“Out-of-Wedlock” Is No Longer “Illegitimate”

Ray children, christianity, Culture, families, feminism, gay, homosexuality, love, marriage, Mormon, race, religion, sexuality, women 37 Comments

In a recent CNN.com/living article (“Out-of-wedlock births hit record high”), the discussion centered on the fact that the birth rate outside of marriage in the United States has risen nearly 25% in the past five years.  You read that correctly – 25% in 5 years.  The following are some representative quotes from that article:

1) “We would have headed down this path. The pregnancy just accelerated things,” she said of the couple’s cohabitation, the birth of Sadie and their 2005 wedding. “It was the way it was meant to be.”

(Is this a statement of religious belief, or simply a description of fate?)

2) “Nearly 40 percent of babies born in the United States in 2007 were delivered by unwed mothers.”

(Did anyone realize it was this high?)

3) “While 28 percent of white women gave birth out of wedlock in 2007, nearly 72 percent of black women and more than 51 percent of Latinas did . . . With the publicity of our first family, marriage might slowly become more of a norm for all.

(That last sentence might be the most ironic statement in the entire article – that a liberal, Democrat who is a married President might encourage marriage as a “norm”.)

4) “There are 9.8 million single mothers versus 1.8 million single fathers.”

(So, is this really about women choosing, or is it about men not choosing?)

5) “When California Cryobank, which claims to be the world’s largest sperm bank, opened its doors in the late 1970s, 99 percent of its business catered to couples grappling with male infertility, spokesman Scott Brown said. Now, that market in the sperm donor world accounts for less than 14 percent, according to projections by Charles Sims, the organization’s co-founder and medical director.”

(The article mentions lesbians explicitly as one demographic that has contributed to the declining percentage, but it also takes most of its examples from professional, career women who never marry or are divorced with no children.)

6) “Many of these mothers choose to tap known or anonymous sperm donors as the biological clock begins to pound. Perhaps they are like Morrissette, who divorced in her early 30s, wasn’t in a hurry to jump into another relationship and decided to have kids on her own.”

(Iow, the woman really is fine without the man?)

I found this article fascinating, particularly in light of the statements by LDS apostles and prophets about the destruction of the traditional family.  I wonder how everyone here reacts as they read the article and the quotes I’ve excerpted.

So, what are your thoughts about the rising number of out-of-wedlock births – and the pending death of “illegitimacy” when it comes to marriage and childbirth?  Which quote above struck you as the most interesting – and did any of them concern you more than the others?

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  2. 2) “Nearly 40 percent of babies born in the United States in 2007 were delivered by unwed mothers.”

    (Did anyone realize it was this high?)

    Yeah, I figured it was that high, particularly among minorities, specifically blacks.

    (That last sentence might be the most ironic statement in the entire article – that a liberal, Democrat who is a married President might encourage marriage as a “norm”.)

    Why would this be ironic? When has there been a Democratic president who wasn’t married? When was there a Democratic president who didn’t espouse marriage as a norm? Just remember, in last year’s elections, only ONE Republican candidate had only one wife. It was, ironically, the Mormon. All the other Republican candidates had had multiple wives in their lives. John McCain barely signed the divorce papers to his first wife before he married his second! While on the Democratic side, only Joe Biden was previously married, though you really can’t blame him for remarrying, after all his first wife died!

    Maybe conservatives ought to rethink how they view Democrats and family values. Because I think they’ve gotta work out a lot of wrinkles from within their own ideological group first before they start speaking about the motes in the eyes of their more liberal compatriots.

    4) “There are 9.8 million single mothers versus 1.8 million single fathers.”

    (So, is this really about women choosing, or is it about men not choosing?)

    No, what this is saying is that those 1.8 million single fathers fathered kids with 9.8 million single mothers. Those single fathers have gotten around!

    Which quote above struck you as the most interesting – and did any of them concern you more than the others?

    The thing that concerns me the most is that when you talk about the ‘destruction of marriage and the family’ most who talk about that ignore the elephant in the room – heterosexual divorce! Oh, they talk about gay marriage, and out of wedlock children, but they don’t talk about how destructive and divisive divorce can be. Maybe so many people out there don’t want to get married because they don’t want to run the risk of getting into a messy divorce. My parents divorced when I was twelve (yeah, not a good age—though I guess there is never a good age for children to see their parents divorce).

