July 2011

A Line in the Sand: In Defense of Marriage

Author: Frank Dunne, Jr. | Photographer: Photography by Anne

Well, well, well! What a fine mess Courtney’s gotten herself into this time. Merely two months after celebrating her engagement to be married, she will now attempt—and fail—to prove the old canard that the marriage institution is “outdated.” Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation with her fiancée? Quite a pickle indeed!
Think that’s kooky? Try this on. I’ve never been married, yet here I am arguing in defense of marriage. Well, my job is to shine the light of truth on Courtney’s disinformation campaigns, and I will, as always, come through for you.
I do this at great personal risk, you know. Certain references to historical intelligence regarding two-parent, single breadwinner households might be misinterpreted as me being critical of working women, particularly single moms. What, do you think I’m crazy? Single moms and women with careers pretty much define the pool of dating prospects for a guy like me, and they’re all superheroines! There’s more to the story, but I’ve got 600 words to make a point and be entertaining about a subject that needs a whole book.
Okay, hopefully that worked. Let’s get on with setting Courtney’s mind straight…again.
Traditional marriage, the two-parent family unit (call it whatever name you like) was, is, and forever will be the foundation of a strong, civil, unified and enduring society. Attack that foundation, as antisocial counterculturalists do, and you get what we have today: a myriad of societal ills, including soaring crime rates, class warfare, and a generally eroding national moral compass. Apparently Courtney regards the latter as progress.
It is a historically proven fact that children reared in traditional family environments, especially single breadwinner families, are less likely to get into trouble, flunk out or drop out of school, join a gang, use drugs, or wind up in prison. It is also a historically proven fact that problems with things like healthcare coverage, personal bankruptcy, and mortgage defaults occur less frequently for married couples than for unmarried couples. I’m sure Courtney will attempt to distract you from such facts with a page full off platitudes and banalities, but as Winston Churchill said about the truth, “…in the end, there it is.”
She’ll probably throw in the famous old canard that 50 percent of marriages will fail as well. Not true. It’s a misinterpretation of National Center for Health Statistics data showing that over the past decade there were roughly twice as many marriages as divorces in a given year. However, in a given year, there are already millions of existing marriages, and the knee-jerk 50 percent divorce rate conclusion erroneously assumes that every divorce in a given year is a result of a marriage that happened in the same year.
I’m not saying that there isn’t a problem here. Too many marriages fail, but the problem isn’t the institution of marriage. Blaming the institution is like the guy who swings like a gorilla blaming his golf clubs for his atrocious game. It’s not the clubs. He just stinks at golf and needs to practice.
Same thing here. Marriage isn’t the problem; we’re the problem. Somewhere along the line we as a society stopped practicing things like personal responsibility, good judgment, and understanding why we were put on this Earth. Marriage and family have always formed the anchor for those values. It’s not outdated. It’s necessary.
Now, let’s congratulate Courtney for her impending connubial union and for actually getting something right for the first time since we launched this column. Of course, she had to disagree with herself to do it.

  1. Kudos to you Frank!
    Having been on both sides of that proverbial “line in the sand” (Married-single, married again, soon to be single again), I have to totally agree with you. Even though I don’t have a perfect track record, I don’t feel that it was the institution of marraige that failed me nor the many who end up in divorce. I do believe that marraige can be a strong foundation on which many things can be built. In my opinion, the problem lies not in the institution of marraige itself, but rather that the two people involved do not enter that marraige prepared for what lies ahead. They each bring their unrealistic expections of each other, and certainly bring excess baggage, hoping that their significant other will totally fulfill them,and be all things to them. If people today who are engaged to be married, would spend more time discovering who they really are and not expecting their spouse to complete them and to be all things to them, maybe the ratio could be changed in a positive way. Sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up with the planning and preparations of the wedding, we fail to really prepare ourselves for the reality of what being in the commitment of marraige really means.
    I agree that personal responsiblity, good judgement, understanding along with truth and honesty, are core pillars that when combined, help form a strong foundation that will stand the test of time.

    — Lolita Hayes    Jul 4, 10:31 pm   

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