Some Guy Ticked off At Recent NY Times Article about Declining Divorce Rate Declares that Marriage Still Doing Crummy and the Fam-bly Still Endangered

Some Guy Ticked off At Recent NY Times Article about Declining Divorce Rate Declares that Marriage Still Doing Crummy and the Fam-bly Still Endangered

Some guy wrote an editorial in response to an article by the NY Times. He seems pretty ticked off by the NYT article.

Here is that guy’s editorial ~ I am assuming this guy is a social conservative, though I may be wrong about that:

(Link): Sorry, New York Times: The state of marriage in America is not good

I wrote about the NYT article here – this is what this guy is hacked off about:

(Link):  The Divorce Surge Is Over, but the Myth Lives On – article from the New York Times

I happen to be a social conservative.

I assume Mr. Critic is also one.

But still, I think some so cons are wrong some times about things. Lord knows the majority of social conservatives put way, way too much emphasis on the importance of, or roles or, parenthood, marriage natalism, and “the family” in culture.

I cannot understand why some people get so angry or worked up about marriage failure or rising divorce rates news reports.

The sun will continue to rise each day, regardless if fewer people marry or stay married, so it’s beyond me why some of these guys get so worked up over divorce rates (or in this case, this guy is ticked off over a report saying the divorce has lowered among some segments of the nation) and so on.

A lot of Christians and conservatives act as though marriage saves people. The Bible does not teach that marriage saves people or makes culture better.

Off the top of my head, the only stuff the NT says regarding marriage is that

  • 1. it’s better to marry (have sex with a spouse) than burn with lust
  • 2. being single is better because marriage is a pain in the ass and detracts from Gospel work (see 1 Cor 7)
  • 3. and, IIRC, the Bible may say at one point that marriage is one kind of image of humanity’s relationship with God, or whatever

Other than that, the Bible does not speak of marriage too much, and it certainly does not apply a salvific role to marriage.

The Bible does not say that culture will be saved or made better if everyone marries, stays married,  and has a kid. 

(You can argue that it’s your opinion that studies seem to show that the nuclear family makes for a stronger culture or something, but I’m saying THE BIBLE does not make that claim.)

The Bible says that the only thing that saves a person from his/her sin and the only thing that changes a life is the acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior.

It’s Jesus that does the saving and the Holy Spirit that does the changing, not being married or having children.

Here are excerpts from the cranky guy’s editorial.

Sorry, New York Times: The state of marriage in America is not good
  • The data says divorce is on the decline. But that doesn’t mean the institution of marriage is thriving.
  • by Michael Doughetry
  • …It turns out that this bit of good news from the Times‘ hard-nosed ledger sniffers turns out to be a Styles section trend piece in disguise. Let’s start with the big sell of the article, the assertion that “marriages in this country are stronger today than they have been in a long time.” But that’s actually a rather limited observation.
  • Yes, the marriages that do happen do not break up as quickly or as often as marriages from 30 years ago. But the truth is that family instability continues to worsen in the United States. As David Frum pointed out, a declining divorce rate is perfectly consistent with an ever-falling rate of marriage and a rising rate of out-of-wedlock childbirth.
  • …Then there are problems with the details of the article. The Upshot writes that 5 percent more marriages from the 1990s are reaching their 15th anniversary intact than marriages from the 1980s and 70s.
  • Alas, that stat says too little when you take into account the larger story of marriage’s decline. In 1956, the rate of out-of-wedlock births among non-Hispanic whites was 1.9 percent. In 1990 it was 16.9 percent.
  • Now it is around 30 percent. The rate of out-of-wedlock births among blacks is much worse, a telling indicator of where those with lower incomes are headed.

    And, as a side note, even a 15th anniversary is no guarantee of lifelong commitment. See the rise of elder divorce.

  • …What of The Upshot‘s claim (echoed by others) that marriage has become more successful now that love, thanks to the sexual revolution, has become the ultimate criteria for marriage? The idea is that, once for all, people have put aside concerns about property, dowries, and estates and embraced companionate marriage.

    This claim is risible. The idea that most marriages were previously loveless, or at least stitched together with much greater indifference to love, is a self-flattering fantasy that recurs constantly.

  • …It’s a downer, I know. But far from a trendline of unqualified marital bliss, the prospects for marriage look bleak. And the improved prospects for a certain class of married person may not be caused by liberal values at all, but may be a side effect of concentrated inequality.

    The real trend is that marriage is for richer, not poorer

I’m going to address this from the typical Christian view. Have no idea if the author is a Christian or not. But typically, Christians (and social conservatives) get in a tizzy over this kind of crap, just as this guy is doing.

Many Christians wrongly assume that the Christian faith will die out unless Christians marry and birth out Christian babies.

Let me explain something. If every single Christian refrained from marriage and baby making, Christianity would not die. Christianity is not dependent upon if Christians marry or have children.

Jesus taught in Matthew Ch 10, and in a few other places, that the family of origin is no longer in a place of prominence, that it should not be, that Christians were supposed to share the Gospel with Non-Christian people. That is how the message stays alive.

At no time did Jesus advise Christians to keep the faith going by marrying and having children.

