Note: This guest editorial by Rob Marco really resonated with me. Whether you agree or disagree, let’s chat about it in the comments.
With all the talks about our debt ceiling, government spending, and the floundering economy, the fiscal state of our nation is on everyone’s mind.
How did things get so messed up?
Well, aside from the sub-prime mortgage debacle, I think there is another issue that is undermining our financial well-being as Americans: the breakdown of the traditional family.
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Less than half of children in America today live in in-tact families – that is, with parents in their first marriage. And yet research has proven that financial well-being is vastly improved when people stay married.
According to Patrick Fagan of The Heritage Foundation, divorced households typically see a forty percent drop in income – larger than the drop in income the national economy experienced during the Great Depression. For single parent households, the median income is even less. 92 percent of children on welfare today come from broken homes.
Is it possible our financial instability as a nation is due, in some part, to the breakdown of the traditional family?
What blows my mind is that this breakdown in the American family is a relatively recent occurrence, when you compare it to the whole of history. Up until the 1960’s, two parent households were the norm, the idea of marriage being between a man and a woman was common sense, and the idea that sex inevitably led to babies and should be confined to married partners was understood. What changed?
I have gained a lot of insight reading folks like Steven Greydanus and Jennifer Fulwiler at the National Catholic Register write about marriage as the Church sees it, and how the introduction and embrace of artificial contraception was the beginning of the end for our culture.
I’m not going to rattle off more statistics, but after the use of artificial contraception became commonplace, we saw a marked increase in promiscuity and teen pregnancy, as well as abortions and children being born out of wedlock. No fault divorce seemed to come about around the same time. None of it was taboo or discouraged anymore.
At first, I thought these were all right-wing “issues” that I wanted nothing to do with. I always considered myself a left-of-center moderate in my religious beliefs, and was generally apolitical. I considered people who spoke about these things to be up on their high horse.
But now that I’m married and will be, God willing, a father this Fall, I think more about the world my child will grow up in, and I don’t like the direction we’re going.
What can be done? Should I be more politically active, vote for family-friendly politicians? Is it simply a matter of witnessing with my own family? I don’t think there are any easy answers, but until we start re-investing in strong, healthy families, we will surely see our poverty increase.