I was brought up to first get engaged, get married, and then start a family. What is going on?
A: Wow, there are a multitude of things going on, but I’ll hit on just a handful. First of all, lots of living arrangements are socially acceptable now that were not in the past, such as living with someone or being a single parent. The stigma around these situations isn’t there as it once was.
In addition to the marriage rate being at an all-time low, church attendance has also decreased in unprecedented fashion. This is no coincidence. Religion has been an “enforcer” of marriage, but if you’re not in the pew to receive the message it may not resonate with you.
Furthermore, a recent study found 40 percent of those surveyed believe marriage is obsolete. The reasons here are legion as well, but one is that some marriages are half-rate affairs in which the kids are the focus instead of the marriage. Parents mean well but don’t realize they are shortchanging their children in the process.
Parenting expert John Rosemond puts it best. “I’m a member of the last generation of American children to grow up in homes where the relationship between our parents was a lot stronger than either of their relationships with us. I’m convinced that one reason so many of today’s young people are eschewing marriage is because they didn’t see their parents having one, even if their parents lived together. They saw mother and father, two people devoted to them. We saw husband and wife. It makes a huge difference.”
Now it’s time for me to ‘fess up.
My personal journey with the notion of marriage has come a long way. I viewed it as a societal trap that ensnared and diminished women. I could barely utter the “m” word. I said yes to two proposals from my now-husband and then promptly changed my mind.
I’d even unintentionally say “wedding” when referring to a funeral. The honeymoon limo looked a lot like a hearse to me. Marriage was an institution and who wants to be institutionalized?
Luckily my fine fellow stayed with me through my protracted, multi-layered “issues” and eventually won my hand. But I wouldn’t let him buy me flowers as we walked to the Cobb County Courthouse.
“That’s a bunch of sentimental hooey and a waste of money,” I said. “Let’s just get this thing over.”
To my great relief I didn’t morph into a caged animal once the vows were exchanged!
I didn’t lose my voice, my power or my precious freedom. My example illustrates how diverse and individual the variables are when examining values. It’s unwise to generalize.
However, as to the female celebrities you describe: They need Jesus, birth control and a good flogging.
They are making trashy, destructive choices and are morally and spiritually bereft as a result. Their acolytes are equally intellectually flaccid. And as we know, followers of hollow men and women will always produce an empty society.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of “The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life” and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at www.thecrackerqueen.com.