In America, the traditional family as we know it is fading quickly. In talking about marriage, Chip Ingram, a well-known pastor and author, stated that less than 25% of the marriages today represent the the “typical” family of a husband and wife along with their children. He went on to say that 65% of couples who marry will have lived together before marriage (incidentally, living together before saying “I do” actually increases the already-high odds that the marriage will end in divorce). Also according to Ingram, 40% of Americans now believe that marriage is obsolete.
The majority of teens and 20-somethings today see little wrong with living together before marriage. My wife and I were having a conversation recently regarding how dating and marriage are viewed these days by these age groups. She said (based on her experiences with people these ages) that the goal now is not necessarily to grow up and get married, but instead to find somebody to live with for a while and then maybe find somebody else for a while, etc.
I’m reminded of a concept I read about in The Last Christian by David Gregory. I’ve been unable to get this out of my mind. In Gregory’s depiction of family life in the year 2088, couples don’t marry. Instead, they simply sign a contract with another person to be “life partners”. To clarify, that’s not life partners as in partners for life, but rather life partners as in partners with whom to live and possibly have children, usually for a 10 year contract. At the end of this time, they can either renew the contract for another 10 years or else part ways and find new life partners.
The following morning after the conversation with my wife, I went to my favorite hair shop for a haircut. The owner/stylist and I were talking about how difficult marriage and relationships can be. I asked her if she’d ever been married. “Once,” she replied. “And that’s all for me.” She went on to say how she didn’t mind relationships but she didn’t want the hassle of answering to anybody again.
Her next statement nearly floored me. “You know, it wouldn’t be so bad if the marriage was for 5 years or something, then you could evaluate it and see if you wanted to go on.” Interestingly, she’s 52 — not exactly a young adult.
I believe the reason there is currently such an overwhelming amount of sympathy for the homosexual agenda among young heterosexuals is that the Christian right represents an enemy not just to homosexuals touting gay “marriage”, but also to a large number of heterosexuals who are living together in sexual sin. I don’t believe that in general heterosexuals are necessarily that sympathetic toward the homosexual cause for the sake of the cause itself. However, Christians represent a threat to their chosen lifestyle as well. If Christians, or anyone with a moral voice, are allowed to say that homosexuality is wrong, then what’s to stop them from saying that heterosexuals living together is also wrong?
We have generations of kids today growing up in split families, perhaps with one or both parents living with a partner outside of marriage. Add to this the overwhelming dominance of sex and rebellion in the media. Prime time sitcoms and reality shows, not to mention movies and the gigantic popular music industry, all espouse a life of freedom from any sort of sexual morality whatsoever. Pick just about any TV show and you’ll find unmarried characters randomly having sex and/or living together.
Yes, I know this sounds very preachy and old-fashioned. I’m not pointing fingers at any one group. All of us sin. However, in my heart I believe that this is why America is how it is today. For most kids and young adults, they are not getting any sort of message whatsoever about sexual restraint. It’s get what you what, how you want it, with whom you want it, whenever you want it.
Our schools aren’t helping the situation either. I read recently where a school district in Oregon recently approved making condoms available to 6th graders! All they have to do is ask for them. Crazy.
The traditional American family is already a minority; it may become virtually extinct if our society doesn’t change. Is it too late for America? For the world? Only God knows these answers. I don’t know, but my gut feeling is that things are only going to get worse from here.
One thought on “The Family Unit is Disappearing”
“living together before saying “I do” actually increases the already-high odds that the marriage will end in divorce”
Is correlated with – no evidence for causation. Those who do not live together first are rare and generally belong to religious groups that strongly discourage marriage, so this correlation is not remotely surprising.
There are a lot of other statistical and demographic problems here…hit gallup and the census bureau for some starting numbers.