NOM BLOG

Category Archives: Cohabitation

For a Strong Future, Children Deserve Committed, Married Mothers and Fathers

The importance of marriage to society is an irrevocable truth: for a society to even survive, there must be children. For children to be born, there must be fathers and mothers. For fatherhood and motherhood to exist, there must be commitment and sacrifice that will designate the male and female as a new union that will give society the needed foundation to flourish. That bond is marriage.

Dr. Scott Stanley examines a recent study showing that children with married parents are better off than children with unmarried parents.

Mother-Father-ChildTheir findings show that the association between marriage and positive child outcomes may be substantially accounted for by greater income and more engaged parenting among marrieds. Based on this, they argue that intervention efforts should focus on parenting and not on marriage, per se.

But Scott Hanley points out that marriage is more than a “mere commitment device” or a superfluous relationship status:

Signals of commitment are important across a wide swath of societal life because people will often make better decisions with clearer information about the level of motivation in others,iii and signals about commitment are, arguably, of great importance in the development and maintenance of romantic and family relationships. Reeves seems to be arguing that the signal value of marriage is not as consequential as behaviors such as parenting, but what that view fails to account for is how marriage has most typically been a potent signal of commitment with a distinct placement regarding the sequence and timing of childbearing. At the root of it, what is signaled by marriage is a commitment comprised of “us with a future.”v Sure, reality has very often been messier than the tidy ordering of love, marriage, and a baby carriage; and many marriages do not go the distance. But marriage is likely, in some large respect, explanatory regarding child outcomes because marriage most often is a strong and credible signal of commitment prior to childbirth.

[. . .]

While not always, and perhaps less so now than before, marriage serves as a strong signal that two people are tacitly committed to raising a family together. Further, and for more complex reasons than I want to develop here, signals are the most informative when they are fully under the control of those sending them—by which I mean, when the behavior has Family at Coffee Shopfewer prior constraints so that it reflects something true about the individual. That means that signals about commitment are more informative before a child arrives than after because having a child increases life constraints. When marriage precedes two people having a child, the question of intention about a shared long-term time horizon was settled before things got messy with baby drool and poop. For couples with this foundation already in place, even unplanned and mistimed children are still landing in a relatively rich context regarding bi-parental commitment. One can (and should) believe that various socio-economic disadvantages govern a lot in this big lottery of life, but we should not lose sight of how sequence plays a consequential and causal role in child outcomes.

Families are the foundation of society, and the devaluing of marriage has consequences that reach every male, female, and child, as well as future generations. Without marriage, “family” becomes a simple collection of cohabitants, and couples are no longer the building blocks that create and sustain those families, but simply a joint agreement.

Marriage is, indeed, fading in front of our eyes, and with it goes a lot of signal clarity about commitment in the context of sequence. Maybe those elements can be constructed behaviorally on a broad scale, but we should recognize the difficulty we face in trying to make up for the loss of something with real explanatory power.

For a strong future, children should be provided with the best environment possible: a family, with committed, married mother and father.

Read more at family-studies.org.

"My Two Husbands": Salon Gives Glowing Account of Multi-Spouse Marriages

Back in April, an author for Slate argued that polygamy is the natural next step for "marriage equality". Now, Salon is extolling the virtues of multi-spouse marriage with their piece on a woman who has been married for 16 years to her husband, but also has a boyfriend whom she plans to marry in a “non-legal” way. The slippery slope has arrived:

MyTwoHusbandsSame-sex “marriage” proponents have always scoffed at the idea that redefining marriage would open the door for multi-spouse marriages. “My Two Husbands” by Angi Becker Stevens, not only argues for “poly-amorous” unions but continues to scoff at the foolish “right wing” people who expected people to go there.

The author uses her 9-year-old daughter to deflect criticism. Her daughter dutifully and understandably repeats the adult arguments for same-sex marriage and applies them to her family.

In the style of such articles, the author doesn’t make a case against monogamous marriage on principle, or for multi-spouse “marriage” on principle. Instead, she presents the facts of a particular situation as a fait accompli and challengesyou to argue why it is not so. She felt repressed before and says “I am more fulfilled now and living in a way that feels authentic for me.”

Polyamorous Car FamilyApply a simple thought experiment, and her argument starts to wither. Imagine the article being written by a man bringing a “girlfriend” into his life and convincing his wife to tolerate it. Or imagine a Mormon talking about his repressed relationship with God instead of a political activist talking about her repressed human relationships. Salon wouldn’t have published those pieces.

But they did publish this one.

Because “love makes a marriage” now. And to say otherwise means you’re a hater.

Study: Births to Cohabiting Couples Dramatically Increase

The Baptist Press reports on a new study by the National Center for Health Statistics:

The number of babies born to unmarried couples who are living together in America has increased dramatically during the past decade, according to a new report by the National Center for Health Statistics.

"We were a little surprised in such a short time period to see these increases," Gladys Martinez, a demographer and the lead author of the report, said.

About 23 percent of the reported births in the study -- based on face-to-face interviews of 22,000 men and women from 2006 through 2010 -- were to unmarried heterosexual couples who were cohabiting when the child was born. In 2002, the figure from a similar study was 14 percent.

Family Psychologist: The Real "Father Problem" is the Marriage-Absence Problem

Family psychologist John Rosemond in OneNewsNow:

"...Girls who grow up in father-absent homes are more likely, as teenagers, to become pregnant. In that case, they're likely to be single mothers who raise their children in father-absent homes, perpetuating and compounding the original problem. And the wheel keeps on turnin'.

Name the problem and it's almost a certainty that kids from father-absent homes are significantly more at risk for it. Even though the above litany was meant to be mind-boggling, consider that I had to be selective. Newspapers don't give me enough space to do more than scratch the surface.

But here's something that's not often talked about: Children of unmarried, cohabiting parents are at higher risk for most of these same problems as well. That means the real problem isn't so much the absence of a father in the life of a child; it's the absence of a husband. More specifically, it's the absence of a marriage..."

UK Critics Say Tax System Partially to Blame for Number of Single Parents

The UK Christian Institute:

More British children are being raised by single parents because the tax and benefit system “encourages transient shack-ups”.

One in five British children live with a single mother or father. This figure is some 35 per cent higher than in Germany and 50 per cent higher than in France.

Researcher and author Patricia Morgan points out that these are the countries whose tax and benefits systems reward parents who stay together.

She said: “You can look at these figures and see immediately which countries help couples through tax and benefits.

“In France, people get help if they draw up legal family contracts. In Germany, Holland and Italy, married people get tax relief and tax relief for children.”

She added: “By contrast, our system encourages transient shack-ups.”

"I've Failed My Children by Refusing to Marry Their Father, Even Though They Begged Me To"

Louise Greenfield puts a human face on the cohabitation epidemic in the UK Daily Mail:

"...we were like an increasing number of middle-class couples who co-habit, have children and see no reason to formalise their shared commitment to a lifelong future with a wedding ceremony.

And yet, it seems it wasn’t enough. Because despite all those years together, and all those children, David and I are now in the process of splitting up. We are divorcing without ever having married.

..herein lies an uncomfortable thought. While it pains me to say so, I can’t help thinking that our situation might have been different if we’d got married.

For years, I told myself — and others — that marriage for me was just a word, a formality, and that David and I were as close as any married couple. Now I’m not so sure. Maybe, if we had made a proper commitment in front of our friends and loved ones, if we had said those binding, meaningful words, we might not be in this situation.