    You want to save traditional marriage? Then work on the families you’ve got now and don’t worry about the non-families out there. Protect the current families. Make sure they stick with it. Teach the men to treat their women with kindness, respect and love. Teach the women to not be so harsh with their men. Teach them the best ways to communicate, so problems are minimized. Focus on the families currently together. Protect them. Gays getting together does NOT affect these families in the least. Gays wanting to get married is a side show, a distraction from the real problem facing traditional marriage – divorce.

    But talking about divorce is not politically powerful. Everyone already thinks divorce is bad. But talking about gay marriage…now THAT is politically powerful. That works well as a wedge issue. But it is a distraction.

    Don’t bother with the out of wedlocks. Save the currently married. The more we show the rest of the world that traditional marriage actually works, the more we will get out of wedlocks to get into wedlock! But we can’t do that with a massive elephant in the room. Fix the problem of divorce first!

  3. I think Dan is right this time: divorce is what’s “destroying the traditional family.” The American divorce rate is simply staggering. Here’s an interview with the author of the book The Marriage-Go-Round. Here’s the money quote:

    take two children, one growing up with married parents in the United States, and one growing up with unmarried parents in Sweden—which child has the higher likelihood of seeing his parents’ relationship break up? Answer: the American kid, because children living with married parents in the United States have a higher probability of experiencing a break-up than do children living with unmarried parents in Sweden. That’s how high our break-up rates are.

  4. I bet if you took a survey and asked Mormons what they think is the greatest thread to the traditional family right now, a lot of them are going to say gay marriage. But after all the things that Ray just listed, I think that gay marriage almost becomes a trivial matter. I guess I wasn’t really surprised by the out-of-wedlock statistics. All I have to do is look around me. Even in my home ward, which had an epidemic of teen pregnancies about 5-10 years ago. Even in my tiny branch, where out of about 10 RS sisters, about half of them are divorcees. Even the RS president is a 2x divorcee. I’m not criticizing people who get divorced. It happens, and sometimes it’s definitely for the best — for the couple and the kids. But why is it happening?

    The outside factors are obvious. The family is indeed “under attack,” but not just from immorality. There is a lot of pressure in today’s world from work, lack of time, high demands, making ends meet, etc. It’s no longer feasible for most families for only the husband to go to work and the wife to stay at home with the kids. Not if you want to pay off both your student loans, have a car, pay off your mortgage in less than 30 years, plus afford children, pay for their needs, as well as all the bills that creep up unexpectedly. My husband and I don’t have kids. He works full time, I work part time outside of the home and take care of everything in the home. We have it way better than most when it comes to time with each other, but still it never seems like there’s enough of it, especially when we sometimes work opposite schedules. Really, I’m not surprised that so many couples split up. There are many factors that can lead to a break-up, but I think that lack of time is a big one.

    I think we also need to ask ourselves, however, whether we bring some of this upon ourselves. There is a lot of pressure in the Church to get married. It’s hard to not feel guilty if you don’t! And I think this is particularly true of men in the Church. (I guess they’ll have to answer for themselves, though.) I admit, I hate all those quotes and talks from GA’s who downright chastise people for delaying marriage until finishing school, not having kids right away, making it sound like they’re being selfish for wanting to be done their studies and have some money in the bank before starting a family. Some make it, but generally speaking I think it’s lunacy to to purposely have kids before you’re even done school or have a job. Personally, I don’t know why we’re so shocked when young families like these break up.

    In regards to sperm banks, I’m not a big fan of such things while there are so many kids (particularly minority children in the US) in need of adoptive or foster parents. I’m bothered by the fact that we bring more children into this world when we can’t take care of the ones that we have. I think that there are many good single people (lesbian or not) who could/would give a child a good home and would consider adoption if it wasn’t so difficult for them to be allowed to adopt as a single person.

    (Just one last thought regarding the term “illegitimate.” I’ve never liked it because I think it makes the child feel like his or her existence is “illegitimate.” Sort of like when they called such children “bastards.”)

