Why Marriage?

Recently I was talking to a group of about 15 teenagers ranging from ages 13-17 about marriage. I asked them what they thought of marriage and if they wanted to get married someday. What I found was very interesting, to say the least.

One young man, whom we’ll refer to as “J” said “Yes, I want to get married.” When asked “Why?” he replied, “Because I see how happy my mom and dad are and I want that for myself.” I thought to myself, “Wow, that’s awesome. These are the types of statements that I wish parents could hear.” However, what happened next shocked me. The other students, with the exception of a few, began to snicker and make comments under their breath. I asked, “What’s so funny?” A young lady, whom we’ll call “S” made the statement “He’s crazy. I don’t want to get married and have to deal with the same person for the rest of my life. I’d rather just date a person and then move on when I’m tired of them. I don’t see the point of marriage.”

As alarming as the above statement sounds, the majority of the students agreed with S’s stance. Then I noticed a common thread among those for marriage and those against marriage. The students who were for marriage were all from two parent homes with healthy marriages. The ones who were against marriage were from single parent homes (all of them without fathers) and were used to seeing their mothers with different men.

So how do we get these youth who don’t see healthy marriages opt for marriage in the future? According to the Heritage Foundation’s “The Positive Effects of Marriage, A Book of Charts,” (http://www.heritage.org/Research/Features/Marriage/upload/48119_1.pdf) marriage has positive effects in the areas of economics, self worth, education, sociology, behavior, and the list goes on. The problem is many of these benefits are not brought to the forefront. All most teens usually hear about are the bad aspects of marriage: the high divorce rate, infidelity rates, etc. But who’s telling them about the positives? Whose job is it to tell them?

Parents, we want to hear from you! What is your role in helping kids aspire toward marriage as opposed to any other arrangement? Do you see the benefit?