Children birthed to Christian parents does not mean they will become Christians.

Look at me. I was a Christian my whole life, was reared by two traditional Christian parents, was taken to Sunday School weekly as a kid, but have been flirting with agnosticism these last two years. There are some people who grow up in Christian families who reject the faith to become atheists or Druids or whatever.

A Christian couple popping out a kid or two does not guarantee a steady or increase in the number of Christians.

If you are a right wing, Republican, social conservative, and you marry and have a kid, your kid may grow up to be a feminist, atheist, liberal.

Just because the parents are X, does not mean any kids they have will also be X. The kids may reject X to go after or believe in Z.

The cranky guy who wrote this editorial acts as though the NY Times article neglected to mention some of the issues with marriage and divorce today, but it did mention some of those things.

I notice that the editorial goes on about kids being raised in “two biological parent” households fare better. What of single, Christian parents who adopt? They are sometimes allowed to adopt. Is this author saying a kid raised by an unmarried, Christian adult is going to end up horribly in life?

Here are some comments by people at the bottom of the page by the cranky critic guy – I note that several of the conservatives who have left comments on the page seem to feel that a person’s only options in life are to marry or to have out of wedlock kids.

None of these people recognize the biblical option of remaining single and celibate over one’s life ~ they think you either marry and pop out a kid, or have a kid out of wedlock. There doesn’t seem to be any other options considered by anyone in the comments (or the original article):

Reader comments:

by KeinJunkMail 

  • The utility of marriage has changed over time. I don’t think that the institution of marriage exists because mankind was short of expressions of love. It was formed primarily as device to guarantee the protection of
    (1) Women. In agrarian society, especially without public welfare, women were in real danger of not being able to materially support themselves. To ask her to give the best years of her life to have and raise children without a contractual guarantee of support was unworkable for most of society’s history.
    (2) Children. Dads who abandon their offspring now really harm them and society but nothing like the days before a public social system.
  • The world has changed. Women can now take care of themselves materially. Many couples are having no children. It comes as no surprise that less people see the value of marriage. I still see the legal contract as valuable for protecting children as a social matter. Childless couples though can probably confirm their commitment and affection without the help of the government these days–it is not the same social issue, it once was.


  • Thanks for raining on the parade, Mr. Dougherty. Your article proves again that you can prove any point you’d like to make by selecting data that fits your need. What I see in recent years is couples from all walks of life waiting longer to wed, start families, and henceforth stay committed. They have learned from the mistakes of their elders through keen observation and experience, and are striving to do better.


  • Instead of trying to force more people into marriage through propaganda, educational subversion, and bribery (gimmes)…why not instead smash the underlying financial support structure that makes “marriage” somehow a higher, more nobler condition than simple companionship?


  • What underlying support structure? Two people combining their finances in a single household will be better off financially than they would individually. It’s not a social construct, it’s math.


  • While it may be so that “children do best in intact, two–biological parent homes,” those biological parents do not have to be married, and 10 percent of cohabiting couples are just as committed for the long haul as many married folks allege to be. Divorce is not the problem; it’s conflict, and that occurs in divorced couples as well as intact families (as per Paul Amato’s studies).
  • According to te groundbreaking work of Maria Kefalas and Kathryn Edin in “Promises I Can Keep,” the lower socioeconomic “out of wedlock” (can we please be rid of that shame-based, judgmental term?) moms are much more conservative when it comes to marriage and divorce than the upper socioeconomic class; they don’t want to divorce, and that’s why they don’t marry the father of their kids who often isn’t marriage material.
  • While you quote Mount’s book, Stephanie Coontz’s extensive research and books, including “Marriage, A History,” point to the opposite of Mount’s findings.
  • Once marriages became love-based versus property, inheritance, etc. (that may have included a smattering of love, too), the institution became fragile. We are seeing that today. But, thankfully, we have more options today than ever before — women do not need to marry to have financial security. That is a good thing.
  • A recent Pew study indicated 4 out of 10 newlyweds have been married before, and guess what — those with just a high school education are more likely to divorce and marry again than the college educated. If society really wants to “save marriage,” create policies that help people get educated and secure good jobs.
  • “And our only proximate hope is that the rest of America will try to imitate the slightly better marriage patterns of the rich and famous.”,
  • have you paid any attention to the marriage rates of the rich and famous? Here’s to hoping children being raised today imitate them as little as possible.
  • Marriage has always been in good shape among the liberal commie atheist Catholics of Massachusetts. The divorce epidemic and the wife beating hot man on dog incest action is all down in the Bible Belt where you people shriek the shriek but fail to walk the walk.

    News Flash: Mr. Dougherty, the man who cannot accept yes as an answer, proves marriage, consistent with the last several thousand years, continues to evolve.


    I don’t see how anyone can argue against the obvious, observable truth that the primary reason for fewer divorces is fewer marriages, with the implicaton that a lower divorce rate (as opposed to lower absolute number of divorces) is due to the same trend, in that fewer marriages would imply people being more selective in their choice of marriage partner, and that getting married later (and wiser) in life eliminates proportiantly the divorces that happen earlier in life. If you’re not married until your 30’s, you can’t get divorced in your 20’s.

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