Thursday, July 09, 2009

Caitlin Flanagan on the future of American marriage:

The fundamental question we must ask ourselves at the beginning of the century is this: What is the purpose of marriage? Is it — given the game-changing realities of birth control, female equality and the fact that motherhood outside of marriage is no longer stigmatized — simply an institution that has the capacity to increase the pleasure of the adults who enter into it?
Or is marriage an institution that still hews to its old intention and function — to raise the next generation, to protect and teach it, to instill in it the habits of conduct and character that will ensure the generation's own safe passage into adulthood? Think of it this way: the current generation of children, the one watching commitments between adults snap like dry twigs and observing parents who simply can't be bothered to marry each other and who hence drift in and out of their children's lives — that's the generation who will be taking care of us when we are old.
I consider myself pretty liberal in most respects, but I tend to agree with her traditionalist argument. Probably because I saw my own parents' divorce up close. For the other side, see this column in The Atlantic.


La Brown Girl said...

It's sad that the couples that might help change this idea of marriage aren't allowed to get married except for two states.

But you know, our people are really tied to tradition. There are so many kids that I teach whose parents are so old school. Given that our people may take over the world, we may not be in a world of hurt..yet.

Annette said...

Hey La Brown Girl, it's good to hear from you!