What Good Is Marriage?

The Deliberate Demise of Augustine-Christian Marriage
by Allan C. Carlson

It is surely unhealthy to become depressed over statistics. As the modern proverb has it, there are lies, damn lies, and then come statistics. Still, I went into a funk six months ago after reading the results of a survey on parenting by the reliable Pew Research Center. The researchers asked two thousand active parents if it was important to them whether their children did certain things once they became adults. A stunning 88 percent said it was extremely or very important that they “be financially independent” and “have jobs or careers they enjoy.” In contrast, only 21 percent said it was extremely/very important that their grown children marry, and a mere 20 percent that they have children of their own.

One response is that perhaps the parents being queried will come to appreciate the merits of grandchildren a little later on (for as another modern proverb puts it, the only reason to endure parenthood is to gain grandkids). Or, on a perhaps more troubling note, we see here clear evidence of the triumph of capitalism over familism, of mammon over posterity. However, I prefer to see such numbers as signs of the repudiation of good St. Augustine.

THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:


Allan C. Carlson is the John Howard Distinguished Senior Fellow at the International Organization for the Family. His most recent book is Family Cycles: Strength, Decline & Renewal in American Domestic Life, 1630-2000 (Transaction, 2016). He and his wife have four grown children and nine grandchildren. A "cradle Lutheran," he worships in a congregation of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. He is a senior editor for Touchstone.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!

Online
Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.


more on Marriage from the online archives

29.1—Jan/Feb 2016

Wilberforce for Good

on Marriage, Moral Corruption & the Christian Duty of Witness by Regis Nicoll

24.1—January/February 2011

The Romance of Domesticity

Marriage Thrives in Reality, Not in Our Dreams by Nathan Schlueter

30.1—Jan/Feb 2017

The Heart of Paradise

The Godly Hierarchies of Love & Marriage by Diane Woerner


more from the online archives

33.2—March/April 2020

Blessed Peacemakers

Encounters with Faith & Forgiveness in Communities of Faith by Nicole M. King

24.2—March/April 2011

Our Numbered Days

Certain Death & the Last Lectures of Socrates & Jesus by Randall B. Smith

31.5—September/October 2018

Liberalism Occupied

The Rise of the Gnostic Liberal State After Christianity by Andrew Latham

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone

00