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In our opinion: Americans are trending away from making the marriage commitment

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  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 14, 2013 12:16 a.m.

    There's a whole segment of society who are committed to marriage in spite of public and private ridicule, yet they are denied. Can we really fret about marriage yet offer it on such a discriminatory basis?

  • Mad Hatter Provo, UT
    April 14, 2013 2:37 a.m.

    And while this is going on, gay couples are moving in the opposite direction. So the story is not entirely correct. There are those in our society who want very much to have the right to validate their commitment.

  • Salsero Provo, UT
    April 14, 2013 2:39 a.m.

    With divorce rates running above 50% for first-time marriages, the issue of co-habitation stands as minor compared with the problems of a broken family.

    Perhaps it should be more difficult to enter into a marriage than to leave a marriage. In this way, both participants will have a very clear perspective as to if marriage is realistic and something both want to commit to. Too many young people get married early and then spend many unhappy years learning that they are not compatible.

  • Civil Salt Lake City, UT
    April 14, 2013 3:06 a.m.

    The reference to the catastrophic effects of population decline is inadequately described here, and needs to be greatly expanded. The documentary, "Demographic Winter" shown on BYUtv explains these problems in great detail.

  • JBQ Saint Louis, MO
    April 14, 2013 5:08 a.m.

    Very good and significant article. However, just wait until the new trend of women cohabitating with women hits the statistical "fireplace".

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    April 14, 2013 7:49 a.m.

    The connection between individual behavior and societal problems? Go ahead, defend it some more. Marriage between a man and a women is still an institution that you can't meddle with because it is from God. Cohabitation is just one unfortunate reality of the tidal wave coming that the Federal Government won't be able to resolve. Of Course, as
    marriage becomes tranqualized, children suffer and babies are either disposable or viewed as an unintended consequence worthy of disdain. Thus, even the over population explosion hoax becomes even more apparent. 40 years ago, and in intervals even before that, the world was supposed to be having massive starvation now because of overpopulation, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah. It has been a hoax from the beginning. In regards to cohabitation, lets be honest. Women are the pawns here. Women are the princess pawns, leaving behind only heartbreak and tears. Marraige and chastity would be a good place to start. How can any thinking person think othewise. A blind man can see what is happening.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    April 14, 2013 7:52 a.m.

    Nothing lasts forever. We all have an expiration date. The first time in history that the younger generation is expected to expire before their parents.

  • EDM Castle Valley, Utah
    April 14, 2013 8:39 a.m.

    And we have the religious right to thank for legally barring some loving, consenting-adult couples from getting married.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 14, 2013 8:55 a.m.

    The traditional concept of marriage is aptly described in the quote often applied to one’s wife and a “ball and chain”. If we would save marriage for the good that it does we may have to redesign and rethink marriage to eliminate the unpleasant parts.

    Part of the confusion comes from our governments, political and religious, touting marriage and commitment and from those same governments the demand and promotion of being independent and self reliant.

    Restructuring the rules of marriage might be a hard pill to swallow, but if the medicine helps the problems, it has to be done. Possibilities might include:

    Separating the rules for child production and keeping from the automatic notion of natural parents.

    Remove the restrictions such as one man, one woman.

    Provide for a specific unique contract for the marriage.

    Allow for the end of the marriage contract, either as the passage of time of the conclusion of the commitment.

    Let the concept of marriage be a two party agreement that ends when the agreement is lost.

  • Wilf 55 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 14, 2013 9:06 a.m.

    All valid concerns and, as the OP says, "they should energize people of understanding everywhere to action". But no concrete actions are suggested. How willing are we to pay more taxes for school programs that educate teens toward marital responsibility? And for programs sustaining those single moms with "limited financial and educational resources"? How about better programs for their children to lift them out of their circumstances?

    And while while it is true that "40 percent of these women get married within three years of cohabiting, 32 percent continue in that unmarried relationship and 27 break up and move on", these figures are relative when compared with divorce rates in married couples. The misery that divorce brings must be weighed against the possibility of less dramatic partings.

