Continued from page 1

The solution is to realize that America’s economic prosperity, well-being — and in my view, even happiness — is directly tied to the depth and breadth of its marriage culture. Family breakdown costs the nation $112 billion a year, according to one analysis. Father absence costs $100 billion a year, says another.

There are many ways to strengthen marriage, from tax breaks to relationship classes to strengthening job prospects for young men who didn’t go to college. A bill with $75 million apiece for marriage grants and responsible fatherhood grants is awaiting President Obama’s signature.

Remembering the value of a religious life is another core part of the solution. In this holiday season, amid the twinkling lights, twinkling stars, children’s hugs, laughter and tears, may there be many such epiphanies.

Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at