  5. FD,

    “I bet if you took a survey and asked Mormons what they think is the greatest thread to the traditional family right now, a lot of them are going to say gay marriage. But after all the things that Ray just listed, I think that gay marriage almost becomes a trivial matter.”

    They might as a kind of knee-jerk reaction, but hopefully, thoughtful people (not all members are all that thoughtful) would realize as Dan noted above the real majority of the problems start with bad marriages and divorce. While unwed parenthood is also an issue and tends to proliferate itself over and over again, it is usually the result of the former problem.

    “There is a lot of pressure in the Church to get married.”

    This is true but there is equal counsel and making good choices in a partner. There used to be more counsel that any two people can make a marriage work if they want to, but I suspect that has gone by the wayside, hopefully. The rush to get married sometimes seems more like a stopgap to immorality than to “replenish the earth.”

  6. “There are 9.8 million single mothers versus 1.8 million single fathers.” I’m not sure how to interpret this. When I first read it, I thought what Dan did: each of the 1.8 million dads has 5.4 “baby mamas.” That’s of course probably not what it means. It probably refers to the number of single fathers with custody (e.g. divorced or widowed). In fact, the only reason there are 9.8 million single mothers is because maternity is obvious while paternity is tough to prove.

  7. “Save the currently married.”

    Definitely. Plus allowing access to safe abortions would also help solve this problem. No point allowing teens to give birth!

    On the pressure to marry in Church:

    “This is true but there is equal counsel and making good choices in a partner.”

    The pressure to get married makes it very unequal, I’d say. Plus once you fall in love, well you ‘fall’ in love and all the other considerations are usually placed aside.

  8. FD,

    “There is a lot of pressure in the Church to get married.”

    I can definitely see the pressure unmarried adults in the church are under and the impression I feel they are given is that as long as you are both faithful members of the church it will all work out. I’m divorced as of a year ago and it was definitely the best thing that could have happened for all involved. Now I’m under the same pressure and it’s tough especially with the way the Young Single Adults/ Single Adults programs are organized. I’m 30 now which means I can go to YSA until I turn 31, so I’m basically in a group of people from 18 to 30 and most are between 18 and 23, in a few months I’ll be in a group of 31+. So where do I fit in? I don’t have a group of middle aged people that I can actually relate to.

    Then there is the feeling that because of the pressure to marry early in the church any single women over 25 have something wrong. I don’t want to be mean and this is absolutely a huge stereotype but if you aren’t married by 25 you either have psychological issues (dealt with that and not going there again) or physical issues and the fact is that sometimes the physical issues stem from depression from being so ‘old’ and not married. So marrying outside the church looks better and better all the time.

    Not sure where I’m going with this other than I think the church puts too much pressure on people to get married. Then, if you’re not married before you finish school there isn’t a good group for single adults. Not to mention the eternal nature of marriage, how do you make a decision that will affect you for eternity and know it’s right? Can’t I have a little trial period first and then make it eternal?

  9. Post
    Author

    Thanks, everyone. It’s interesting how this went quickly to a gay marriage discussion, when that actually never crossed my mind when I posted this.

    For the record, as I’ve said before, I think blaming homosexuals for the destruction of the family is ludicrous – and I’ve never heard “The Brethren” say that. The message I have heard loud and clear and repeatedly is that the heterosexual community (and the greater Christian community as a whole, including us) is destroying marriage by not honoring it and sanctifying it and making it sacred. You can’t blame the 2%-4% for what the 96%-98% have done.

    Dan, my point was exactly yours – that ALL presidents have encouraged marriage as the norm, so the statement is ironic. Sorry that wasn’t clear.

    I was talking with a black sister in our ward on the way back from the temple last Saturday, and we both agree that (politics aside, since I don’t want this thread to devolve into a political discussion along those lines) the fact that the inner-city black community now has an example at the highest level in the country of a black man who is married and honors his wife and their children is a wonderful thing. Too many of the visible “national role models” for the young men in those communities are athletes and entertainers who have multiple kids with multiple women (the whole “baby mama” syndrome), so having a dedicated family man as the President of the US for that group is a good thing.

    “I’m bothered by the fact that we bring more children into this world when we can’t take care of the ones that we have.”

