Comments about ‘In our opinion: Americans are trending away from making the marriage commitment’

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Published: Sunday, April 14 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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American Fork, UT

There's a whole segment of society who are committed to marriage in spite of public and private ridicule, yet they are denied. Can we really fret about marriage yet offer it on such a discriminatory basis?

Mad Hatter
Provo, UT

And while this is going on, gay couples are moving in the opposite direction. So the story is not entirely correct. There are those in our society who want very much to have the right to validate their commitment.

Provo, UT

With divorce rates running above 50% for first-time marriages, the issue of co-habitation stands as minor compared with the problems of a broken family.

Perhaps it should be more difficult to enter into a marriage than to leave a marriage. In this way, both participants will have a very clear perspective as to if marriage is realistic and something both want to commit to. Too many young people get married early and then spend many unhappy years learning that they are not compatible.

Salt Lake City, UT

The reference to the catastrophic effects of population decline is inadequately described here, and needs to be greatly expanded. The documentary, "Demographic Winter" shown on BYUtv explains these problems in great detail.

Saint Louis, MO

Very good and significant article. However, just wait until the new trend of women cohabitating with women hits the statistical "fireplace".

Saint George, UT

The connection between individual behavior and societal problems? Go ahead, defend it some more. Marriage between a man and a women is still an institution that you can't meddle with because it is from God. Cohabitation is just one unfortunate reality of the tidal wave coming that the Federal Government won't be able to resolve. Of Course, as
marriage becomes tranqualized, children suffer and babies are either disposable or viewed as an unintended consequence worthy of disdain. Thus, even the over population explosion hoax becomes even more apparent. 40 years ago, and in intervals even before that, the world was supposed to be having massive starvation now because of overpopulation, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah. It has been a hoax from the beginning. In regards to cohabitation, lets be honest. Women are the pawns here. Women are the princess pawns, leaving behind only heartbreak and tears. Marraige and chastity would be a good place to start. How can any thinking person think othewise. A blind man can see what is happening.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

Nothing lasts forever. We all have an expiration date. The first time in history that the younger generation is expected to expire before their parents.

Castle Valley, Utah

And we have the religious right to thank for legally barring some loving, consenting-adult couples from getting married.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The traditional concept of marriage is aptly described in the quote often applied to one’s wife and a “ball and chain”. If we would save marriage for the good that it does we may have to redesign and rethink marriage to eliminate the unpleasant parts.

Part of the confusion comes from our governments, political and religious, touting marriage and commitment and from those same governments the demand and promotion of being independent and self reliant.

Restructuring the rules of marriage might be a hard pill to swallow, but if the medicine helps the problems, it has to be done. Possibilities might include:

Separating the rules for child production and keeping from the automatic notion of natural parents.

Remove the restrictions such as one man, one woman.

Provide for a specific unique contract for the marriage.

Allow for the end of the marriage contract, either as the passage of time of the conclusion of the commitment.

Let the concept of marriage be a two party agreement that ends when the agreement is lost.

Wilf 55

All valid concerns and, as the OP says, "they should energize people of understanding everywhere to action". But no concrete actions are suggested. How willing are we to pay more taxes for school programs that educate teens toward marital responsibility? And for programs sustaining those single moms with "limited financial and educational resources"? How about better programs for their children to lift them out of their circumstances?

And while while it is true that "40 percent of these women get married within three years of cohabiting, 32 percent continue in that unmarried relationship and 27 break up and move on", these figures are relative when compared with divorce rates in married couples. The misery that divorce brings must be weighed against the possibility of less dramatic partings.

Finally, there is the irony that the call for same-sex marriage has enhanced the image of marriage desirability, with positive effect on more hetero marriages in countries that allow SSM. Perhaps we need to support the "lesser evil" of committed gays and lesbians to serve as impetus for the value of marriage?


From Pew:

"The postponement of many markers of adulthood also plays a role. A rising share of young adults, especially women, are pursuing advanced degrees, and waiting for marriage until they are done with their education and established in the workplace. The choices of these young adults are in large part responsible for the growing share of Americans who have never married.

Still, so far, the vast majority of Americans do marry at some point. Among those ages 45 and older, about nine-in-ten have been married.

Is Marriage an Important Goal?

