Reality Check

Non-Trad Wedding

Today is the Coptic feast day for Obadiah, the minor prophet in the Hebrew scriptures fame. Who? So? I figured that might be your response so I selected a slightly more current topic that fits into our current political scene here in the United States.

An article in the BBC caught my attention: Why is the US marriage rate falling sharply? The data from the Pew Research Center indicates that marriage in the U.S. is at an all-time low, dropping from 72% in 1960 to 51% in 2010. The research also indicated that the age for marrying has gone up and that those with a college education are more likely to get married than those with only a high school diploma.

Of course, there are lots of possibilities for this phenomenon. The economic downturn certainly may be a factor and, with America leading the world in the divorce rate, the institution of marriage is certainly being affected. While politicians, especially conservatives, continue to extol nuclear family values, reality and data tell us something else.

I must confess that I can’t stomach too much of that conservative rhetoric. They lose me with the us versus them, only-their-beliefs-are-ordained-by-God language. Families come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and structures. The traditional nuclear family is but one of the varieties. That’s reality.

So here’s what I don’t understand: with such a disconnect between their perception of what the American family should be, for example, and reality, do they really expect getting elected is going to change that?

My mother had a famous answer she would invoke when we asked why to something she wanted us to do. It was the dreaded because I said so! That may have resulted in short-term obedience when weighed against the probability of punishment, but it certainly wasn’t effective in long-term character development.

Telling people what they should believe and how they should behave because that’s their perception what reality should be isn’t going to change anything or anyone. Time for a reality check.

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