    FD – AMEN!! That probably is the most disturbing thing about the whole issue to me, as well.

    Hawkgrrrl, I think the disparity between single mothers and single fathers is a reflection of two things: 1) the obviousness of motherhood, as you mention; 2) the disregard for marriage among young men in general. I am NOT an advocate of shotgun weddings, and the LDS Church itself discourages young kids from marrying simply because they get pregnant (preferring adoption as the first choice of action), but there are many “baby daddies” out there who share full responsibility for the discrepancy.

  10. Post
    Author

    “No point allowing teens to give birth!”

    Carlos, I’m often unsure whether your comments are meant in earnest or are sarcastic, but the quote above is too loaded to try to answer fully here. Let me simply say that there’s a huge difference between 14-16 and 18-19 in our culture. I’m not in favor of most 18-19-year-olds getting married and/or having kids, but “teens” is an incredibly arbitrary, modern invention that really is way too broad to be of good use here, imo.

    Jenkins, I don’t think the Church puts too much pressure on members to get married, but I do agree completely that there is undue pressure to get married before graduating from college. I’m not saying all or even most members should wait until they graduate – not at all. I’m also not saying I want the average marriage age in the Church to rise significantly and approach the national average – not at all. However, I do agree that many members marry too soon, have too short engagement periods and really don’t know enough about each other prior to getting married. Fortunately, as Jeff said in #4, I’ve seen a move away from the “you can be happy with anyone” mentality toward a “be careful who you marry” outlook over the past decade or so.

  11. 7 — Yes. This is where I think we need greater and more clear leadership from the GAs on the matter of marriage — pushing back at the pressure to marry a stranger quickly when you’re young, and putting that choice into a better context. Simply finding someone who will agree to marry you is not useful — it’s not about getting married, it’s about building a marriage that will last. And Pres. Kimball’s quote about any two worth people can make it work needs a lot more context than “If we can both get a TR, then we can make it work,” which is how it can be translated at the ground level.

    I’ve been moderating mail lists for LDS people who have gone through or are considering divorce for about a decade now, and it’s my strong opinion that way, way more divorces are caused by stupid decisions to marry than are caused by stupid decisions to divorce, and there is way, way more said about the latter through official channels than about the former. I would like to see that change.

  12. I would say that President Kimball’s point about two worthy people making a marriage work has been vastly misinterpreted. I don’t think it’s meant to encourage people to have quick engagements and get married without addressing doubts about their potential spouses. I think it’s meant to encourage people who are already married to stay together. Unfortunately, I’ve knowm people in our culture who like to emphasize the short engagement interpretation. And I think they’re missing the point entirely.

    I’ve tried to avoid giving out my life history but if anyone is truly curious, I might consider telling my story in greater detail and elaborating on the lessons I’ve learned. I grew up in the Church, went to BYU, served a mission, returned to BYU and graduated without getting married (and, no, they don’t offer a refund on tuition). I was literally a 40-year-old virgin, much to the astonishment of some fellow Mormons, even though they knew I was an active member. And I eventually married a 35-year-old woman (in the temple) who was never married before and whose personal history aligned with mine in all the right ways. My internal disappointment for remaining single for so many years was far greater than any outside pressure to be married. In the end, however, I’m sure I married the right woman and I’m glad my prior attempts at courtship failed.

    I will always be an advocate for lonely, single Latter-day Saints. And I’ll be the first to say it’s foolish to look down upon yourself just because you’re single. I was hypersensitive to culturally-based statements about single people but I found great comfort in the things the Brethren have said in the past 10 years. I’m also reluctant to criticize anyone for marrying too young. I don’t like to question anyone else’s timing.

    For me, the bottom line among the Brethren seems to be “If you know you’ve found the right person, get married and stop making excuses.” I can honestly say that I married the first woman whom I knew was right for me. We became engaged less than 4 months after we met and I’m confident that I didn’t violate the sage advice of “The Brethren.”

  13. “I don’t think it’s meant to encourage people to have quick engagements and get married without addressing doubts about their potential spouses. I think it’s meant to encourage people who are already married to stay together.”

