Archive for the ‘Divorce’ Category

Feeling small? Getting involved Can have a BIG impact!

In Abortion, Child Development, Choice, Divorce, Education, Euthanasia, Families, father, Feminism, Free Speech, Freedom, Gender Identity, Human Rights, Marriage, Media, motherhood, Parenting, Religious Freedom, Same-Sex Marriage, Sanctity of Life, Sexual Orientation, The Family, Values on November 2, 2015 at 12:14 pm

WCF9by Erin Weist

The World Congress of Families was held in Salt Lake City last week.  Amid mild protests from pro-LGBT groups, over 3,000 attendees from around the world gathered to support pro-family speech and activism.  Rather than being “anti-LGBT” the conference focused on what has been dubbed the “natural family” or the traditional family.  It seems impossible that any sane person would be “anti-family” but that seems to be the way the world is going.  The groups in attendance at this conference, rather than promote a hateful agenda that strips rights from others, focus on supporting public policy that places the traditional family (a father, mother, and children) at the forefront as the highest possible standard for society.  

Topics for the conference included parenting guides, marriage guides, self-empowerment & the worth of the individual, education regarding the dangers of pornography, support for groups intent on ending sex trafficking around the world, homeschooling, educational ethics, scientific studies behind the pro-life movement, and more.  Most encouraging was the opportunity to be surrounded by people who are not only emotionally invested in very similar ideals & goals, but also going out into their communities to do something about it!  People are looking for the good and doing good in their own part of the world.  

One of the great aspects of this conference was the Emerging Leaders Program.  This inspired program invited young adults (mostly university age) from around the world to attend the conference and go back to their respective countries as leaders in creating positive change.  I met delegates from many countries throughout Asia, Europe, South America and more.  These young men & women have a desire to be the change that they want to see and it was inspiring.  I feel so small but I learned from this conference that even one person can make a difference.  Just by getting involved with a group or talking to neighbors about promoting an ideal or writing letters an individual moment of action becomes coupled with other moments of action and it can turn into a movement.  Or it can create a positive change in one person’s life and those actions are extremely valuable for that one person.  Remember the story about the starfish?  A man wandered along the beach throwing starfish into the ocean when he was stopped by another man who questioned the futility of his actions because of the unending number of starfish…how could he possibly make a difference?  As the man threw another starfish back in the ocean he stated, “I made a difference to that one.”

This conference was tiny compared to the population of the world.  It may seem impossible to make a difference.  But being surrounded by like-minded people working for positive change showed me that it is possible.  There are thousands in my community, there are thousands in many communities all over the world who are dedicated to families.  We are not out to promote hate.  We are not out to trample on rights.  We are out to educate, to promote an ideal, one that places societal values over individual indulgence, one that teaches people how to be happier!  And we can do that one starfish at a time.

Rethinking the Sexual Revolution

In Abstinence, Child Development, Choice, Cohabitation, Divorce, Families, Family Planning, father, Feminism, Freedom, Marriage, Population Control, Sexual Freedom, The Family, Values on September 17, 2015 at 6:00 am

couple in love 5by Tashica Jacobson

The term, sexual revolution, can bring about many different positions, feelings, and arguments, but what can readily be agreed upon is that it has drastically changed society. With any dramatic change of norms it is easy for individuals to get swept away in the changing tides rather than being intentional about life choices.

Because of these changes we now view sex and its role vastly different than how our grandparents viewed it. The sexual revolution started in the 1960’s and left the world forever changed. Birth control and the increased focus on individualism were some of the major catalysts. None of these are inherently wrong, but they did have many unforeseen effects on the family. All of these things are still affecting families today, and each of us has the opportunity to be intentional about how we let them affect our decisions and our family life.

The birth control pill was first introduced in the 1960’s and was soon followed by other popular means of contraceptives. While this was beneficial for many and allowed parents to plan their children, it also drastically changed the way that sex is viewed. No longer were sex, marriage, and children viewed as linked together. It separated sexual intimacy from child bearing and families, and as such cohabitation and divorce began to rise.

When the birth control was first made widely public a reader’s digest article read” Everyone knows what The Pill is. It is a small object — yet its potential effect upon our society may be even more devastating than the nuclear bomb”(PBS, 2001). And while dramatic, this statement hits to the point that this small, seemingly helpful pill could have wider effects than what was originally thought.

The rise in individualism also changed the way that families were perceived. In Marriage-Go Round Andrew Cherlin looks at this new idea of an individualized marriage. When describing this concept he states: “It is not incompatible with lifelong marriage, but it requires a new kind of marriage in which spouses are free to grow and change and in which each feels personally fulfilled. Such marriages are harder to keep together, because what matters is not merely the things they jointly produce—well-adjusted children, nice homes—but also each person’s own happiness” (p. 90) This growing individualism also leads spouses to divorce when their own happiness is not being met, leading to more family break ups.