Marriage is an important goal for most Americans, although it may not be their top priority. Having a successful marriage is “one of the most important things” in life for 36% of adults, according to a 2011 Pew Research survey. An additional 48% said it is “very important but not the most” important. Being a good parent was seen as “one of the most important things” by a larger share of adults (53%)".

Women with more education and better economic prospects are more likely to delay first marriage, but are more likely to become married and to stay married.


Our world population has grown continually since the 1300s. It is still growing at roughly 1% every year. The human race is hardly in danger of extinction through under-reproduction.

Our population **already** endangers the planet's ecosystem. Why in the world would we want to increase population growth even further?

As for the societal benefits of marriage -- great. I'm all for marriage. But why deplore the trend away from marriage, while at the same time denying marriage to citizens who desperately WANT to get married? How does that make any sense at all?

Los Angeles, CA

What about personal choice here? Should people be forced to get married if they don't want to? Let's face it, If the marriage institution does not look like the most desirable choice for many, it is married people who are at fault.

Regarding dwindling population, immigration is the answer. If our schools can catch up in quality with the rest of the world, people will want to come here and our problem will be solved.


@banderson --

"Marriage between a man and a women is still an institution that you can't meddle with because it is from God."

Which marriage would that be? Would that be the polygamy that is practiced by so many in the Old Testament? Would that marriage be the Biblical directive to marry your wife's servant when your wife can't get pregnant? Would that marriage be the Biblical order to marry your brother's wife when your brother dies?

Or are you perhaps talking about those traditional wedding vows, the ones that say "whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God"? You know, the vows given in the Bible by Ruth **to Naomi**??

Do you plan on following each and every one of those directives? They were from God, after all, so you can't meddle with them -- right?

If you think gay marriage is a sin, then don't have one. But especially in a world where marriage is declining, it is stupid to deny marriage to people who desperately want it.


"Women with a bachelor’s degree or higher were less likely to be currently cohabiting and were more likely to be currently married for the first time compared with women

Women who had a premarital birth and men who fathered a birth before their first marriage had lower probabilities of marrying by age 25 compared with women and men who had a first birth after first marriage. Similarly, women who had a first birth before first marriage and men who fathered a premarital first birth had a lower probability of their first marriage lasting 20 years than women and men whose first birth came after their first marriage. These findings support other research that show the rise in premarital births is associated with the decoupling of marriage and fertility over the past several decades "
(National Health Statistics, March 2012)

Areas with higher rates of poverty have lower levels of educational attainment, lower age of first marriages, higher divorce rates, and more out-of-wedlock births. The degree to which we address poverty and education can have a big impact on society.

Salt Lake City, UT

Some people in America are sill trying to make marriage a life-long commitment.

Others, work against gay marriage.

Gainesville, VA

@Salsero - yes, the divorce rate is at 50% but did you know that it is 50% greater for those that marry that once lived together? Thus, increasing the odds of divorce significantly. I grew up in a single parent family because of a death. For those of you who think that one parent is enough in the household you just don't get it because you just haven't lived it.

Provo, UT

So many of these comments are off course. This is not a discussion about gay marriage and it is starting to seem like this topic is becoming a hammer that knocks its way into almost any discussion. Now back to the real issue, co-habitating before marriage.

For years, as I studied in my field, I searched for what I believed was the bottom line of reality in everything from science to the success of a family and the society that was built on families as cells are built from atoms. I finally put my finger on it (as have many others). The bottom line of reality is 'Order versus Chaos'. Our society will fail if there is chaos in its most basic foundational structure...the family. Things are not built top down, but foundation first or all will crumble.

Saint George, UT

Hutterite and others: Ignore everything in the article by proposing something that is ironic indeed, gay marriage, as a way to strengthen families. Think of it, solve a problem with something that can't by its nature contribute to solving it. I doubt we will get beyond that question until God returns and or society is in such chaos that people will begin the process of returning back to Him. I

DN Subscriber 2

It is not that the familial unit is weakening, it is that it is being redefined.

Not longer is the "family" a mom, dad, kids and grandparents.

Now, the new "family" is a breeding female, one or more sperm donors, a litter of offspring that no one really cares for or raises, but the patriarch of this "family" is the beneficent government, all caring and all providing with no strings attached. Of course, the taxpayers funding all of this have no way to set any standards of behavior, or judgmental old-fashioned criteria like used to be applied in traditional families.

No, times are changing, and not for the better.

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