    I agree, Greg, that Pres. Kimball meant it to address marriages staying together, but I think he also meant to address the idea of there being only one, true soul mate for whom each person should wait until they found “that one, special person”. I agree with BOTH of those concerns, but I’m afraid it’s been bastardized (pun intended for this thread) since he said it. I think his original intent was much like your summary, with a slight (but important) twist, “If you BELIEVE you’ve found the right person, get married and stop making excuses.”

    It’s a fine line, but, as you say, it has to remain an individual line.

  14. My liberal friends make a lot of ‘false dichotomy’ statements to justify their views. I think the leaders of the church consistently focus on ‘and’ messages:

    * Abortion is wicked ‘and’ we need to love and care for the children we choose to bring into the world
    * Gay marriage is not part of God’s plan ‘and’ we must do everything we can to build healthy, traditional, marriage relationships
    * We shouldn’t put marriage off for selfish reasons ‘and’ we must be prayful, patient and wise in choosing a spouse

    Those who attempt to follow Christ have and always will be hypocrites. Our standard is perfection and we (more specifically me) always fall well short. For this reason, we make easy targets. Our critics say we can’t stand against abortion because we don’t make sure that every unwanted child has its need met. We can’t criticize gay marriage because of the high divorce rate among Christians, etc.

  15. Ray,

    Dan, my point was exactly yours – that ALL presidents have encouraged marriage as the norm, so the statement is ironic. Sorry that wasn’t clear.

    My apologies then, as I misunderstood.

    the fact that the inner-city black community now has an example at the highest level in the country of a black man who is married and honors his wife and their children is a wonderful thing

    I’ve thought about that too. He gave a wonderful speech last summer on black men who leave children behind. I hope he continues pressing this point with African American males. This is a fairly new phenomena—this out of wedlock children among blacks. Before the 50s (I think), divorce rates, or even out of wedlock rates were very low among blacks.

  16. The CNN article neglected to expose that this societal trend is a result of the influence of Murphy Brown. Obviously, children who grew up watching that show and are now old enough to have their own children. But I’m surprised to find that the show was so popular among inner-city African-Americans!

  17. I recently spoke to my bishop about a girl I’ve been seeing for several months. His advice was that if she’s the one, get married quickly, don’t bother with a long engagement. Now I don’t want to be critical of the bishop but it made me wonder why that was his advice. I personally (and you can comment on whether this is how members think or not) feel that there is such a strong taboo about breaking the law of chastity that it is preferable to marry quickly so you can have sex and figure things out rather than risking breaking the law of chastity. So what is preferable, breaking the law of chastity or obeying and getting divorced because you didn’t know the person well enough? Obviously neither is a good option and I don’t think most look at it in those terms but which is better of the two?

  18. the better of the two? Avoid a “long engagement” – date for long enough to get to know the real person and have lots of serious talks about lots of serious topics – get married as soon as you are reasonably sure you love each other and want to get married with your eyes wide open. Personally, if you’ve been seeing her for “several months” I think your Bishop’s advice isn’t out of line at all – IF it’s right for you. In the end, it’s your call – not your Bishop’s.

    I don’t think it’s complicated – but I don’t think there’s any time frame that’s right for all.

  19. I agree with Ray. Although I’m highly skeptical of quick, short engagements, I think that loooong engagements (I’m talking years) is just ridiculous. If people are “engaged” but delaying the wedding without a good reason (i.e. school, moving logistics, work commitments, etc), then they probably shouldn’t be engaged. Then it’s probably just stalling. If the couple is sure about each other and have no serious doubts and there are no legitimate obstacles that should delay the wedding, then why wait? On the other hand, when one or both are stalling or putting off the marriage, it’s probably because they have some nagging doubt (either that or they are saving up for a royal wedding). The way I see it, if a couple isn’t ready to get married right away (as long as all the logistics are in place), then why should they even be engaged? All the “getting to know each other” is not the purpose of being engaged. That should be done BEFORE getting engaged, IMO.

    One thing I can’t quite figure out is why some couples are NEVER ready to get married. Particularly those who have lived together for several years, have bought a house and car together, have 2 or 3 kids together, and yet are STILL not ready to “take the plunge” — as if getting financially tied up in a house and having kids together with someone else isn’t taking a huge plunge in itself. Seriously, I’ve talked to people I know in this position and it amazes me. In some ways, they’re already more “married” than I am, but making it legal is such a HUGE step that they’re just not ready to take.

