“Marriage is not a Christian thing, it’s not a Mormon thing, it’s not a Jewish thing, it’s a human thing,” Wilcox said. “It lends purpose and stability to the adults and to the kids who come from those relationships. It is a fundamental building block that societies tend to cultivate.”
Wilcox’s research focuses on the ways that marriage, parenthood and cohabitation influence the quality and stability of family life in the United States and around the world. He is particularly concerned with the number of children being raised outside of marriage.
“While there are many kids from single-parent households who do great, the statistical averages suggest these kids are more likely to suffer from things like depression, delinquency and poverty,” he said. “This could pose real problems socially and economically down the road" as the schism between America’s haves and have-nots deepens.
“Kids who are from college educated, more affluent homes are more likely to be reared by two married parents, so they are doubly advantaged by both material and familial circumstances,” Wilcox said. “Meanwhile, the kids who are from single-parent homes are doubly disadvantaged with both economic inequality and growing familial inequality. Long-term, these trends tend to create a two-tiered society in ways that make us aliens to one another.”
Such cultural alienation, the LDS commentary concludes, “is much more than a numerical exercise; it’s about the lives and hopes of real people.”
“These societal drifts need not be our destiny,” the statement says. “yet, as (New York Times columnist Ross Douthat) recently noted, such pervasive trends ‘can only be reversed by the slow accumulation of individual choices, which is how all social and cultural recoveries are ultimately made.’”
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