The Anti-Marriage Agenda
- By: Hallee
It took me quite some time to decide what to write about for this chapter in Vicki Courtney’s 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter, and the introduction to conversation number 4: It’s OK to Dream About Marriage and Motherhood! Chapter 14, “The Anti-Marriage Agenda” listed all sorts of statistics and social thoughts about marriage and the state of marriage today. They were interesting, but not overly surprising. Less people get married today than they did 40 years ago, and they’re getting married much later in life than they did 40 years ago. I think that is obvious and I don’t need to rehash it all.
But, what I did start thinking about was, why? Why the lack of marriages? What has happened to our culture?
Mid-week, I listened to a psychiatrist on a radio show talk about family-dynamics and something occurred to me.
From 1960 to 1980, the divorce rate more than doubled — from 920 divorces per 100,000 married women to 2,260 divorces per 100,000 married women. Another statistic I saw said that 20% of people married in 1950 ended up divorced, while 50% of people married in 1970 ended up divorced.
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Basically, the today’s generation of 40-year-olds and younger grew up in the divorce era. They grew up in homes without fathers or, rarely, homes without mothers. What I learned from this psychiatrist was that girls learn to relate to men by the way they learned to relate to their fathers. Boys model manhood from their fathers. Just as no man alive can teach a girl how to be a woman, no woman alive can teach a boy how to be a man.
However, half of an entire generation of boys and girls grew up without a constant presence of a father. Consequently, half of an entire generation of girls are adults and don’t necessarily have a good, solid base for relating to men. And half of a generation of boys have no solid model for manhood and perceive women as those who eliminated the fathers from their lives. Couple that with all of the childhood trauma that comes with a divorce and the emotional baggage that can be carried around, and you basically have half of a generation that has very skewed thinking and philosophies about relationships in general and marriage in particular.
This generation is the one producing television, advertising, movies, magazine articles, websites, blogs. Regardless of what we like to think about our ability to think for ourselves, outside influences, well, influence. If you have 13-year-old-girls getting bombarded with a message in some Disney tweenie show about parents and marriage or men and dads, it’s going to influence how they approach their relationships now, and that’s going to influence their relationships in the future. If you have 16-year-old girls reading magazine articles on the lack of importance of marriage, the ball and chain freedom removing aspects of marriage, how it’s best to wait for marriage, and how marriage just doesn’t matter anymore, it’s going to affect how they think of their future, dream of their future, or treat their current relationships.
There’s no easy answer. And, I’m not going to pretend to stand on some lofty perch and look down my nose on anyone’s marriage, divorce, lack of marriage, or relationship.
I guess that’s why I’ve had such a hard time coming up with what to say about this “Conversation”. Here is a little bit about me, in the raw.
I met my first husband at a party. He was 20 and was a soldier in the Army. I was 17. I shouldn’t have been where I was, doing what I was doing. He waited until I was 18 before he asked me out, so that I’d be “legal”. We “hooked up” (see the April 16th’s chapter 15 – Hooking Up, Shacking Up, & Other Marriage Busters) before we ever went on a first date. We were married when I was 20 – after living together for a year. In the horse and carriage ride from the church to the reception hall, he confessed that after a night of partying, he’d snorted a line of cocaine right before the wedding. He’d joined the Army to remove himself from the drug culture of his hometown, and within a year of moving back there, he was doing cocaine on the eve of his wedding. Things kind of went downhill from there. It took more than 9 years before I divorced him, and our daughter was 4 when I finally left him. It was another 5 years before he got sober, and he’s been clean and sober now for 4 years.
I put my daughter into daycare on the day she turned 4 weeks old. I worked full time until she turned 9.
My daughter has spent the last three years living in another state from her father. I allowed her to live with him during the last semester of 7th grade, so that their relationship would have a chance to solidify. He has since moved even farther away, and she hasn’t seen him since August, though she talks to him on the phone several times a day.
My husband, her step-father, has been away from home almost consistently her entire relationship with him.
What will this do to her relationships in the future? How will it mold her marriage? Last we talked about it, she had no desire to ever marry. Unlike her friends, she doesn’t bounce from boyfriend to boyfriend. She guards her heart very carefully. What will it be like when she’s 16? Or 20? Or 25?
On my blog, I posted two survey questions to get a feel for what my readers felt about a couple of scenarios. You can get to them here and here. I want to use the information gleaned in the coming posts on this subject, so if you’re interested in tossing in your two cents worth, that would be wonderful. But, I had a friend email me about something to do with the first survey question. In my reply to her, I said that getting married so young wasn’t the problem for me. Whom I married at 20 was the problem.
All of the education I’ve received in the last several years about men’s and women’s brains, sex drives, hormones, emotions, how they view life and circumstances – everything I’ve read leads me to believe that young marriage is the ideal circumstance – despite a society that says otherwise, and despite the 20-year-old me who sat in a carriage and listened to her new husband strip away all of her hope for the future.
But we aren’t just battling philosophical or religious ideals – we’re battling half of a generation who don’t know how to relate to someone of the opposite sex in a healthy way, and that’s been there through childhood. You can’t come up to a woman who had an absent father and a couple of abusive boyfriends and say, “You know, the Bible says you should submit to your husband,” and not expect her to laugh in your face.
I believe, sincerely, that the divorce trend, the anti-marriage agenda, and other aspects of our culture are a direct attack designed to destroy marriage, destroy the family, and destroy man’s headship of the family. You start destroying families, your’e going to destroy the church.
The question is – what can we do about it? I guess all we can do is focus our attention on our own families. Work on your marriage, keep it strong, keep it healthy, keep it Biblically focused. Raise your children to know what a healthy marriage means, what true love means, how satisfying and wonderful a good marriage can be. Encourage your children to only date someone who shares your family’s values, so that they can take what they’ve learned and freely apply it to their relationships. Educate yourself and your children on the differences in men and women instead of the cultural insistence on “sameness”.
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