WETZSTEIN: Marriage out? Here’s other side
A recent report from the Pew Research Center generated coast-to-coast headlines about how marriage is on the rocks.
Bloomberg News, CNN, the Associated Press, USA Today, CBS and even the Christian Broadcasting Network trumpeted the news that 39 percent of nearly 2,700 adults agreed with the statement: “Some people say that the present institution of marriage is becoming obsolete.”
Notice that nearly 60 percent of respondents did not agree with that statement, but that didn’t stop the “obsolescence” campaign.
That doesn’t sound like “the end of marriage,” he said.
He’s right. I have an observation to add and then a list that should act as an antacid for anyone - and I know there are millions of you - who was annoyed by those headlines.
The observation is this: Researchers want to know whether youths are interested in marriage, so they ask. Report after report (Mathematica Policy Research in 2008 and Child Trends in 2009, to name two) has found the same answer: Very high numbers of teens - usually more than 80 percent - plan to marry, and this sky-high marital ambition is found in all racial groups.
Youth studies like these show that marrying cannot be obsolete, because more than eight in 10 teens and young people want to do it. If you still doubt the vitality of marriage, listen to the authors of “Eleven Reasons That It Is Great to Be Married Forty Years.”
“We certainly don’t think marriage is obsolete,” said Jim Strickland, who has been married 54 years to Bea. “We have a relationship that we are very proud of and that we try to share with others.”
“We are in love,” Mrs. Strickland said.
The San Jose couple lead marriage-education events in California as part of the Association for Couples in Marriage Enrichment, now known as Better Marriages. They interact with couples of all ages and emphasize that successful marriages go hand in hand with active marriage education. Marriage is “truly the way to get a close, personal relationship,” Mr. Strickland said.
Fourteen years ago, when they reached their 40th anniversary, the Stricklands penned 11 reasons they were glad to have been together so long:
11. No one keeps score anymore.
10. You have someone to help you find your glasses.
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