The effects of the sexual revolution have become widespread and well known. Cohabitation, single mothers and fathers, promiscuity, divorce, and sex at younger ages all began to rise. 48% of all first births in the US are now born outside of marriage, and 49% of young adult females (age 20-24) cohabit. (Hymowitz, 2013)

So once again while these things have changed the world we do not blindly need to follow the trends they are setting. Birth control, helpful for fathers and mothers as they plan their families, also has the negative effect of pre-marital relationships and sexual promiscuity. Individual happiness and satisfaction of life while essential, is now taking on a life of its own and leading many to throw away good things. However these new societal trends can be slowed and even reversed as individuals make conscious decisions about what they mean to them and make intentional choices in regards to their families.

Works Cited

Cherlin, A. J., The Marriage-Go Round. 2009.

Hymowitz, K., Carroll, J.S., Wilcox, W. B., Kaye, K., Knot Yet: the Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America. (2013).

PBS. People & Events: The Pill and the Sexual Revolution. 2001

Make Sure Your Marriage gets the Maintenance it Deserves

In Choice, Divorce, Education, Families, father, Marriage, Values on September 15, 2015 at 6:11 pm

MacGyverBy Jessica Westfall

MacGyver was an 80s tv show that my parents introduced me to my Freshman year of high school. MacGyver was a jack-of-all trades, he could find a solution to any problem and was an all around helpful guy. I was impressed, and sometimes skeptical, of the daring escapes he made with common, and sometimes all-too-convient, everyday items. But one theme held true throughout the show, MacGyver saw use where others didn’t. More importantly, he used that knowledge and got out of sticky situations. Our lives are riddled with helpful metaphorical gum wrappers and paper clips, but it does take some training to recognize their usefulness. While MacGyver was heralded as an man who’s brain just worked differently, we all have the ability to improve our lives with a little guidance.

A huge part of every human life is social interaction, especially families. Anyone in a family will admit there are moments of friction, times when the right solution is not yet apparent. Like the many friends MacGyver met along the way, we have all the same tools at our disposal, but like MacGyver, only some know how to effectively use them. We all have ways of communicating, verbally and nonverbally. We all have choice in how we react and what we say. The MacGyver’s of the family world seem to have it all together, no situation is too sticky or harrowing to be resolved.
Those that seem to have a gift may indeed have a gift, the gift of knowledge. Some can learn this knowledge through personal experience, and many do. But a lot of the time it’s easier and more pleasant to learn from another’s experience. My mother and father attended a marriage seminar a few years ago and Mom remarked after that she knew first hand  what the presenter was teaching because they (my parents) had figured it out through trial and error. She joked that it would have been a lot easier to figure it out if they’d had the class 20 year earlier. What if your 20 years ago is now?

I have incredible respect for those that regularly service their vehicles. Buying a car from someone like that is absolutely wonderful (I’m pretty sure MacGyver kept his vehicle in top condition). Yet many of us, including me, do not take the time to do more than regular oil changes. Why not? Well, it’s hard, it seems like a lot of work for something that might not be needed, life is busy. Yet we all know cars break down, especially when neglected. We don’t regret our neglect until it’s too late and the car is broken down. That’s when the real inconvenience of a big repair happens. But those repairs can be costly, sometimes the vehicle isn’t even salvageable. When that happens the time and energy and cost of keeping up with the car doesn’t seem so steep anymore. Does that sound familiar?  It should, because many people have the same attitudes about marriage and family. There is no need to fix something that isn’t broken, in fact it’s often seen as embarrassing to seek guidance or the sign of a defective relationship. Many great cars stop working because of neglect, and so do many marriage and family relations.

It shouldn’t be embarrassing to gain knowledge that improves a marriage. It doesn’t mean that a parent is subpar when they seek parenting guidance. I take it as a sign of great parental wisdom to seek out the best ways to raise children. The same can be said for couples. There is so much information about marriage and families. Other people, like researchers, scientists, therapists, and those like my parents that learned through trial and error, have discovered answers and want to share them. So read a parenting book, attend a  marriage seminar, research healthy communication and boundaries on the internet. It’s all out there and readily accessible for little to no cost. The real tragedy would be to ignore the incredible knowledge out there. MacGyver would not have been as exciting without his extra know-how.

Leasing Love?

In Cohabitation, Divorce on September 4, 2015 at 4:17 pm

car wheelBy Victoria Black & Lauren Buchan

It all began with a drive. Born almost 100 years ago, Alice and Dale Rockey grew up in the small town of Hemingford, Nebraska. They had never paid any attention to one another until the day they were both supposed to go on a double date…with someone else. They ditched their dates and went for a ride that set the course for the rest of their lives. As soon as Dale turned 18, he asked Alice to marry him. Shortly thereafter they wed on December 29, 1933. This year Dale and Alice celebrated 81 years of marriage.  (Kansas City Star) At the time of their marriage, the country was in the middle of a depression. The couple had no money and no college education. Dale went to work at a garage. Alice went to work as a typesetter. The following years brought them five sons, then grandchildren, great-grandchildren and eventually great- great-grandchildren.

