married because you can't afford a big splashy wedding seems to me like marriage isn't the important thing. Maybe it is cultural, I don' t know. It just seems very strange to me to opt out of marriage to the person you love because of the money needed for a celebration.

I confess I don't understand this part of your post.

However the main reasons for people having the ceremony only would be because of one - life threatening circumstances or two, they'd been married a number of times before.

I'm sorry -- can you explain?

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I think Kristi means: the only reasons people in her area might have a marriage ceremony only, and not a big flashy wedding celebration, are if one of them has a life-threatening condition (and thus want to make it legal quickly) or if one of them had already been married a number of times (with the implication that they've BTDT on the big flashy wedding part.)

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I do not really think it is anyone else's business why someone wants to get married. If someone wants to get married because they want a big flashy party or they want to wait until they can afford a big splashy party then that is up to them.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I do not really think it is anyone else's business why someone wants to get married. If someone wants to get married because they want a big flashy party or they want to wait until they can afford a big splashy party then that is up to them.

Of course it is. All I'm saying is that if the cost of a party is stopping you from EVER getting married, then maybe getting married isn't really that important to you. Then again, I am not part of a culture that requires such a thing.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I do not really think it is anyone else's business why someone wants to get married. If someone wants to get married because they want a big flashy party or they want to wait until they can afford a big splashy party then that is up to them.

Agreed, but I still don't think the overall decline of "traditional marriage" is due to people not being able to afford a wedding. That's probably only a thin sliver of the pie.

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"Spacers" wrote:

Agreed, but I still don't think the overall decline of "traditional marriage" is due to people not being able to afford a wedding. That's probably only a thin sliver of the pie.

Totally agree.

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I have never really heard of anyone waiting to get married because they can afford the big party

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"mom3girls" wrote:

I have never really heard of anyone waiting to get married because they can afford the big party

You have never heard of a couple waiting until they are in a better financial situation to get married?

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"mom3girls" wrote:

I have never really heard of anyone waiting to get married because they can afford the big party

Here, people don't get married until at least 2 years after they have got engaged. Mainly because they're still saving for it.

It's funny how different cultures are. I always thought that Americans got married way too young and too quickly - this is clearly how our cultures differ.

xx

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"Minx_Kristi" wrote:

Here, people don't get married until at least 2 years after they have got engaged. Mainly because they're still saving for it.

It's funny how different cultures are. I always thought that Americans got married way too young and too quickly - this is clearly how our cultures differ.

xx

I don't think people are getting married that young anymore, but I'm basing that on anecdotal/personal evidence and not stats.

I think celebrities get married too quickly! I bet they're half the divorce rate, lol.

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