Everyone is entitled to go on a rant every once in a while, don't you think? And I can't remember the last rant I went on so I figure my time has come. Somehow I'm thinking my comments today might be more fitting for the op-ed section of the paper than on the marriage page, but please bear with me for just a bit.
This past week I received two separate emails on the subject of marital infidelity. The first came from Max Lucado, a well-known author of Christian books. He asked the following ridiculous -- and hopefully rhetorical -- question: "Dad, would you intentionally break the arm of your child?" He went on to answer, "Of course not. Such an action violates every fiber of your moral being." Lucado than went on to make the point that, "If you engage in sexual activity outside your marriage, you'll bring more pain into the life of your child than a broken bone."
The email then went on to ask women: "Mom, would you force your children to sleep outside on a cold night?" Again the obvious answer he supplied was, "By no means." But "if you involve yourself in an affair, you'll bring more darkness and chill into the lives of your children than a hundred winters."
Some may not like hearing these words, yet it is difficult to argue against them. We live in an age when everything seems to be acceptable just so long as nobody gets hurt. Well, the truth is that affairs are wrong, and they do hurt.
The second email to which I refer was of the spam variety, citing a website that offers advice on how to have an affair and not get caught. Now there's a real socially-conscience force for our society, which deserves no further comment.
While it may not be a popular opinion, the research is pretty clear that traditional marriage is the healthiest lifestyle and that faithfulness within marriage is absolutely the best way to go.
So what's the big deal about marriage anyway? Obviously, lots of people fail at it. It's really just a matter for churches isn't it? Why should I be concerned about marriage at all when there are so many other pressing concerns in our society?
These are reasonable and legitimate questions and fortunately there are good answers to them. In 2000, Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher released a fairly controversial book called "The Case for Marriage." The back cover describes the book as being "a groundbreaking look at marriage, one of the most basic and universal of all human institutions, that reveals the emotional, physical, economic and sexual benefits which marriage brings to individuals and society as a whole."
I really agree with a critique from The Wall Street Journal, which claims the book "makes the absolutely critical point that marriage has been misrepresented and misunderstood." Staff at the Chicago Sun-Times wrote that "those unafraid of truth will recognize 'The Case for Marriage' as what it is: the definitive defense of one of the most fundamental of all social institutions -- at a time when it desperately needs defending."
Those words were true in 2000 and I dare say even more so in 2013. Anyone who is even loosely aware of societal changes has to know that marriage is under attack. Why? Who's behind it? I do have some pretty good guesses as to the forces opposed to marriage as we know it, but I'll keep those opinions to myself for now. What I'd like to do in this column is point out some of the findings of Waite and Gallagher's work and to make the case that we all have a vested interest in preserving marriage for the good of us all.
So here's a brief overview of some reasons that marriage is good for people. That, of course, is assuming they do marriage well.
Married people are far less likely to become victims of violence, even domestic violence. The same cannot be said for folks who cohabitate.
Married people tend to live longer, healthier lives.
Children do better in numerous categories when their parents are and stay married.
Income is greater for married people.
Not only do they earn more, but married folks are better at accumulating wealth -- approximately three times as much as others.
Marriage serves to keep folks faithful -- at least more faithful than cohabitating couples. Compared to married spouses, cohabitating men are 10 times more likely to cheat and women are eight times more likely.
Marriage provides mental/emotional benefits, as studies indicate that married people are less depressed, anxious and distressed. They are also less likely to commit suicide.
Married people are more likely to report they are happier in life than others.
And last, but certainly not least in many minds, is that married people are the most likely to report satisfaction with their sex life.
Now I realize that this will not sit well with some, but the facts are the facts. Social engineering won't change that. So rather than attack marriage, why don't we do what we can to preserve and strengthen it? Sure sounds like a good idea to me!
So if your marriage is not where you want it to be may I suggest you consider investing in it rather than scrapping or replacing it? One easy investment you can make is to come to the Farmington Civic Center at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 8, for a wonderful date night. We're bringing An Evening of Comedy with Taylor Mason, and it will be a joy-filled, laugh fest for sure. I've mentioned more than a few times in this column that keeping fun in your marriage is vital to the overall health and wellness of your marriage. Hope to see you there.Ron Price is the co-founder and executive director of the Four Corners Coalition for Marriage & Family, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to strengthening and equipping marriages and families in the Four Corners area. He can be reached at 505-327-7870.