By Walter Scott
The happiest couples are those who spell “us” with a capital “You” – Klare Provine
During the Bush presidency, President Bush presented plans to change the 1996 welfare reform. He came under some criticism. While he wanted to tighten the work rules for welfare recipients, he got the most heat on what he wanted to do with the institution of marriage.
What he wanted to do was encourage it! He planned to spend some federal money on state programs that support and maintain healthy and solid marriages; that is, providing classes for those about to marry and counseling for those who already have and need it.
This plan caused concern among some social workers, women’s leaders, and welfare recipients. They accused the White House of trying to force people into marriage. Others felt the government was interfering in private lives. However, nothing could be further from the truth!
Bush’s plan simply states: Marriage is good.
I wonder what our society has become when this statement becomes such a controversial issue. When I lived in League City, a pastor we once had told me a story. It seems that a couple wanted him to marry them. They were not members of the church, but he agreed to perform the ceremony if they would attend his counseling sessions. As he discussed various aspects of marriage, the ups and downs, and asked them questions, the groom-to-be commented that if such problems came up, they would simply get a divorce. To that, the minister terminated the session and told them to find another place to get married. For, if divorce was their way out of stressful circumstances, the marriage was doomed from the start. At the time, I wondered if his approach was right, but now, I believe he was correct.
Today, married-with-children families make up less than 25 percent of all households in the US. That is down from 40 percent in the early 70’s, which was the peak of the sexual revolution.
If you remember then, there was the debate over the importance of a piece of paper – the marriage license.
After all love is love and did not need the blessing of the church or government. And in the 70’s, many thought this made sense. Hence, living together was an accepted idea. Now, a generation later, we look back and wonder why it made sense.
A generation later, children who relied on stability and routine found themselves without those things because of the selfishness and immaturity of some parents. Commitment was without meaning. And too many, but not all, of the children of today seem selfish and materialistic – the “I want….” society.
Marriage is obviously not a “cure all” for the problems in our society, but it is a good thing. That “piece of paper” is an outward sign of commitment and responsibility for each other.
Leonard Pitts, a writer for Knight Ridder Newspapers summed it up, ”It’s a truth cast aside by soldiers of the sexual revolution. The same people who brought women out of the kitchen and gay people out of the closet also sold us an unwitting untruth.
That is, they taught us that we could do away with responsibility and commitment and that our nation, our families, our children, would pay no price as a result. This is what we believed………..And we were wrong”
I was married 45 years when my wife died of cancer. Happily, I was fortunate enough to find someone else and we have been married 12 years. In both cases, we accepted the responsibility implied by the marriage license and a church wedding before God.