Recent events have led me to reflect on the institution of marriage. What is marriage? What is its purpose? What does it have to offer society? What is it about marriage that causes a lot of people to want it even as they reject its historical meaning and seek to turn it into something unrecognizable? As luck would have it, while I was thinking about this, I happened across an excerpt from a newly published book by the recently deceased Elizabeth Fox-Genovese entitled Marriage: The dream that refuses to die. I've lifted some quotes from the excerpt that really hit me. I highly recommend reading the entire excerpt here.
"More sadly yet, too many children understand that they were never the primary purpose of a marriage that was intended to further the happiness of adults. Many adults do nothing to correct this perception, and their preoccupation with their own happiness — whatever it may cost others — echoes the theme of obsessive love that dates back to Tristan and Isolde."
"And it does not help that the women’s movement, in its campaign to free women from primary responsibility for children, has effectively demoted the care for children to work fit only for servants."
"We have indulged ourselves with a culture that puts the individual — “me, me, me” — first at the expense of all competing obligations. Under these conditions, binding ties dissolve into matters of personal choice that may change without warning or concern for the consequences to others."
"Beyond the pages of fiction, and not always within them, things did not automatically end so well, and in real life, they took a high toll on children."
"Yet only the obtuse can fail to recognize that the diverse members of our society cannot possibly all have what they want at the same time, and in many cases not even sequentially."