  20. Jenkins: Maybe you should ask the Bishop why he gave you the advice about a quick wedding. I wonder if he’d go “on the record” saying that you’ll break the law of chastity. And if you felt insulted by that, you should tell him. Keep it light if you want to. Laugh about it. But let him know that it’s unkind. This is another example of why I object to Latter-day Saints judging each other’s timing.

    Pretty soon, I’ll probably get a lot of casual inquiries into when my wife and I will have our first child. The assumption will be that, based on how long we’ve been married, we’d better make some progress. But anyone who casually asks the question won’t consider, in advance, whether we have a physical problem or some other painful reason to remain childless. Or maybe there’s no problem and we would have started a family soon anyway without their pestering. But, frankly, it’s none of their business.

    When I was single and I met people at church for the first time, they would often ask the typical questions:

    1. Did you serve as a full-time missionary? (Yes.)
    2. Are you married? (No.)
    3. Do you have children? (No)

    The questions usually came in that order. So I was careful to answer #2 by saying, “No, I’ve never been married.” They’d ask #3 anyway… which always made me wonder. Is it so difficult to imagine that a guy could be in his late 30s, remain active in the church and obey the law of chastity? These were Latter-day Saints who, apparently, couldn’t imagine someone living up to these simple standards. And I found that lack of faith among fellow church members to be disheartening. It was bad enough that Hollywood movie producers think that 40 year-old virgins are freaks but did my fellow Saints agree?

  21. Why is the divorce rate so high now? Here’s my theory, supported by anecdotal evidence of what I’ve seen in various generations.

    In couples my parents’ age, the man didn’t have to treat the woman with any respect or kindness or even civility. If he didn’t, she had little choice. She could leave him and try to raise all her kids alone on the pay of a nurse, schoolteacher, or dental tech, being gone all day and then coming home and doing the labor of the home all night. Or she could put up with it, and make some kind of life for herself. Most, understandably, found ways to stick it out.

    Then along comes my generation and women who were gradually becoming economically independent. Now women did’t have to put up with ill-treatment anymore. But most men (and I’m not talking about LDS men here) haven’t seen the writing on the wall yet. The woman still is in charge of all the work at home, even if she can delegate some of it. It’s still her job. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard men of my generation talk about baby-sitting their own kids. Or helping their wife with the laundry (as if they didn’t make dirty clothes themselves). Men in my generation liked to split the family money. With her half she buys the groceries, all the kids’ expenses, all the family’s clothes and supplies and doctors. With his half of the money he buys stereos and TVs, cars, and all sorts of fancy toys. That’s fair, right? In my generation, women began to get some rough economic parity with men, but they still had ALL the work of the home to do, and still were often treated with no respect or courtesy at home. They were frequently treated as maids / prostitutes. So naturally that leads to a higher divorce rate. I remember one guy telling me that his house was a wreck and he ate bad food so he decided he should get married to his then girlfriend. I suppose she was a fairly cheap maid and live-in chef.

    Now in the next generation, the ones who were raised by the moms in the above paragraph, there seems to be finally some dawning realization that women aren’t genetically designed to be mens’ slaves. When men begin to pull equal weight in families, when they learn to treat their wives with respect (again I’m not talking about LDS men here), then the divorce rate will go down again. When we have real equal partnerships, the rate of divorce will decline precipitously. The high divorce rate comes from the lag time between the world changing and men coming to realize that it has truly changed forever. That’s my theory.

  22. “But anyone who casually asks the question won’t consider, in advance, whether we have a physical problem or some other painful reason to remain childless. Or maybe there’s no problem and we would have started a family soon anyway without their pestering. But, frankly, it’s none of their business.”

