There is not one social problem in America today that would not be made better if people got married before having children and stayed married to raise their children.
Now, that might be a “hate fact”, but it is a fact nonetheless.
There are reasons why cultures put things in place to protect and support marriage. It is because raising the next generation is the most important function of the population. Today, our culture has decided that children are secondary to the happiness of adults. Marriage is not important, not supported, and not sold as anything other than a happiness trip. More “hate facts” perhaps.
None of the above is meant as a slam against any one person. I cannot imagine raising children without a partner. My next-door neighbor had to do so, because her high school sweetheart was killed by cancer, when their kids were little. I have seen women who have left cheating husbands raise their kids alone. No one would say it is easy.
Our civilization is convulsed with effects of two great changes, never before seen in our history. One is the great empowerment of women. In the last 50 years, women have entered into the workplace and claimed their place at the table. Women have higher levels of political power, both as representatives and leaders than ever before. Men and women live and work together in a way that our ancestors would find amazing.
The other great change, in the past half century is the disconnection of sex and reproductions with the advent of the Birth Control Pill. Women, for the first time ever, can be in control of reproduction in a way other than abstinence. This is a revolutionary technology more disruptive that almost anything else ever invented.
So, we see the results today, as we cope with changing roles of women, driven by their empowerment and control of reproduction. Our culture, like all cultures, is not built for this new reality. Throughout history, the family has been the building block of societies. Women have often been an extension of their family or husband. When I was born in 1970, getting married would have turned my wife into “Mrs. Bryan Stephens”. Today, my wife still has her first name in public. Indeed, many women keep their name on a professional basis, or legal basis.
Much of the anxiety and furor we see today reflects the responses to these changes. #MeToo is driven in part by men and women no longer knowing what roles they play. Things are in flux. Marriage is decreasing, out of wedlock children are increasing. The old templates of marriage and children to work on the farm is in the rearview mirror. Given the choice, most women don’t have four children.
I don’t have a good answer to making things better. We are in a time of transition. I think the best thing we can do is acknowledge this transition. We need to have adult conversations about hard topics, such as sexuality in the workplace, the differences between what men and women want out of work, the requirements to reach the top levels, and do we want to encourage marriage. Until we can stop being offended or defensive about these topics, we will continue to stumble along in ignorance.