    Finally, there is the irony that the call for same-sex marriage has enhanced the image of marriage desirability, with positive effect on more hetero marriages in countries that allow SSM. Perhaps we need to support the "lesser evil" of committed gays and lesbians to serve as impetus for the value of marriage?

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    April 14, 2013 9:43 a.m.

    From Pew:

    "The postponement of many markers of adulthood also plays a role. A rising share of young adults, especially women, are pursuing advanced degrees, and waiting for marriage until they are done with their education and established in the workplace. The choices of these young adults are in large part responsible for the growing share of Americans who have never married.

    Still, so far, the vast majority of Americans do marry at some point. Among those ages 45 and older, about nine-in-ten have been married.

    Is Marriage an Important Goal?

    Marriage is an important goal for most Americans, although it may not be their top priority. Having a successful marriage is “one of the most important things” in life for 36% of adults, according to a 2011 Pew Research survey. An additional 48% said it is “very important but not the most” important. Being a good parent was seen as “one of the most important things” by a larger share of adults (53%)".

    Women with more education and better economic prospects are more likely to delay first marriage, but are more likely to become married and to stay married.

  • amazondoc USA, TN
    April 14, 2013 9:44 a.m.

    Our world population has grown continually since the 1300s. It is still growing at roughly 1% every year. The human race is hardly in danger of extinction through under-reproduction.

    Our population **already** endangers the planet's ecosystem. Why in the world would we want to increase population growth even further?

    As for the societal benefits of marriage -- great. I'm all for marriage. But why deplore the trend away from marriage, while at the same time denying marriage to citizens who desperately WANT to get married? How does that make any sense at all?

  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    April 14, 2013 10:19 a.m.

    What about personal choice here? Should people be forced to get married if they don't want to? Let's face it, If the marriage institution does not look like the most desirable choice for many, it is married people who are at fault.

    Regarding dwindling population, immigration is the answer. If our schools can catch up in quality with the rest of the world, people will want to come here and our problem will be solved.

  • amazondoc USA, TN
    April 14, 2013 10:22 a.m.

    @banderson --

    "Marriage between a man and a women is still an institution that you can't meddle with because it is from God."

    Which marriage would that be? Would that be the polygamy that is practiced by so many in the Old Testament? Would that marriage be the Biblical directive to marry your wife's servant when your wife can't get pregnant? Would that marriage be the Biblical order to marry your brother's wife when your brother dies?

    Or are you perhaps talking about those traditional wedding vows, the ones that say "whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God"? You know, the vows given in the Bible by Ruth **to Naomi**??

    Do you plan on following each and every one of those directives? They were from God, after all, so you can't meddle with them -- right?

    If you think gay marriage is a sin, then don't have one. But especially in a world where marriage is declining, it is stupid to deny marriage to people who desperately want it.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    April 14, 2013 10:29 a.m.

    "Women with a bachelor’s degree or higher were less likely to be currently cohabiting and were more likely to be currently married for the first time compared with women

    Women who had a premarital birth and men who fathered a birth before their first marriage had lower probabilities of marrying by age 25 compared with women and men who had a first birth after first marriage. Similarly, women who had a first birth before first marriage and men who fathered a premarital first birth had a lower probability of their first marriage lasting 20 years than women and men whose first birth came after their first marriage. These findings support other research that show the rise in premarital births is associated with the decoupling of marriage and fertility over the past several decades "
    (National Health Statistics, March 2012)

    Areas with higher rates of poverty have lower levels of educational attainment, lower age of first marriages, higher divorce rates, and more out-of-wedlock births. The degree to which we address poverty and education can have a big impact on society.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    April 14, 2013 11:24 a.m.

    Some people in America are sill trying to make marriage a life-long commitment.

    Others, work against gay marriage.

  • luv2organize Gainesville, VA
    April 14, 2013 12:33 p.m.

