Thursday, August 4, 2011

Marriage Matters

In the book Staying Faithful Today by Fr. McBride,  I read an interesting excerpt  from the Institute for American Values stating "Why Marriage Matters."  Dr. Wilcox and other top scholars who study family life have updated their book Why Marriage Matters:  Twenty-Six Conclusions from the Social Sciences in 2005.  From their research, they have discovered many interesting conclusions as to the value of marriage.  They discuss the impact to our society of the breakdown of marriages.  This is not a Christian study but their findings affect us all and merit our attention.

This is a sad statistic and it's probably higher now since their study was published in 2005:  "Since 1960, the proportion of children who do not live with their own two parents has risen sharply—from 19.4% to 42.3% in the Nineties. This change has been caused, first, by large increases in divorce, and more recently, by a big jump in single mothers and cohabiting couples who have children but don't marry."

In their study, they cite these issues facing our society due to the breakdown of marriage are:
  • Marriage reduces the risk of poverty for children and communities.  Most children whose parents don't get or stay married experience at least one year of poverty.
  • Fatherless households increase crime.  Boys whose parents divorced or never married, for example, are two to three times more likely to end up in jail as adults.  
  • Marriage protects children's physical and mental health.  Children whose parents get and stay married are healthier and also much less likely to suffer mental illness, including depression and teen suicide.
  • Men and women who marry live longer, healthier, and happier lives.  On virtually every measure of health and well-being, married people on average are better off than their single counterparts.
  • Living together is not the same as marriage.  Married couples who cohabit first are 30 to 50 percent more likely to divorce.  People who just live together do not get the same boost to health, welfare, and happiness, on average as spouses.  Neither do their children.  Children whose parents cohabit are at increased risk for domestic violence, child abuse, and neglect.  Children born to parents who were just living together are also three times more likely to experience their parents' breakup by age five.
  • Parents who don't get or stay married put children's education at risk.  Children whose parents divorced or never married have lower grade point averages, are more likely to be held back a grade, and are more apt to drop out of school.  They are also less likely to graduate from college.
  • When marriages fail, ties between parents and children typically weaken.  Adult children whose parents divorced are only half as likely to have warm, close ties to both their mother and their father. 
In our Catholic faith, marriage is a sacrament, a vow before God that we are and will be committed to our spouse "until death do us part."  That seems to have little meaning now with the divorce rate similar to other Christian faith groups.  It saddens me that our children are being wounded this way, and it will affect them throughout their lifetime and for generations to come.  We must pray for the sanctity of marriage.

"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'  and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh' ?  So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."  
Matthew 19:4-6

God Bless,



  1. My husband and I are constantly praying for our precious Sacrament of Marriage, most especially after attending World Wide Marriage Encounter. Thank you and God Bless you for posting an awareness and call to prayer.

  2. Amen! Marriage is a sacred bond that should never be taken for granted. It's unfortunate that in our culture today, there are people who seem to take the marriage covenant very lightly.

    The book you are reading sounds interesting. Thank you for sharing some of the excerpts with us in this post.

  3. Tiffany ~ you must have loved attending the World Wide Marriage Encounter! What a great way to spiritually bond with your spouse!

    Wildflower ~ the divorce rate wouldn't be nearly as high if the spouses took seriously their marriage covenant.

    Thank you for visiting ladies!

  4. these statistics are so sad! I am attending a study on marriage and roles right now. I have to fill in to teach next week so have been doing some research. I may use some of this.

  5. Shanda ~ I agree they are sad. Feel free to use this information from Dr. Wilcox of the Institute of American Values.