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National Marriage Week — or National Marriage Weak?

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By Tony Perkins

It may be National Marriage Week, but America needs a national marriage year! With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, fewer people may be popping the question than ever, researchers say. Marriage rates have been on a steady decline, data shows. Over the past 50 years, married households have dropped from a high of 72% in 1960 to just half of all homes today.

Although marriage is still booming with college-educated couples, only 48% of Americans without degrees tied the knot — leaving a huge gap, experts say, in wealth. Of course, that’s the irony. The problems of marriage and money are directly related. Marriage itself — the commitment, the sense of responsibility — is what makes people work harder, be more productive, save more, etc.

There have been plenty of other articles pointing out that people increasingly see marriage as a reward for economic success. Instead, it should be seen as the foundation of it. As FRC’s MARRI team will tell you: “Our economic growth is and will continue to be a fraction of that of the pre-1960s era because of the breakdown in marriage… Married families are the essential contributors to the wealth generation. Their income and savings immediately translate into revenue for government and capital for the economy… Because we need a society of savers and investors, we need a society of stable, married families.”

One of the problems is the decline of the belief that marriage is the only acceptable gateway to sex, so it’s almost inevitable that we’ve seen a decline in marriage. If men, in particular, can get sex from women without having to offer the commitment involved in marriage in return, a lot of them will do so!

But note the hypocrisy of the educated elites. They’re the ones who have publicized and popularized the notion of free love and denigrated the necessity of marriage — but they don’t practice what they preach, instead continuing to marry. The lower classes, on the other hand, have believed what they were told by these elites, and choose cohabitation and serial casual relationships over marriage — and they are the ones paying the price.

If there is a silver lining, it’s that Americans still want to marry. In 2013, only 5% of people said they didn’t want to tie the knot. Let’s hope that spurs a greater conversation about natural marriage’s importance — not just to individuals, but to society as a whole.

Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.

(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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