    @Salsero - yes, the divorce rate is at 50% but did you know that it is 50% greater for those that marry that once lived together? Thus, increasing the odds of divorce significantly. I grew up in a single parent family because of a death. For those of you who think that one parent is enough in the household you just don't get it because you just haven't lived it.

  • SammyB Provo, UT
    April 14, 2013 12:51 p.m.

    So many of these comments are off course. This is not a discussion about gay marriage and it is starting to seem like this topic is becoming a hammer that knocks its way into almost any discussion. Now back to the real issue, co-habitating before marriage.

    For years, as I studied in my field, I searched for what I believed was the bottom line of reality in everything from science to the success of a family and the society that was built on families as cells are built from atoms. I finally put my finger on it (as have many others). The bottom line of reality is 'Order versus Chaos'. Our society will fail if there is chaos in its most basic foundational structure...the family. Things are not built top down, but foundation first or all will crumble.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    April 14, 2013 2:53 p.m.

    Hutterite and others: Ignore everything in the article by proposing something that is ironic indeed, gay marriage, as a way to strengthen families. Think of it, solve a problem with something that can't by its nature contribute to solving it. I doubt we will get beyond that question until God returns and or society is in such chaos that people will begin the process of returning back to Him. I

  • DN Subscriber 2 SLC, UT
    April 14, 2013 3:36 p.m.

    It is not that the familial unit is weakening, it is that it is being redefined.

    Not longer is the "family" a mom, dad, kids and grandparents.

    Now, the new "family" is a breeding female, one or more sperm donors, a litter of offspring that no one really cares for or raises, but the patriarch of this "family" is the beneficent government, all caring and all providing with no strings attached. Of course, the taxpayers funding all of this have no way to set any standards of behavior, or judgmental old-fashioned criteria like used to be applied in traditional families.

    No, times are changing, and not for the better.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    April 14, 2013 3:47 p.m.

    Action? Doing what? Telling people to go get married? So when that's failed, what's your plan?
    There is a direct correlation between marriage and education, and marriage and poverty. And the income gap in our country is huge, and getting bigger. So let's talk about income equality.

  • amazondoc USA, TN
    April 14, 2013 3:47 p.m.

    @banderson --

    "Ignore everything in the article by proposing something that is ironic indeed, gay marriage, as a way to strengthen families. Think of it, solve a problem with something that can't by its nature contribute to solving it. "

    The strength of families is about a whole lot more than biological relationships. If you don't believe it, just ask some of the millions of infertile straight couples who have created strong families over the years, through adoption or other means.

    Family strength is about love, and commitment, and stability, and supporting those around you. And those things have nothing to do with your gender or sexual orientation.

    More than 100,000 gay couples in this country are **already** raising children. Those ARE families, whether you wish to acknowledge them or not. We have the power to help those families -- to help them become stronger and more stable -- by recognizing the right of those loving gay couples to be married. Marriage helps to make families stronger. And making families stronger makes society stronger. That's true whether you are straight or gay.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    April 14, 2013 3:49 p.m.

    Gay marriage is 'off topic' when it comes to the topic of marriage?

    Ok.

    When you talk about marriage do you make the distinction between 'white' marriage and 'interracial' marriages?

  • Cedarite Cedar City, UT
    April 14, 2013 4:10 p.m.

    The population of the United States has gone up 100 million since I was a kid and I'm not that old. I don't think underpopulation is a problem at this point and expect to see this country reach half a billion in population should I live to be old.

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Salt Lake City, UT
    April 14, 2013 5:34 p.m.

    Our moral credibility and well-being rests not only with our understanding of the responsibility we have to our families, but also with our application of that knowledge.

    Without adhering to building codes we would have structurally unsound and unsafe buildings. The same is true of morality. We are losing confidence in our belief in that which is right. This needs to change if we are to succeed.