    Amen to that, Greg. My husband and I have been married for over 6 years. I have to admit that most members have been pretty good and not asked those embarrassing questions. In fact, I’ve been surprised at just how “easy” I’ve had it. But I’m home for a visit now and just this past Sunday a sister asked me (in front of my whole family) when I was going to add to the family. I know she meant no offense, so I smiled and told her that my husband and I are expecting a new dog sometime later this year. I didn’t even have to lie. 🙂

  23. So, I was joking about the Murphy Brown connection. But what about the fact that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are praised in the popular media like royalty… like some “super couple” and a great example of family joy? Does this kind of example really have an influence on people in the real world? Pick your favorite entertainment “news” outlet like Entertainment Tonight or Entertainment Weekly. They seem to treat Brad Pitt as the perfect dad and Angelina Jolie as a great and wise authority on motherhood. Think of how this “couple” was treated at the Oscars. Think of how much attention Tom Cruise received when he did the whole marriage and child thing in the Hollywood, “out of sequence” style.

    Now consider how the media rarely takes any interest in famous people who have traditional marriages and intact, two-parent families. Thirty years ago the media would also probably have ignored a celebrity’s family life if it were traditional and conservative. But I also don’t think they would have glorified non-traditional families like they do today. Is this a catalyst of societal change or merely a reflection?

  24. His advice was that if she’s the one, get married quickly, don’t bother with a long engagement.

    As the father of nine (including six daughters), my advice has always been: long courtship, short engagement. In other words, don’t get engaged until you’re really sure that this is someone you want to spend your life (and eternity) with. Also, the long courtship gives a bit of time for the surge of hormones and chemistry to die down a bit. But once you’ve made that decision, there’s not much point in dragging things out. ..bruce..

  25. Going back to Pres. Kimball’s famous statement about marriage, Bookslinger just posted the actual quote with the surrounding verbiage on Keepapitchinin. In context, it is WAY different than most people summarize it. Ardis’ post there is about something published in 1922 about unmarried sisters in the Church, and it’s really fascinating. (The link is: The Destiny of the Unmarried)

    In selecting a companion for life and for eternity, certainly the most careful planning and thinking and praying and fasting should be done to be sure that of all the decisions, this one must not be wrong. In true marriage there must be a union of minds as well as of hearts. Emotions must not wholly determine decisions, but the mind and the heart, strengthened by fasting and prayer and serious consideration, will give one a maximum chance of marital happiness. It brings with it sacrifice, sharing, and a demand for great selflessness. …

    … “Soul mates” are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price. …

  26. “While 28 percent of white women gave birth out of wedlock in 2007, nearly 72 percent of black women and more than 51 percent of Latinas did.”

    Say What? That can’t possibly mean what it says. The recent U.S birthrate is around 14 births per 1000 people. These numbers translate into birthrates of about 140 per thousand for whites and 360 per thousand for blacks. And that’s not even counting births to married women.

  27. I think bfwebster is right on track. Not to sound like a major prude either, but to misquote Pride & Prejudice, letting your passions outweigh your virtues isn’t exactly a great foundation for marriage. Of course, lots of things in Pride & Prejudice are a bad foundation for marriage (financial comfort outweighing attraction, attraction outweighing huge differences in intellect, etc.).

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    #26 – Left Field, I think that quote is meant to say that of those women who give birth, the stated percentages apply – not that the percentages are for ALL women.

  29. Tatianna, my only concern is that the pendulum sway too far in the other direction. In my marriage I was the only one that worked. However, I also got the kids breakfast and dressed in the morning, would make lunch for them and in the evening usually had to stop and buy dinner on the way home. I also cleaned the house, did dishes, did laundry, did the shopping (she never had a license) etc, etc. Meanwhile my ex wife felt perfectly fine waking at noon and watching TV all day. I realize this is an exception, not a rule but I have been in Elders quorum meetings where the men are told they should come home from work and continue working in the home. I also see in my ward the women have all sorts of clubs, book club, recipe club, etc. and it seems perfectly fine and church approved for them to get together whenever they feel like, but when the guys want to do something without their wives you’d think they were committing some crime. It’s important that the partnership is equal and this is different for every relationship. I think that’s what you were saying I just wanted to clarify.

  30. Ray -my comment was honest. I’ve gradually changed my opinion on abortion, from thinking it a bad sin to today seeing it as a necessary evil in some cases. Teens, ie unmarried under 20, would be better off aborting and so will the child! For the healthy married mom who ‘oops’ and is pregnant again, well in her case I’d say it is a bad sin to abort.

