Who Needs Marriage?
From Renae Smith, NFI's Special Assistant to the President.
magazines recent cover article
titled "Marriage: What's It Good For?"
poses an interesting question. In an age when marriage has become much less important for both men and women to have companionship, security, professional success, respect, sex, or to conceive children, then who needs it?
The article, citing a new Time
/Pew Research Center poll, reported that 39% of people think that marriage is becoming obsolete. That seems a little contradictory to their strong opinions about the importance of marriage to parenting.
- 69% said its bad for society that more single women are having children without a male partner. (Only 4% said it was good.)
- 43% said its bad that more unmarried couples are raising children (compared to 10% who thought this trend was good.)
- 77% think its easier for married people to raise a family than single people.
People also think that the link between marriage and parenting is important for them personally.
- 90% of men think that being a good mother is an important quality for a good wife; 93% of women think that being a good father is an important part of being a good husband.
- 74% of men think that a good wife should put family before anything else; 82% of women think that a good husband should prioritize family first.
This is encouraging news, but forget, for a moment, about what the adults think is good for society or good for them personally. Lets talk about whats good for the ones who are affected most by the presence or absence of marriage children.
Research clearly shows that children who live with married parents fare better, on average, than children in other family structures on measures of child well-being academically, financially, emotionally, physically, and socially. Why? The data on the impact of father involvement on the well-being of children
holds part of the answer. The number one way to guarantee that a father will be consistently present in his childrens lives is for him to be married to their mother.
Jennifer Bracerass response in the Boston Herald
to Times question What is marriage good for? tells us that we have forgotten that marriage is not just about adult happiness, but also about the responsibilities of parenthood and preparing future generations to thrive and succeed.
Roland C. Warren, president of National Fatherhood Initiative, answers a similar question, "Are fathers necessary?"
, by saying ask the kids.
Before dismissing marriage as obsolete, we need to ask who needs it most. The answer: children. Childrens profound need for the daily, long-term presence of their own mothers and fathers in their lives will never become obsolete.