Today, such youthful confidence would be considered reckless, foolish…just plain dumb. The current path to marriage is considerably different. In the last decade, two-thirds of women in first unions cohabited before marriage. Once unheard of, society’s attitude towards the practice has shifted significantly. Before the 1970’s, cohabitation was illegal in every state. Today, cohabitation is considered the smart way to determine compatibility. More than 60% of high school seniors “agreed” or “mostly agreed” that living together before marriage helps a couple find out if they really get along. (National Marriage Project) Most couples see living together as a prelude to marriage and believe that doing so will improve their chances of a successful life together. On the face of it, cohabitation makes sense. We test-drive cars before we buy them. Shouldn’t we “test-drive” a relationship?

Don’t “test drive” a relationship

Despite the logic of testing a relationship and cohabitation’s growing acceptance, living together is not the fix for divorce one might suppose. There is mounting evidence that cohabitation hurts individuals and relationships. Consider, a couple who has lived together for at least a year is eight times more likely to break up than those who marry. Those who eventually marry after cohabitation, have a 33% greater likelihood of “separation or divorce.” Cohabiting couples report higher levels of depression and alcohol abuse than married couples.(5 Facts About Cohabitation You May Not Know) Uncertainty is also a greater characteristic of cohabitational relationships, which can impact their quality. (Is Marriage More Than Cohabitation? Well-Being Differences in 30 European Countries)

Cohabitation doesn’t only affect consenting adults. It wreaks havoc on the lives of children. As the number of cohabiting unions increase, the number of children living in cohabiting households also increases. As of 2000, 41% of households with cohabiting adults contained children under the age of 18. Three-fourths of children born to cohabiting parents will see their parents end their relationship before their sixteenth birthday. The outcomes for these children resemble those for children of divorced and single parents. Children of cohabiting parents have more emotional and behavior problems as well as diminished educational outcomes. Children living with their mother and a cohabiting adult likewise have more behavioral problems and lower academic performance. Surprisingly, outcomes for children of cohabiting parents are worse than those for children from single-parent households.(Family Structure and Child Well-Being) Poverty is also an issue for children with a cohabiting parent. Children from cohabiting households fare less well economically than children from intact families. The poverty rate for children living with cohabiting adults is 31% compared to 6% for children with married parents. Finally, many researchers believe that the growing incidence of child abuse in recent years may even be related to increased cohabitation in society as children in cohabiting households experience higher levels of child abuse than children from intact families. (National Marriage Project)

The thing is, relationships aren’t cars and people aren’t consumer goods. When you “test drive” a relationship, the focus is on how the other person measures up. A relationship based on that thinking becomes a short-term lease. A longtime marriage researcher, Dr. John Gottman, tells us that successful marriages are based on qualities individuals purposefully choose to bring to a relationship, qualities like kindness and generosity, friendship, respect and appreciation, as well as those they choose to avoid, like contempt and criticism. (Masters of Love) A successful marriage is about a couple committing to being the kind of people that makes a marriage last. And children? Don’t take them on that test-drive. There are no seat belts that protect from that kind of damage.

In the 1980’s, the Ad Council began a series of public service announcements that declared, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.” We were told to speak up and save lives. Well, it’s time to speak up when friends and family choose to cohabit. They need to beware. They need to know the bad track record, the failed relationships, the injured children. They need to be warned: “Danger ahead: Cohabitation. Steer clear of wreckage.” They need to know the choice is theirs to be the kind of person that makes marriage work. Make the case and help them join Dale and Alice on the only sure road to a happy, lasting marriage.

Lauren BuchanLauren Buchan is a student at BYU-Idaho. She will be graduating in December 2015 with a degree in Marriage and Family Studies. She was born and raised in Charlotte, NC. She has been married since 2009. She and her husband share their home with two spoiled Victoria Blackand loved dogs, Hiro and Lee. 

Victoria Black is a student at BYU-Idaho majoring in Marriage and Family Studies. She lives in the great state of Texas. She has been married to her husband, Rob, for 32 years. She has three daughters, four grandchildren, and one 90 lb. Lab named Rusty. 




Speak Up for Family and Life

In Abortion, Abstinence, Child Development, Choice, Diane Robertson, Divorce, Families, father, Free Speech, Freedom, Marriage, Media, Parenting, Planned Parenthood, Prostitution, Sanctity of Life, Sexual Freedom, Technology, The Family, Values on August 26, 2015 at 8:47 am

Ashley Madisonby Diane Robertson

There’s this infamous company in Canada, Ashley Madison, which hosts a purportedly secret online dating service for people who are married or in a committed relationship. The company’s slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair.” Customers pay Ashley Madison to help them have extra marital affairs and one night stands.

