Published in Church & Life (1825) 11.11.2011 – 30.11.2011  No 17

Just recently Time magazine did a major survey on marriage.  The results are rather obvious.   Fewer and fewer people are taking marriage vows; they are simply living together.  Now that is not news!  The news is that the survey about marriage and family basically produces results which are very traditional and so call old fashioned.

 This is what caught my eye.  Basically peoples’ attitudes have not changed over the years, but they are going against their better judgement and are living together and are not getting married.

 It is a bit like, “I know that smoking and drinking are bad for me, but I want to smoke or drink”.  It is also like, “I know broccoli is very good for me, but I won’t eat it”.  Work that out!

 Let’s look closer at the survey.  By an overwhelming majority people believe that marriage makes it easier to raise a family, to be financially secure, to find happiness, to have a better love life, to have a better social status; but they won’t marry.  People today want the man to earn most of the money for the family; he should care for the woman, look after the house and help with the children.  This is a very old fashioned view.

 At the same time people know that it is very bad for society for unmarried couples to raise children, for women to have no children, for women to raise children alone, for gay and lesbian couples to raise children, for people to live together without marriage, for mothers with small children to work outside the home.  Yet again, despite these convictions more and more people refuse to get married. 

 Following along the same lines, the survey shows that being married is way better for a proper love between the couple, for guaranteeing a long term commitment, for companionship, for having children and for financial stability.  They all know this, yet again, they choose not to get married.

 Most interesting Prince William recently gave his intended bride his mother’s engagement ring.  He said that he wanted his mother to be part of the day.  Even though his parents’ marriage failed, he does not think that all the old beliefs and traditions of marriage are obsolete.

 This survey confounds me.  It would seem that people today are acting contrary to what they believe to be good and holy.  They know they are behaving badly, but they are doing it anyway.  This also greatly disturbs me because people are purposely setting themselves up for failure, conflict , unhappiness, depression and all the other bad things that happen when we do what we now will not make us happy or succeed.

 There are a few lessons for us in the church in all this.  It seems that parish councils, priests, sisters, marriage educators, parents and people of good will, should take advantage of an opportunity which God is placing before us.  The church must educate, pray with, preach, have programs and do whatever is possible to work with people who are about to get married or with the youth who will eventually make that decision to make better choices.  Young people know what is good for them, but they just cannot find the way to do it.

 One of the main reasons is that God no longer plays a factor in their lives.  Here is where we can help.