REALity – Volume XXXIV Issue No.10 October 2015
Most people would like to have a happy marriage. For example, the Vanier Institute of the Family found that, among others, the vast majority of teens say they want to be married and stay married for a lifetime.
Yet, the marriage rate has reached the lowest level in generations at 4.4 per 1000 in 2008, a drop from 7.7 in 1981. (No statistics are available later than 2008 according to Statistics Canada). There are three major reasons for this tragic phenomenon. They are:
- The Sexual Revolution
During the sexual revolution of the 1960’s, all social norms were challenged, especially sexual behaviour. The new attitude was that we are sexual beings and our sexual needs should not be denied. This paved the way for sex outside marriage. The latter is now regarded as “normal” – even expected of young people. The birth control pill and the availability of abortion made sexual activity much easier, which resulted in ever increasing sexual experimentation.
- No Fault Divorce
This divorce revolution occurred in Canada in 1986, when federal legislation permitted divorces after a one year separation, without having to prove any “fault”. That is, one spouse could dissolve the marriage for any reason – or for no reason. This undermined the concepts of the permanency and commitment in marriage and made every marriage vulnerable. In 1961, the number of divorces in Canada was 6,563. In 1986 there were 78,304 divorces. In 2008 (Statistic Canada’s most recent statistics available) there were 70,226 divorces in Canada.
- The Co-habitation Revolution
Co-habitation has become increasingly accepted as a valid alternative to marriage or as a way to “test-drive” the relationship before committing to marriage. Research data show, however, that co-habiting before marriage is harmful to the permanence and commitment of a later marriage. According to Statistics Canada, by the time the children of co-habiting parents are ten years old, 63% of them will have seen their parents separate, compared with only 14% of children whose parents were married. 25% of children where parents lived common law, but then married, will experience family breakdown, compared to 13.6% for children of married parents who did not cohabit prior to marriage.
Who will suffer the most from this? The children of these unions pay the price. These children will experience higher rates of poverty, mental illness, suicide, juvenile delinquency and criminality. This is very unfair to children and to society.
In addition, the break-up of couples with children costs the taxpayers millions of dollars because the government must pick up the pieces of these broken relationships through the welfare and judicial systems.
The Collateral Damage – Male Reluctance to Marry
These three major reasons for the decline of marriage have given rise to yet another disturbing phenomenon. This is the reluctance of men to commit to marriage today. Women want marriage because most want children. Many men, however, see no reason to marry. The sexual liberation has given them the sex they want without having to commit to marriage. This differs from previous generations, when men usually had to marry to have sex and a family. However, when women make themselves sexually available, men are not required to settle down with one woman only.
Also, men often don’t gain much from marriage. In fact, many lose by it. They not only lose their freedom and easy lifestyle, but they also, frighteningly, lose most of their money if the marriage goes wrong. Thanks to the feminist domination of our judicial system, under the Provincial Family Law Acts, men lose half their savings, pensions and property. Further, under the 1997 Supplementary Guidelines to the Divorce Act, child support (again influenced by feminists) is based, unreasonably, only on the income of the non-custodial parent, (usually the father) even though the Divorce Act itself provides that support be based on the income of both parents. Therefore, men are forced to pay support payments, regardless of the income of the custodial spouse, with serious ramifications for any failure to comply.
Men know all too well that it is women who initiate most of the divorces in Canada, taking the children and most of their income with them. Why don’t men marry today? They’re too smart.
The Effect on Society of Modern Changes
There is little doubt that these so-called “progressive” societal changes and legislation have left in their wake a tangle of disturbing problems. Instead of providing freedom and liberty and “free-love”, we have the fragmentation of families, sorrow and grief, not to mention financial losses to both individuals and society.
It seems, in retrospect, that the previous ways of respect for the power of sexuality, the family and traditional moral values, established by our various religious faiths, bequeathed to us the advantage to live our lives as happier, more fulfilled individuals with purpose and meaning. How to restore stability to society is our challenge today. Grievous damage has occurred, and changes are necessary. This will not be easy, but we have to start somewhere. Some useful changes would include:
Changing the Divorce Laws
There is no question that our no-fault divorce law is not working, as the crucial values of commitment and permanence are undermined by it. Moreover, no-fault divorce was supposed to resolve marital difficulties. It has not done so. Acrimony, suffering, and trauma still follow divorce as the no-fault aspect does not solve the main practical problems of divorce, namely, the custody of the children, division of property and financial support. It is only accountants and lawyers who have benefitted from our present, no-fault divorce law.
Promotion of Marriage by Providing Support Systems for Couples
The tragedy is not that so many marriages end in divorce today, but rather, that so little is done to assist troubled, but still viable marriages. Instead, society is emphasising personal happiness as the priority over responsibilities to spouse and children.
There is nothing new, however, about unhappy marriages. What is prevalent is the unwillingness to work through the stresses that are inevitable in every marriage.
A network of support systems for ailing marriages should be set up, including easily available and low-cost counselling. These services should be tax-deductible and government subsidized.
Sex Education Curriculums
Research indicates that teen relationships are the training ground for future intimacy. Sex education should help students identify the skills that will help produce stable marriage relationships. Instead, current sex education programs, such as the appalling one introduced in Ontario in September, 2015, does not relate sexuality to love and marriage in any way. The curriculum relates only to safe sex and personal pleasure, which gives a deeply distorted and dangerous view of sexuality. It is extremely harmful.
Living out our lives responsibly, and raising our children with both a mother and father are necessary for a child’s well-being. Marriages should be permanent, made possible by the will to put others before oneself and to restrain our sexual impulses. Having stable, married parents is a template for teens in the formation of their later stable partnerships. Parental example plays a huge role in a child’s attitude towards the permanency of marriage. Such an example should be our major goal.