Marriage may be dead according to 77-year-old Isabel V. Sawhill, a long-time defender of marriage, author on marital topics and past democratic official of President Clinton’s administration. In a change of direction, Ms. Sawhill argues it is “high-time we stop trying to revive marriage and start figuring out what will replace it” to stem the rise of single parenting, which ultimately increases childhood poverty. Sawhill believes that the institution must evolve for the sake of the third of all American children now living in single parent households, who see poverty rates four times higher than those in two-parent families.
What are the alternatives to marriage? Sawhill believes that rather than trying to back-peddle to a more traditional view of marriage, it is probably better to accept family diversity and provide better education, jobs, wages and support for single parents to alleviate poverty. According to Sawhill’s speculation, we may be entering a time when couples acknowledge a commitment to one another but reside separately or simply choose to co-habitate long-term in Scandinavia fashion. Or, perhaps, there will be ‘time limits’ to marriage, something along the line of a five year contract up front, rather than signing up for ‘forever’ – which, given the divorce rates, doesn’t always succeed.
Although there are no easy solutions to the decline of marriage and its negative impact on kids, Sawhill notes that marriage must evolve one way or another. One sociologist who studies fragile, low-income families, said the fact that Sawhill is saying it’s time to move on from marriage might actually lead to a thaw between warring factions of traditionalists/conservatives and liberals, perhaps leading to a productive dialog.
If you or a family member is considering divorce or separation, contact the Law Offices of Schlesinger & Strauss, LLC for help with child custody or support, spousal maintenance, visitation rights and property division.
Source: msn.com, “Longtime Defender of Marriage Asks if we Should Try Something Else”, accessed January 3, 2015.