The familial structure of society has been suffering for quite some time, whether it be from the likes of abortion, contraception, or the lack of strong father figures. Additionally, the slow disintegration of family bonds is being exacerbated by the lack of marriages, particularly amongst young adults.
Recently on Morning Air, John Morales had family and marriage therapist Doug Hinderer on the show to discuss the plummeting statistics, the contributing factors, and the way we can turn it around.
According to a Pew Research study, 25% of millennials are likely to never get married at all. Doug said that there are many reasons for this negative outlook on marriage, but one of the big ones is the divorce rate. For many years now, the divorce rate has hovered around 50%, meaning that roughly half of millennials have been through the separation of their parents, custody battles, or severe parental conflict. Those traumatic experiences often leave scars on a person and that skews their perception of marriage.
John agreed, saying that he understood the fear that goes into the decision to get married. He said he was “petrified” of making a mistake and marrying the wrong person, that is until he met his wife, Cindy. Millennials are now thinking, “Hey, if I don’t get married, I can’t get divorced!” Not only that, but Hallmark movies and Hollywood have pushed this idea that romance should be perfect all the time and everything will go smoothly if you find the right one and fall in love at first sight.
“Marriage is hard work. There is suffering involved in marriage because you both married a person with defects and those defects will cause some suffering. And if your mindset is, ‘Marriage has to make me happy all the time,’ that’s an impossible mindset. Then you say, ‘Well if you’re not making me happy, then I guess I got it wrong and I should go find my soulmate. So, I’ll replace you with somebody else.’ But we know that doesn’t work because the divorce rate for second marriages is around 66% and the divorce rate for third marriages is about 75%,” said Doug.
Whereas the concept of practicing and trying, again and again, may work in other spheres, it does not work in the realm of marriage. Once you give up on somebody that you pledged your life to, that covenant begins to mean less and less. Then divorce becomes less and less of a problem to resort to. But marriage is not a secular institution, it’s a divine institution. God created and gave us marriage as a tool to get to heaven, help our spouse get to heaven, and help our children get to heaven. Without understanding this, marriage is entered into on shaky foundations, and it often ends in divorce. Pile onto that the financial burden of divorce and there’s yet another reason millennials don’t want to take the risk of getting married.
Doug pointed out many young adults are still struggling with debt, namely the debt from student loans. This desire to pay off the debts or attain some standard of living before getting married often serves to help people procrastinate their marriages. It is so integral to people in a relationship that they understand what marriage is exactly and Doug said that he tries to help people through that with pre-marriage workshops.
In order to appreciate the gravity of this sacrament, we can go back to the beginning. Seeing that Adam was alone in the Garden of Eden, God wanted to make a suitable companion for him. God did not give him an animal companion, he didn’t give him a child, and he didn’t give him a best buddy he could hang out with. He gave him a woman, a most beautiful creature who could be complementary to Adam. Their love for one another could bring new life into the world, just as the Holy Spirit is the resultant, yet ever-present love between the Father and the Son.
It’s unfortunate that young people have been stricken with the fears and burdens of the modern world that discourage them from marriage. However, education on the true meaning and intention of Holy Matrimony overshadows these negative outlooks. The power to live selflessly, suffer lovingly, and bring new life into the world is stronger than any rudimentary fear of pain or financial burden.
Listen to the full conversation below:
Tune in to Morning Air weekdays at 5am CT