    President Boyd K. Packer reminded us recently that the world we live in is ever dangerous, where even the most fundamental organization of our existence is under attack. I agree. The building block of human happiness is being threatened. We must apply ourselves and reinforce our moral structure as a people in order to foster happiness for the human family.

    Tolerating the constant buffeting against the family and the weakening of laws to permit immorality "does not reduce the serious spiritual consequence that is the result of the violation of God’s law of chastity." We have the choice to misuse our agency. We can tear down the laws, codes and morals that have sustained us and erect the opposite... but we cannot pick and choose the consequences.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    April 14, 2013 6:29 p.m.

    In an article not long ago, it was reported that married men earn more than unmarried men: a "marriage premium".

    Mostly ignored in that same article was a statement about a corresponding "marriage penalty" for women: married women earn less than unmarried women.

    Sociologists and other observers have long decried how marriage "oppresses" and "subjugates" women.

    In the name of marriage, women forego educational and career opportunities, and subordinate themselves to their husbands by subordinating their educations and careers to their husbands’.

    In many “traditional” marriages, because men “earn the living,” women are placed on an allowance, while the men spend on their own hobbies and interests: motorcycles, golf, workshops, big trucks, boats, guns, horses, hunting, etc.

    Women often get married, work to support their husbands through college, break themselves down and wear themselves out having babies, then their husbands run off with a younger woman from the office, leaving them high and dry.

    Why would any self-respecting woman want to get caught in and exploited by such a no-win, high-risk proposition?

  • jeanie orem, UT
    April 14, 2013 9:18 p.m.

    A Scientist - aren't you married? It seems you have stated that you are in previous posts. Is your wife exploited by such a no-win, high-risk proposition?

    You do your gender a dis-service. There are many men out there who are loyal and appreciative and truly see the money they bring in as belonging to the family and not to them. They love their wives and find happiness in her comfort.

    I believe our popular culture fails to teach women how to find a quality man or what one even looks like. This may account for the "marriage penalty", not marriage its self.

    If a woman makes a wise decision in a marriage partner her life is more stable, rewarding and happy than she could imagine. She has a best friend by her side through the challenges and joys of life. She is not alone when she grows old.

    Why would a self-respecting woman not take advantage of such a fulfilling proposition?

  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    April 14, 2013 9:46 p.m.

    @ jeanie

    On the outside chance that a girl doesn't hit the lottery and latch onto a "quality man", doesn't it make sense for her to go to college and get a quality education? And even if she does find that quality man, doesn't it make sense to still get that education, because middle class wages have stagnated for the past couple decades and that quality man might not be able to do it all himself? And if she does, and then graduates with massive student debt (because as we all know, while wages were stagnating, tuition was skyrocketing) isn't it prudent to work a few years to pay it down before having several kids?

    My obvious point is that the world has changed dramatically since most of the posters here were young and there are many pressures and situations today that make waiting to settle down an understandable (and perhaps wise and prudent) thing to do.

  • justamacguy Manti, UT
    April 14, 2013 10:04 p.m.

    Those that are pitching gay marriage as a stable solution had better look at the statistics for gay partnerships. 80% of gay partnerships dissolve in the first 5 years. If stability is the important factor. Gay partnerships are statistically a colossal failure.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    April 14, 2013 10:12 p.m.

    Wastintime - I was advocating for marriage, not uneducated women. I have a college degree, my husband has a college degree. We both have jobs. We did not go into very much debt for our educations. We worked and paid as we went, like my kids are doing now.

    Waiting to settle down is not the issue. Living together before marrying or just living together without getting married is and I reject The Scientist's characterization on marriage being "a no-win, high-risk proposition" for women.

    Women need to be wise about who they choose to marry and they dramatically up their chances of winning the "marriage lottery"- if you want to categorize it that way.

  • frugalfly PULLMAN, WA
    April 14, 2013 10:40 p.m.