On July 15th of this year hackers stole the company’s “secret” customer data—including email addresses, names, home addresses, sexual fantasies and credit card information. At the time, Hackers said they would release the information to the public if Ashley Madison did not permanently shut down. On July 22nd, the company released just the first names of the customers. When the company did not comply with the demands of the hackers, they released all of the information on Aug 18th.

The fall out has been huge with ordinary people to celebrities such as Josh Duggar being outed for cheating on their spouses.

The Toronto police department even reported that two people committed suicide because they were outed by the hackers. The Toronto police department blamed the hackers stating this would “not be tolerated”.

Normally, I agree that hacking is wrong. It’s typically used to gain access to personal information for financial gains. I feel like this situation is different. I agree with the hackers that the company is abominable. They make money while facilitating the breakup of marriages and families. I think justice has been served.

Most people are standing by the fact that hacking is illegal, and that what these hackers did was wrong because they have ruined millions of lives. I agree that hacking is illegal and should be. But I do not believe the hackers are responsible for ruining the lives of the adulterers. Rather, those committing adultery are responsible for ruining their own lives. They made conscious choices to do something they were very aware would harm their spouse, their children, and ultimately themselves.

I am going to speak as a Christian in an appeal to other Christians. I believe that as Christians it is imperative for us to recognize what is wrong and damaging to families and to society and call it out. We need to make judgments so that we can understand what is good and what is bad. Sadly, as a society we have been bullied into a place where we won’t say something is right or wrong because it might hurt someone’s feelings. We cower at the being called names, and our unwillingness to face the criticism of those calling us judgmental or bigoted or hateful has led to a whole host of societal ills.

Ashley Madison would not exist if there weren’t enough corrupt people willing to pay for it. Companies can only exist if there is enough of a market to be profitable. Along the same lines, Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics wouldn’t exist if there weren’t so many mothers and fathers willing to sacrifice the very life of their children for the sake of lust and convenience.

I look around me and see that as a society we have given our compassion to the people selfishly destroying life and family instead of those who have had their lives and families destroyed. The people who need our compassion are the husbands and wives whose marriages have been shattered by infidelity, the sons and daughters who are left without a mother or a father because of the resulting divorce, and the babies that never breathed because their parents did not want them.

Just 60 years ago, compassion was given to the real victims and as a result more people considered the consequences before breaking apart their families or taking the lives of their unborn children. The pressure to live a chaste life meant that life and family were cherished. Now, individual choice is cherished, and life and family are discarded.

To Christians, I say, make a choice. Is what we say and how we judge saving lives and strengthening families, or is it promoting (quietly or openly) the destruction of life and the breakdown of families? Those who hacked into the Ashley Madison website, may have committed a crime, but they also made an important statement about marriage and family. They stood up for love and fidelity. We can to, and we don’t even need to break the law to do so. We just need to speak.

Carrot cake and a dash of divorce at my wedding reception

In Cohabitation, Divorce, Marriage on July 30, 2015 at 12:09 pm

carrot cakeBy Jimmy Bridges

Toward the close of our wedding reception, my wife and I said our goodbyes to family and friends. One particular guest, age 21, parted with the following words, “congratulations you two, I hope it lasts.” There was a strange casual, uneasiness in his tone, suggesting that the outcome of lasting marriage or divorce was completely out of our hands and that everyone on earth knows that fact. We smiled, thanked him for his “support?” while feeling a bit unsettled shortly thereafter. We felt unsettled because a wedding and reception are usually accompanied by individuals who are filled with hope for the happy couple. Was this guest filled with fear and despair? I knew for a fact that he was not. He seemed just as happy and hopeful as the next guest throughout the reception. Then why did he say this so matter-of-factly?

The attitudes of marriage differ according to age group, gender, and culture. In this article I focus mainly on cohabitation as a byproduct of shifting marriage attitudes, though there are many more. It is difficult to specifically determine societal effects on the shifting attitude towards marriage. It seems reasonable to think that whatever an individual and their partner decide on, in regards to their relationship, has no effect on anyone else except that individual and their partner. However, as further research is done on the byproducts of shifting marriage attitudes (i.e. cohabitation, dropping fertility rates, gender blindness to parenting, and more), we begin to see that one’s decision to either marry or cohabit before living together, have children or not, or provide a child with a mother and father actually does affect others—both directly and indirectly.

The attitude of many good young people in the United States towards marriage is not always a hopeful one. In fact, the positive attitude towards marriage is waning as evidenced in the rise of cohabiting couples.1 There seems to be a great fear or an uncertainty looming over the heads of many young people that marriage can only end in divorce. This attitude is destructive to future marriages, future children, and society’s functioning as a system dependent on intact families.

