Thursday July 15, 2010 | Modern Marriage

July 13, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Posted in Coming Up | 13 Comments

Marriage is changing, and not necessarily for the political or ideological reasons we may think. More and more couples are eschewing the institution of marriage and the notion of family is taking on new meanings as well. Jessica Bennett co-wrote a fascinating article at the fading institution of marriage as we know it. Dr. Philip Cohen, quoted in the article, studies marriage and relationships at UNC Chapel Hill. They join us to talk about why more and more people are saying “I don’t” instead of “I do.”
Dr. Philip Cohen – Associate Professor, Sociology at UNC Chapel Hill
Jessica Bennett – Contributor, Newsweek Magazine

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  1. Marriage is one of the foundational pillars of a healthy, civilized society. As it has declined in The West does it surprise anyone that our civilization has become increasingly uncivilized and unhealthy?

  2. Me and my partner of 8 years own a successful salon in Charlotte. Many of our clients who know us well often ask our opinion of the federal ban on same-sex marriage and equally feel it is wrong to deny us that right. We want the American dream. We want to be able to get married and have that big house with a couple of kids playing in the yard, and that is why it is so important to us. I myself know a lot of very loving gay couples who are extremely eager to get married. Some say pretending is the closest they’ll ever get.
    This is a big group of people — 10 percent of the population of the United States — having the right to make whatever choice is best for them. It’s about hospital visitation rights and end-of-life care. It’s about being able to adopt a child with the person you love.It’s a big deal that this minority group is treated unequally by the law. I can only hope that one day I my family want be treated like second class citizens.

    • correction -“I can only hope that one day my family will not be treated like second class citizens.”

      • Sooner the better, Sara. Hooray for Argentina!

  3. I’m in my mid 20s and have chosen to push off marriage for now. Yet I HATE the term “boyfriend.” We are committed to each other and pay the mortgage together, but since we are not married, I introduce him as my boyfriend. It feels juvenile, and I almost feel the need to explain that it’s more than that. Oh and my mother, who is divorced and in her 50s has the same dilemma introducing her partner!

  4. We have been watching a societal shift from community toward individualism —
    • personal transportation instead of public transportation
    • individual rights vs. community rights.
    ‘Looking out for number one’ has taken precedence over sharing responsibility for the common good. It requires commitment in the easy and tough times to accomplish the highest goals. I do not advocate marriage because I am ‘committed to an institution,’ I advocate marriage because I am COMMITTED TO A PERSON (her well-being and happiness) who shares that same promise. Marriage offers that permanency.

    Yes, it calls for sacrifice at times. But it has the benefit of making me a less selfish person. And together we have been able to accomplish much more than either of us could separately.

    It is true that some make promises and fail. Chalk that up to human nature. But I would rather become emotionally, financially and socially involved (inter-tangled) with someone who is willing to make that commitment than with a person who is afraid of or resistant to such a promise.

    • “individual rights vs. community rights.”

      The country was founded on individual rights. There’s been no shift. That doesn’t make one selfish just free.

      “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”
      —C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock

  5. Regarding Sara’s comment of “10 percent of the population” being gay, this is a persistent myth. Not that I am against your right to marriage, but that number is not correct.

    • Translation (of satirist Lewis above): Sadism is normal and good for victims. (Author of Screwtape Letters, attributed to Satan, often stated the inverse of morality)

      I think that the perception that one should help friends and family who hardly need assistance while leaving others to perish is a grave error. Spouses should lift one another in a teamship of ethical aspiration, not test affection. How else can a couple mature?

    • It depends upon what “gay” means. A loose definition is that the majority of men would accept oral sex from another male.(Includes Christian clergy: Ted Haggert, Jim Bakker) Most women find comfort in the sensuality of female bodily contact. If gay is then “bad”; humanity is a naughty bunch. If there were no repercussions in society I think the majority of people would identify as either gay/lesbian or bisexual with heterosexuality (exclusively) constituting a 25% minority.

      I wonder how Brad reacts to gay or bisexual imagery. Maybe he’s part of a small minority.

      • I was only commenting on the myth that one out of 10 people is exclusively homosexual, as it is a far smaller number. There was no judgment in my comment. I couldn’t care less whom some are attracted to. It is like the myth that a billion people watch the Academy Awards, when barely 20 million watch the show in the US.

      • Is watching the Academy Awards indicative of gayness?

        “Promises, promises, I’m all through with promises, promises now! I don’t know how… I got the guts, to ‘come out.’ If I shout, remember, I feel free. Now I can look at myself, and be proud. I’m laughin’ out loud!”
        (B. Bacharach/H. David)

        Is watching fake pro wrestling indicative of homophobic latent homosexuality? Probably!

  6. At 54 I’ve only been married 3 years. I said my vows on my death bed, but survived for love. My wife Gladdie is the Boss of our relationship and I feel lucky to have the stability her guidance provides. She’s 2″ taller in flats but doesn’t make me wear lifts. You should’ve got that divorce 20 years ago, Gladiola. We could have been so happy. But then the settlement has been good too. Be thankful for what you get, I guess.

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