    Not all marriages are equal. Gay marriage will never be equal to heterosexual marriage because it isn't the foundation for society because it can't reproduce society and it doesn't have the sexual/gender diversity of traditional marriage. This article treats an even more important danger to marriage and thus society and that is divorce, cohabitation and resultant impact on children. The danger of Gay marriage isn't destruction of traditional marriage it is the endangerment of the first amendment and the right to free religious expression/practice. The real endangerment to traditional marriage is cohabitation, divorce, children born out of wedlock, abuse, and abortion. In a free society you can't force or punish those who freely chose to not participate in a traditional family. But that shouldn't stop society from teaching the ideal and presenting the facts. The ideal building block of society is committed heterosexual marriage that encourages/practices committed heterosexual marriage and the responsible creation/upbringing of the next generation. No government, no program, no institution, no religion can replace what a functioning family (or the closest thing possible to a traditional functioning family) can do for society.

  • amazondoc USA, TN
    April 15, 2013 7:42 a.m.

    @justamacguy --

    "80% of gay partnerships dissolve in the first 5 years."

    Actually, in states and countries where gay marriage is legal, the gay divorce rate is usually the **same as** or *lower than* the straight divorce rate.

    A few facts from wikipedia:

    "The vast majority of gay marriages in Denmark are male-male, and only 14 percent of these end in divorce, compared to 23 percent of female marriages. " (Remember, the divorce rate in the US is **50%**)

    "The divorce rate of same-sex couples within 30 months of the introduction of legally binding civil partnerships was slightly less than one percent in the United Kingdom."

    "As of 2011, for states with available data, dissolution rates for same sex couples are slightly lower on average than divorce rates of different-sex couples."

    From other sites:

    "in 2011, 4 out of the 10 states with the lowest divorce rates recognized same-sex marriages, with Iowa having the lowest divorce rate in the nation."

    " About 1% of the total number of currently-married or registered same-sex couples get divorced each year, in comparison to about 2% of the total number of married straight couples."

  • Contrarius Lebanon, TN
    April 15, 2013 7:48 a.m.

    @frugalfly --

    "Gay marriage ....isn't the foundation for society because it can't reproduce society and it doesn't have the sexual/gender diversity of traditional marriage."

    Gay unions "reproduce society" in the very same way that infertile straight couples do. More than 100,000 gay couples are **already** raising children in this country alone.

    Multiple national groups of child-development experts have announced their support for gay marriages. They -- the **experts**, mind you -- realize that children grow up just fine in gay-run families. NO groups of child-development experts oppose gay marriage.

    Gay couples offer just as much to society as infertile straight couples. If you dismiss gay couples as supposedly offering nothing to society, you'll have to dismiss the infertile couples as well.

    "The danger of Gay marriage isn't destruction of traditional marriage it is the endangerment of the first amendment and the right to free religious expression/practice."

    Gay marriage doesn't endanger the right to free religious expression any more than legalized alcohol does. If you think drinking alcohol is a sin, then don't do it. If you think gay marriage is a sin, then don't have one. It's really very simple.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    April 15, 2013 10:47 a.m.

    "The report, released earlier this month, found that 48 percent of women are living in cohabitation with a significant other outside the bonds of marriage."

    ===========

    I've never been dicorved,
    but I know plently of men who have.

    Let's see....
    Men get financially ruined in divorce cases.
    They are ALWAYS deemed guilty until proven innocent.
    And after found innocent, they are still held financailly liable.

    Marriage puts men in a no-win situation.

    There's an old saying:

    Burn me once shame on you,
    Burn me twice, shame on me.

    ===========

    BTW,
    I'm curious....

    After many divorces,
    Some women heterosexual women enter lesbian relationships.

    I'm curious as to how many of that 48% represets them?
    Being denied marriage and all....

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    April 20, 2013 2:33 a.m.

    Americans hesitant to marry or have more kids?

    So then stop condoning illegal immigration, Deseret News.

    It is pertinent to the present story. Because of illegal immigration, many American families suffer financially in a way that severely limits them in their ability to marry with confidence and have as many kids as they would like.