“Let’s just live together” – think again

Living togetherThe above story is only one example of the growing attitude regarding marriage in our society. Media is replete with the myth that cohabitation is a smart, even necessary step to “test drive”2 the relationship. From Dear Abbey3 to NBC news, society is buying into the assumption that cohabitation actually helps prepare a couple for marriage. However, credible research continues to show that cohabitation not only has no effect on improving the relationship after marriage, but is shown to have negative effects on the couple’s relationship quality after marriage.4

Studies that focus on the practice of cohabitation find that in no way does this practice improve the future marriage of that couple. In many cases it has negative effects on the future marriage and increases risk of marital disillusionment. One such study was entitled Should We Live Together and was written by David Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead (2002)5 through the National Marriage Project. In summary, the research they reviewed on cohabitation concluded the following; “There is no evidence that if you decide to cohabit before marriage you will have a stronger marriage than those who don’t’ live together, and some evidence suggest that if you live together before marriage, you are more likely to break up after marriage” (p. 15). Another recent study by Jose, O’Leary, and Moyer (2010)6 was entitled Does Premarital Cohabitation Predict Subsequent Marital Stability and Marital Quality? The study concluded the following; “Couples who cohabit before marriage are more likely to divorce than couples who do not cohabit before marriage.”

The research continues to show that this tend does not prove to be beneficial to the marriage agreement. Why then has the uninformed society fallen into the trap of thinking that it is only sure way to “test drive” the vehicle of marriage? Part of the reason may have to do with the fact that many young people are simply uninformed. To be frank, researching the possible effects of cohabitation on a relationship with the love of one’s life is not common protocol—especially for the infatuated young adult. The attitude, like the one expressed in the well-intentioned young man in the story above, gives us a snap shot of the environment that is becoming “normal” for today’s youth. If it is becoming normal that most marriages will eventually fail and that a serious relationship ought to begin within a noncommittal atmosphere (i.e. cohabitation) then what might this mean for the future stability of our society?

We as a society have long since understood the self-evident truth that marriage is not an easy task. It requires a strong, loyal commitment between a man and a woman; a commitment needed to withstand the difficulty of raising children. When we step back and consider society at large, what are we prone to consider? We might be wise to consider what it may look like in the future. We may also consider who will fill the offices and chairs of competent leaders who will guide and guarantee safety, equality, and civility from society’s members. These considerations lead us back to our main issue at hand. Marriage provides an ideal setting where husband and wife commit to one another in raising children, children who will then end up taking the place of future leaders within our society. If we are still under the impression that our marriage attitudes affect no one but the couple, we ought to reconsider this attitude. Behind the backdrop of these considerations and current research on the byproducts of shifting marriage attitudes, we might reconsider the trend of cohabitation as one of the worst ways to “test drive” the vehicle of marriage.

Jimmy BridgesJimmy is a graduate of BYU-Idaho and plans to attend graduate school in pursuit of a masters in Marriage and family therapy.  His passion is in family science. “Social science is not perfect, but it is currently all we have as a society to give us a glimpse of where we have been, where we are at, and where we are going. The hope is that as we become more informed we become more responsible citizens.”



  1. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr064.pdf
  2. http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/04/17588704-the-new-normal-cohabitation-on-the-rise-study-finds?lite
  3. http://www.uexpress.com/dearabby/2013/6/15/daughter-living-with-boyfriend-doesnt-get
  4. http://www.stateofourunions.org/2012/SOOU2012.pdf
  5. David Popenoe & Barbara Dafoe Whitehead (2002) Should we live together?
  6. Jose, O’Leary, & Moyer (2010) Does premarital cohabitation predict subsequent marital stability and marital quality?



Marriage is Dead? The Case against “The Case Against Marriage”

In Abstinence, Child Development, Choice, Cohabitation, Divorce, Families, Feminism, Free Speech, Freedom, Government, Health Care, Marriage, Media, Meet UFI, Parenting, Research, Sexual Freedom, Single Mothers, The Family, Values on July 7, 2015 at 1:21 pm

Newly Married Couple ca. 2003

“Marriage is dead,”. . . or, at least,  no longer necessary was the Nietzchean-like declaration of two young, female writers in Newsweek.  In an article entitled “The Case Against Marriage,” Jessica Bennett and Jesse Ellison lay-out with dismissive nonchalance, and not a small amount of arrogance, the various reasons that they, and women like them no longer need marriage. “Once upon a time, marriage made sense,” they write.

“It was how women ensured their financial security, got the father of their children to stick around, and gained access to a host of legal rights. But 40 years after the feminist movement established women’s rights in the workplace, a generation after the divorce rate peaked, and a decade after Sex and the City made singledom chic, marriage is–from a legal and practical standpoint, anyway–no longer necessary.”

Well, from a “legal standpoint,” they may be correct. With the advent of no-fault divorce, and a growing welfare state, singledom is no longer legally disadvantaged, and as they claim, may be advantaged in some ways. However, from every other standpoint–practical or otherwise–they could not be further from the truth. Legal structures and societal trends may obscure this fact, but the truth is traditional marriage benefits everyone–men, women, children, and as a result, society. Marriage is in fact necessary. Why? Simply put: because marriage produces the best results for society and especially for women.

