The "Marriage Crisis" in the Church and Around the World
The Church is big into protecting marriage. In the United States, that seems to often mean deeply discouraging out of wedlock births and politically lobbying against homosexual unions.
But, according to Stephanie Coontz, who wrote the book Marriage, A History, you may be surprised to know that “the marriage crisis” is a phenomenon taking place all over the world. But fascinatingly, that crisis doesn’t take the same form.
While United States legislators are worried about out of wedlock births, in Germany and Japan, policy makers are far more interested in increasing the birthrate, regardless of whether or not the parents are married…The United Nations recently initiated an enormous campaign to raise the age of marriage for girls in Afghanistan, India, and Africa (where the health of these young women is greatly impaired by early motherhood), whereas in Singapore the government launched a campaign to convince people to marry and have babies at a younger age.
In Spain, the government is worried about the high percentage (50%) of women in their late 20’s who are unmarried, fearing that this bodes ill for the birthrate, whereas in the Czech Republic, researches welcome single living, hoping that it will decrease the high divorce rate (50%).
And in Italy, commentators are worried about the huge number of mammoni or “mama’s boys”. These are educated, employed single men in their 20’s and 30’s who choose to live with their parents. In contrast, in parts of the Arab world, commentators worry about the extremely high bride prices which prevent men from being able to get married, even though they want to*
The fact that marriage is “in crisis” all over the world – and in such very different ways – really struck me. Perhaps that’s because I don’t know what to do with the rhetoric I hear from Church leaders and political leaders in the U.S. about marriage being so threatened.
The threat that currently seems to be referenced often in the U.S. is the threat of homosexual marriage. I’m always left feeling a bit baffled whenever I hear this. How do two people who want to form a permanent, loving, legally recognized marital relationship threaten my marriage in any way? Ironically, it’s the prude in me that makes me feel like homosexual (and heterosexual) marriage is a good thing. I’d far rather people establish permanent unions than be promiscuous.
Do you personally feel like marriage is in a state of crisis? Why? And how do you deal with the outspoken stance the Church has taken against homosexual marriage?
*all facts about marriage around the world were taken from Coontz’ book.