    I prefer J Ruben Clark’s view that (from memory) ‘women should think about it carefully before aborting’.


    #21 Tatiana: I see that for your theory women are/were always the victims who needed to leave the husband. Yet in making out the wife as the ‘poor’ victim who must leave, you are only stereotyping women. Todays research shows clearly that women are just as unfaithful as husbands during a marriage. Maybe this increase in divorce numbers is just because women can also sleep around today which inevitably makes one stop loving a husband -and the husbands will end it.

    It isn’t always the mans fault that a marriage fails because ‘ladies’ are just as capable of sin as men are, as mother Eve proved so well years ago even though Adam was a good and faithful priesthood holder!!!!

  31. “Teens, ie unmarried under 20, would be better off aborting and so will the child! For the healthy married mom who ‘oops’ and is pregnant again, well in her case I’d say it is a bad sin to abort.” Personally, I think using abortion as a method of birth control is ill-advised, although with the current “day after” pill, it’s also totally unnecessary, even for those teens who lack foresight and self-control (wait, that was redundant).

  32. I’ve seen two instances of a seeming reversal of the trend about non-committal male partners. I know of two men who love and want to marry the women with whom they have conceived children out of wedlock. They are not bad looking, well-behaved, and have jobs (perhaps not high paying or glamorous). The women they are with, however, don’t want to get married to them, seemingly because they lack the qualities that they would desire in a husband. So, they have remain co-habitating, as the men want the relationship with the woman and child. One has a seemingly solid relationship status, the other with a tenous, awkward relationship.

    Are these two cases rare exceptions, or does anyone see this as a new trend? Is about independence, insecurity, advantage?

  33. Ray “and I’m not touching the Adam and Eve comment. :)” Oh! c’mon, have a go….. 🙂

    hawkgrrrl: “with the current “day after” pill, it’s also totally unnecessary” Yes, certainly. I forgot about that little pill. It solves many difficulties for girls in that age group. Also avoids hassles for women having affairs! But I wouldn’t call it birth control if handled well and done “instead off” an abortion. And the married women who oops and then takes the pill would still be in trouble with Jesus IMHO.

    Yes, that day after pill could avoid most abortions which, when one sees how they do abortions, sucking out the fetus and so on…. certainly the pill is more humane.

    Rigel: I think its a new trend and has been since the late ’70’s. A good example was documented during the pbs series “Carrier” which is currently online at pbs.org, about a sailor on the Nimitz who has a girlfriend back home pregnant. It turns out that she used him on the rebound and by the time he got back to port she was back with her old boyfriend. The sailor was deeply in love, painfully so, but the girl was just an airhead and made him suffer twice, once by not marrying him and then by only allowing him access to his daughter on some weekends, but he has to travel at his own expense from PA to LA (i think LA?) and pay child support. In that case if anyone puts the blame on the sailor (who was still technically at war in 05) well it would just show how ignorant and biased they are against men and fathers especially. The fact that our church would not employ him in seminary because of his civil status but our church could theoretically employ the single mom in seminaries…well it says a lot about our GA leaders. They also would allow that single mom to serve as a Temple Worker but not the guy if his over 30 and single!…..and it goes on and on.

  34. Just remember, in last year’s elections, only ONE Republican candidate had only one wife. It was, ironically, the Mormon. All the other Republican candidates had had multiple wives in their lives.

    Um, actually Ron Paul was on his first wife (he was the last to drop out of the race!) and had been married longer than any of the other candidates. Mike Huckabee was second to last dropping out, and also was on his first marriage.

  35. The cheapest method of birth control for both males and females in relationships…hold an asprin between your legs. Store brands work fine! Years ago couples obstained. I keep wondering why that cannot be done anymore? How are the people of today so different from those that lived a few years ago? Of course this is not in the real world is it? A woman should have a right whether we agree with her decsion or not. If I could do it I’d find a way to artificially inpregnate every male, I think then we may see a decline in the birth rate. Perhaps we can rig up a chair and electricute them equal to the female’s labor for throughout the duration of her pain!. If this was something every male who gets someone pregnant would have to go through, again I think we see a big drop in the birth rate!

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