The danger is that the “Marriage is dead” crowd, so aptly represented by Bennett and Ellison, is getting louder, and with changes in public policy increasingly disadvantaging the married, and society increasingly glorifying “chic singledom” this crowd is becoming more persuasive. Fortunately, the facts are on the side of marriage. So please indulge us as we take on Bennett and Ellison, point by point, in our case against “the case against marriage.”

  1. Marriage is no longer necessary for child-rearing or, at least, society no longer expects women to be married to have children. Bennett and Ellison point out that the social stigma against marriage disappeared a long time ago, with 41 percent of births being to unmarried mothers. They also make the claim that this can be an advantage, for in Scandinavia, where unmarried parents are the norm, parents actually spend more time with their children. What Bennett and Ellison seem to forget are outcomes.

Yes, the social stigma against single parents may be gone, but the negative consequences for children are not. Study after study has shown that children living with a married mom and dad are better off. They are more likely to have better health, fewer behavioral and emotional problems, better cognitive and verbal development and greater education and job attainment. All the statistics are clear, traditional marriage is better for children.

As for the parent with child time ratio, if their facts are correct, Scandinavia would be the exception, an exception enabled by a cradle-to-grave welfare state in which the government compensates for the financial and social instability inherent to unmarried child-rearing. The more children are raised out of wedlock, the more government welfare programs are needed to compensate. That is a simple fact. And with government debt rising around the world, this is a responsibility most governments simply cannot afford.

  1. Marriage is no longer necessary to engage in sexual relations. It is true that many, some would argue most, no longer wait until marriage to engage in sexual intercourse. Bennett and Ellison fairly accurately, if a bit glibly, express the general attitude: “And the idea that we’d ‘save ourselves’ for marriage? Please.” Yet, as mainstream as this attitude may be, it is not one they should be touting as a reason to dispose of marriage.

No matter what societal mores may be, pre-marital sex leads to negative outcomes. It leads to more out-of-wedlock childbearing, more STDs, more violence in relationships, more mental and emotional trauma to women, and cohabitation contributes to a higher divorce rate–and that’s just the short list of the “contributions” of pre-martial sex. There is nothing about this trend that is healthy and good for society.

  1. Government programs and legislation no longer benefit the married, and probably advantage the single. Bennett and Ellison rightly point out that under current governmental policy; it sometimes doesn’t pay to be married. Unmarried couples have nearly all the rights of married couples, “federal law favors unmarried taxpayers . . . and under President Obama’s health plan, low-earning single people get better subsidies to buy insurance.”

But the duo forgets to mention that 75 percent of the $150+ billion dollars spent annually on various government welfare programs goes directly to single parents and individuals in non-traditional relationships. On the other hand, marriage is financially advantageous in nearly every other way. Here’s just a few facts:

– Marriage increases wealth over one’s lifetime. Among couples who marry and stay married, their net worth increases on average by 16 percent with each year. Over a lifetime that is, on average, a 93 percent increase in wealth over those who remain single.

– For those in poverty, particularly, marriage is even more important financially. According to one study, seventy percent of never-married mothers would be able to escape poverty if they were married to the father of their children.

No government program can tout such success in alleviating poverty. So government programs may not directly benefit the married, but the married are still better off financially, even without tax breaks.

  1. Women are not happier in marriage. Well, this one is just blatantly false. If you would like to talk superficially about marriage, as Bennett and Ellison do, you can certainly cite enough male shortcomings to discourage any woman from wanting to marry. But the truth of the matter is evidence indicates that both men and women are happier in marriage. Statistics show that married people are happier and wealthier than widowed, divorced, separated, or never-married people across the board. And not only are women happier in marriage, they also experience lower levels of violence, poverty, depression and emotional trauma. Not to mention, they also enjoy better sex lives and live longer than single women. So the amount of housework they do weekly may increase due to the simple fact of being married to a man, but the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.
  2. Humans are not made to stay together for a lifetime, as illustrated by soaring divorce rates. “With our life expectancy in the high 70s,” write Bennett and Ellison, “the idea that we’re meant to be together forever is less realistic. . . . Healthy partnerships are possible, for sure–but the permanence of marriage seems naive, almost arrogant.” Let us suggest that what is “arrogant,” is assuming humans are not equipped for lifetime commitment (against centuries’ worth of evidence to the contrary) on the evidence that we are living a little longer and divorcing more often.

The truth is extended longevity accounts for only a tiny fraction of the increase in divorce from 1965 to 1980. And more importantly, over 70 percent of all people who have ever been married are STILL married to the same person. The other 30 percent are part of a marry-divorce, remarry-divorce, remarry-divorce pattern that drives the overall divorce rate to around 50 percent.

