Over at FamilyScholars.org, a researcher named Amber Lapp asked an Ohio waitress/manager "Why do we have marriage?":
“I guess in a way to keep families together. Because if you think about it, if you have a guy and a girl who spend their lives together, or who intend to spend their lives together, if they don’t get married, and have children [while unmarried], it’s too easy of a getaway. . . Maybe it’s more to keep people—or families—together, instead of everybody have a momma and poppa over here and moms here, dads there, you’ve got four step-kids, four regular kids, you know? Yeah, it’d be complicated [without marriage], there’d be kids all over the frickin’ place. Next thing you know you’re dating a third cousin and you don’t even realize it because mom went with this person and dad went with this person and they both split and went with these people. So I think maybe it will, ummm, save a little bit of chaos….I just kind of pulled that out of nowhere…”
Although she might feel as if she just pulled this thought from nowhere, I suspect that much of it comes from personal experience: her brother does shared parenting with his ex-girlfriend, she dated men with children and had to deal with their babies’ mamas, and she had custody over her 15 year old niece when she herself was just 18."