Note: In this 10 part series, Richard and Linda explore various aspects of the most important institution and commitment in the history of society-Marriage. Some of the articles analyze what is happening to marriage today, while others suggest ways to strengthen marriage. Each article is headlined with a question. The series will run in Meridian for 10 consecutive days. Your comments are welcome.
Starting in the infamous 60’s, certain parts of the hippie culture and the intellectual establishment began their chorus against marriage. It subjugated and demeaned women, we heard, and it promoted an unequal and patriarchal society.
Furthermore, as the chorus continued into the 70’s and 80’s, marriage was portrayed as an old fashioned and outdated institution. Who needs a ceremony and a certificate to love each other or to have children? And who says “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage?” Why can’t we have those three things in any order we want, and why even bother with the marriage one at all?
Marriage was for dummies, and for non-thinkers, and folks that were so traditional that they just couldn’t think of anything to do other than what their parents and grandparents did.
And guess what? As the years passed, more and more people believed the chorus and started singing along. Marriage rates plummeted. Cohabitation rates soared. And quickly increasing percentages decided they didn’t need either, and that staying single and living alone was the way to have real freedom and individual rights and keep all your options open.
The marriage nay-sayers were winning. Big time! The statistics and trends prove it.
But wait! Then along came the gay marriage movement and suddenly those same groups, the cultural elite, the intellectuals, the progressives, the liberals… discovered that marriage was actually a very desirable thing, a very important thing, an honor and a privilege and a right so dear and so relevant that it should not be denied or withheld from anyone, even from anyone who wanted to change its whole definition and meaning.
So we now live with the supreme irony that the gay movement desires, values, and demands marriage, while the broader society more and more dismisses it as irrelevant.
Let’s say that in another way-two realities exist: First that the gay rights movement values marriage more and more. Second, that the rest of society values it less and less.
Now, here is our take: We should be more worried about the second reality than the first.
Simply because it is bigger! Choosing not to get married, either in favor of staying single or cohabitating directly affects 20 or 30 times as many people as gay marriage. (60% as opposed to 2 or 3%)
Certainly those who believe in the sanctity, the history, and the importance of traditional marriage should fight AGAINST its redefinition, but we should also fight the bigger battle FOR the re-enshrinement, the re-popularizing, and the re-prioritizing of marriage as know it and believe it.
We need a movement of our own. A MARRIAGE MOVEMENT that stands for and rallies in favor of the most fulfilling and most joyful lifestyle ever conceived.
“Movements” are usually about minorities who seek fairness and justice and progress, so how could we create a movement for something as traditional and universal as traditional marriage?
Well, guess what: We are now a minority-a distinct minority. The majority is now those who are abandoning marriage by choosing cohabitation or singleness or who divorce or redefine marriage.
Send any interest or ideas you have about a MARRIAGE MOVEMENT to us at