So perhaps a more accurate diagnosis of the problem is not human nature, but the unrealistic expectations on the part of a minority who continue to marry and remarry. Bennett and Ellison, themselves, identify that expectations of marriage have changed. “Young people today don’t want their parents’ marriage, says Tara Parker-Pope, the author of For Better–they want all-encompassing, head-over-heels fulfillment: a best friend, a business partner, somebody to share sex, love, and chores. In other words, a “soul mate”–which is what 94 percent of singles in their 20s describe what they look for in a partner.” Such expectation would doom any relationship to failure because they are based on selfish gratification which is a number one contributor to divorce. Seventy percent of the population has learned that real fulfillment comes through years of sacrifice and service as soul mates are created–not found!


Jessica Bennett and Jesse Ellison in “The Case Against Marriage,” aren’t the first to set out to disprove the benefits of marriage. In fact, such attempts are almost as old as marriage itself. A very inclusive study of this nature was attempted by a well known anthropologist of the early 1900’s named Joseph Daniel Unwin. He too set out to prove that marriage was irrelevant and even harmful. In his research he chronicled the historical decline of 86 different cultures and was forced to conclude that only marriage with fidelity could lead to cultural prosperity. In fact, he said, “Once a society departs from a social norm of absolute marital monogamy, social chaos ensues within three generations!”

United Families International acknowledges Unwin’s findings and we dedicate large amounts of time and efforts in protecting the institution of traditional marriage as the most basic unit of society around the world. Join us in this effort!

To see a list of studies documenting the importance of marriage as discussed above, go here. Or visit UFI’s website to see UFI’s Guides to Family Issues: The Marriage Advantage and our guide discussing the impact of Cohabitation.

How does a same-sex marriage harm your heterosexual marriage? Here’s how.

In Child Development, Divorce, Families, Gender Identity, Homosexuality, Marriage, Parenting, Same-Sex Marriage, The Family, Values on June 30, 2015 at 6:11 am

The happy “same-sex family” is more often than not built upon the back of a destroyed mother/father heterosexual family. 

In the same-sex marriage debate, how often have you heard this snarkily-delivered question:  “Well, how does a same-sex marriage harm your heterosexual marriage?”  With the obvious answer to be:  “Of course, there isn’t any harm…”  But writer Janna Darnelle shows us very clearly the consequences to marriage in her very sobering article entitled:

gay announcementBreaking the Silence: Redefining Marriage Hurts Women Like Me – and Our Children

By Janna Darnelle

The news is full of happy stories of gay and lesbian couples and their new families. But behind those big smiles and sunny photographs are other, more painful stories. These are left to secret, dark places. They are suppressed, and those who would tell them are silenced in the name of “marriage equality.”

But I refuse to be silent.

I represent one of those real life stories that are kept in the shadows. I have personally felt the pain and devastation wrought by the propaganda that destroys natural families.

The Divorce

In the fall of 2007, my husband of almost ten years told me that he was gay and that he wanted a divorce. In an instant, the world that I had known and loved—the life we had built together—was shattered.

I tried to convince him to stay, to stick it out and fight to save our marriage. But my voice, my desires, my needs—and those of our two young children—no longer mattered to him. We had become disposable, because he had embraced one tiny word that had become his entire identity. Being gay trumped commitment, vows, responsibility, faith, fatherhood, marriage, friendships, and community. All of this was thrown away for the sake of his new identity.

Try as I might to save our marriage, there was no stopping my husband. Our divorce was not settled in mediation or with lawyers. No, it went all the way to trial. My husband wanted primary custody of our children. His entire case can be summed up in one sentence: “I am gay, and I deserve my rights.” It worked: the judge gave him practically everything he wanted. At one point, he even told my husband, “If you had asked for more, I would have given it to you.”  Read the rest of the article at Public Discourse



Forests and Families

In Child Development, Choice, Divorce, Drug Use, Education, Families, father, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Religion, Sanctity of Life, Schools, The Family, Values on June 12, 2015 at 7:29 am

family in forrestby Tom Christensen

When driving through the arid national pine forests of Montana, Colorado, Utah and Arizona, one cannot help but notice large numbers of dead trees.   Mountain pine beetles about the size of a grain of rice bore into, lay their eggs, feed on and protect themselves in the soft phloem of an older tree, creating a deadly girdle cutting off the transmission of nutrients to the rest of the tree.

Vulnerable pine trees infested by the beetles quickly turn orange and die.  Abandoning a dead tree for one living, pine beetles spread from one tree to another until there are no mature trees left.  Literally millions of acres of pine forest have been destroyed in this manner.

Bark beetle infestation is a symptom of a sick forest already weakened by draught, disease and the aging process.  Pine trees when young and healthy have a natural internal defense mechanism against bark beetles.  They produce a pitch substance that encapsulates or drowns the beetles; and the beetles naturally avoid them.  When the trees grow older and are weakened by draught or disease, they are unable to stave off the beetles.

Bark Beetle.jpgA pine forest cannot be protected from the beetle by impractical artificial means, such as the regular injection of insecticide into trees, or by waiting for unreasonable natural means to destroy the beetles, such as extreme cold weather or forest fire.  The best approach is to steadily “replenish” the forest by planting and nurturing a fresh supply of seedlings and younger pine stock.

