Civic Papers

Marriage and Families in America

Marriage in our society today has drastically changed from the beginning of our country. No longer is marriage viewed as a binding contract between two individuals; but as a status and therefore able to be terminated at will.

In the founders view of marriage; each person had a distinct role to play within the family. Women were viewed as the homemakers, irreplaceable in their role of bringing forth and raising up the next generation. Men were the protectors and providers of the family; devoting their lives to protecting the more vulnerable women so they could fulfill their role in bringing up the next generation.

The founders thought of marriage as a binding contract. The rules of the contract were between one man and one woman. It was a promise of fidelity; a promise for life. It was incredibly hard for a couple to get a divorce back then. Not to mention the shame it would bring to the family. Today, there is no shame in a couple divorcing; in fact our society encourages it!

The deconstruction of marriage began when people decided that they needed to romanticize it. Marriage should be about love, not fidelity. This led to an extreme rise in divorce rates, and it also led to more chances for interference by the state or federal government.

Now, marriage is all about love. Once that feeling of being in love leaves, it is fine to go out, get a divorce and love someone else. This is accepted behavior. What is the problem? We have been so focused on everybody’s feelings, that we don’t even know what love is anymore. Love isn’t a feeling; but it can certainly manifest itself in that way. Love is the promise of a commitment to someone else. Love is faithfulness, love is kindness, trust, and patience. Whatever happened to that kind of love in our society? It is hard to come by today.

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