How parenting can save marriage

Parenting can save marriage, writes Richard V. Reeves in The Atlantic. Marriage used to be the norm for young Americans, he writes. Now it’s the exception.

In 1960, more than 70 percent of all adults were married, including nearly six in ten twentysomethings. Half a century later, just 20 percent of 18-29-year olds were hitched in 2010

A new version of marriage —”egalitarian, committed and focused on children” — is emerging, writes Reeves. “College graduates in the United States are reinventing marriage as a child-rearing machine for a post-feminist society and a knowledge economy. It’s working, too: Their marriages offer more satisfaction, last longer, and produce more successful children.”

. . . engaged, committed parenting is hugely important. Simply engaging with and talking to children has strong effects on their learning; reading bedtime stories accelerates literacy skill acquisition; encouraging physical activity and feeding them balanced meals keeps them healthy, strong and alert.

However, as high-intensity parenting (HIP) couples team up to raise their children, the “marriage gap” is growing.

Less-educated women are ever more likely to be single parents struggling to raise children with little emotional or financial support.

A lack of “marriageable” men is a common explanation. It is clear that the labor market prospects of poorly-educated men are dire. But the language itself betrays inherent conservatism. “Marriageability” here means, principally, breadwinning potential. Nobody ever apparently worries about the “marriageability” of a woman: Presumably she just has to be fertile.

. . . men with children are something more than just potential earners: They are fathers. And what many children in our poorest neighborhoods need most of all is more parenting.

If the mother has the best chance in the labor market, the father can take on the important job of raising the children, Reeves writes. 

I’m old-fashioned. I find this vision depressing.

NBC is premiering two “feel-good sitcoms that examine the healing properties of broken homes, reports the New York Times. “Television executives seem eager to make the case that divorce doesn’t damage children and, in some cases, improves them.”

NBC featured an Olympian with an “alternative lifestyle,” notes PJ Media. At 23, free-style skier David Wise is married and has a child.

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