Not only are the scores of dead trees unsightly, the non-reproducing dead trees contribute to soil erosion, mud slides and flash floods.  The dead trees also affect wildlife habitat, food chains, and a broad range of ecosystems.

The Devastation of the Natural Family

Like a majestic ponderosa or lodge pole pine forest, the future of an entire civilization turns on the health and strength of its families.  The greatest hope for society is the formation of impenetrable unions of strong, capable men and women who honor their marital covenants, care for their own, and produce a steady supply of young ones prepared to carry on the fight for life, liberty, and the family.

 Forest After Bark Beetle 2.jpg
The internal defense system of an enduring society is a stable family structure, elevated moral standards, and a willingness among parents to “multiply and replenish the earth.”  Like a pine forest, a human society is replenished when the older population renews itself with healthy, responsible young people who marry and continue the cycle of life.

On the other hand, a family’s internal defense system can be weakened by narcissistic dysfunction, addictions and attitudes.    Like pine beetles, negative social policies and conventions (such as those that disfavor traditional marriage, religion, childbearing and responsible parenthood), feed on families under stress.  However, unlike bark beetles, they target the young as well as the old.

Similar to the death and destruction of millions of acres of pine forests, the effects of the weakening and dissolution of families throughout the world are plain to see.  Nations depopulate, crime rates rise, schools fail, quality of life declines, and economies sink.

Preserving the World’s Families

What can be done to protect the health of the world’s families?

Family Working Together.jpgFirst, each family must strengthen its own internal defenses and immunities.  Stable families can resist those who would destroy them if they are well-organized, self-sufficient, and put their marriage and children first.  The best protections include living by a consistent code of rules and expectations; practicing forgiveness, integrity, thrift and industry; communicating with and loving each other; and playing, working, and worshipping together.

Second, individuals, families, communities and nations must resist harmful external influences such as media, policy, institutions, and peer influences that seek to penetrate them.  They must acknowledge that high-sounding policies of government paternalism, anti-capitalism, and moral relativism stunt economic growth and opportunity and destroy lives, families, and personal initiative.  Government policy too often addresses the symptoms of family decline rather than the causes of it.

Parents are the first line of defense.  Next comes the faith institutions, the school and university, and the community.  In some settings such as the United Nations, the opposition is so vast and organized that one cannot fight these battles alone.  To provide an effective voice of reason, families, churches and organizations must join with others, including professionals, to influence policymakers and to shape policies at distant, unreported venues.

In summary, the stakes are too high and the potential destruction too devastating to allow the enemy of the family free reign.  For a society to flourish, the limits of government must be understood, mature families must be replenished and strengthened from within, and the common characteristics and vulnerabilities of those who would destroy the family must be clearly identified. 

Strong Families Will End Poverty

In Abortion, Child Development, Choice, Cohabitation, Courts, Diane Robertson, Divorce, Drug Use, Education, Families, father, Free Speech, Government, Marriage, Religion, Religious Freedom, Same-Sex Marriage, Sanctity of Life, Single Mothers, The Family, Values on May 27, 2015 at 8:30 am

poverty stop itby Diane Robertson

During a panel discussion on poverty at Georgetown University, President Obama, and Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam chided Christian religious organizations for focusing too heavily on “divisive issues” such as abortion and gay marriage.

The New York Times reported that President Obama, “chided religious organizations for sometimes focusing too heavily on issues like abortion rather than keeping the pressure on politicians to confront poverty.”

President Obama said, “This is oftentimes viewed as a nice-to-have relative to an issue like abortion…I think that there’s more power to be had there, a more transformative voice that’s available around these issues.”

The Washington Post reported that Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam, went even further. Referring to Catholics and Evangelicals, he said that they “are the two largest faith communities in America. They have historically been involved in the public square. They’ve been emphasizing homosexuality and abortion and issues related to sex. If they employ the same strengths that religious institutions have on behalf of poor kids as they have on other issues, it would make a real difference.”

What President Obama and Mr. Putnam misunderstand is that religious institutions strengthen families, and strong families beat poverty. Marriage reduces the likelihood of childhood poverty by 82%. The Heritage Foundation reported that:

“Most poor children live in single-parent families. Seventy-one percent of poor families with children are headed by single parents, mostly single mothers. Compared to children raised in an intact family, children raised in single-parent homes are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems; be physically abused; smoke, drink, and use drugs; be aggressive; engage in violent, delinquent, and criminal behavior; have poor school performance; and drop out of high school.”

This means that the Christian religions focusing on marriage and the right to life fight poverty in a very real and meaningful way. The government already gives money to the poor, and has been for almost a century. But that has not gotten rid of poverty. Teaching the people about marriage, counseling with them, and helping them with the knowledge and resources to maintain strong marriages and families will give the people the resources they need to get themselves out of poverty.

The divisive issues of gay marriage and abortion are intimately related to family. Strong families believe in the right to life, and strong families lead the world in the fight against poverty.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 160 other followers