The Good of Marriage

2020 | Week of February 3 | Radio Transcript #1345

Let’s celebrate marriage this month! Actually, we believe we should celebrate God’s plan for marriage and family every month, but this month we have a formal recognition of marriage with National Marriage Week happening from February 7 through February 14. This is a time to celebrate and promote the good of marriage in the United States and around the world.

Back in 2012, when we had a Governor who understood the importance of marriage as God designed it, Governor Walker issued a Marriage Week proclamation. In part that proclamation says, that “marriage creates new families, binds men and women together in a network of affection, mutual aid and mutual obligation, commits fathers and mothers to their children, and connects children to a wider network of relatives.”  The proclamation continues, stating that “a healthy, loving marriage deserves special respect because it…creates the safest place for children to flourish and to enjoy the full emotional, moral, educational and financial benefits of both parents” and that “marriage breakdown takes a toll on the emotional, physical and financial well-being of the entire family, and increases the public cost for human programs.”

This proclamation by Governor Walker really nails the essence of marriage.  Let’s look at some of the statistics that back up these assertions.  First of all, we know from tens of thousands of social science research studies and reports that the very best environment for children is to be brought up in the home of their married mom and dad.

Children raised by their married moms and dads are, for instance, much less likely than their peers living in other situations, to experience poverty, failure in school, criminal activity, abuse of any kind, early sexual activity, and drug and alcohol abuse and addiction.

Consider these statistics:  In 2017, children living in married-couple families in Wisconsin were the least likely of all children in families to be living below the poverty level.  Only 5% of children under 18 living in married-couple families in Wisconsin were living in poverty, while 38% of children under 18 living in single-women households were in poverty.

In 2017, just over 14% of married-couple families in Wisconsin received food stamps, while 27% of households where there were single women with children received food stamps.  Thirty-seven percent of married-couple families in Wisconsin received, in 2017, some form of government assistance, but 63% of single-parent households with children received some form of government assistance.

When you put these stats with what it costs Wisconsin taxpayers every year because of unwed childbirth and divorce—nearly $1 billion—then you begin to see the staggering economic effect on society-at-large of the breakdown of marriage and family.

Here’s some more data. Since 1980, the marriage rate in Wisconsin has dropped about 40% and 21% of that drop was from 2000-2013.  One of the major contributing factors to this drop Is cohabitation, which continues to escalate. However, statistics show cohabitating relationships are nearly as bad for the adults, and are as bad for children, as being in single-parent situations.

While marriage rates have dropped, births to unwed women have increased to the point that in 2017, 38% of all babies born in Wisconsin were born to unwed mothers, and 36% of all babies born in our state were paid for by Medicaid. Think marriage and family breakdown doesn’t come with a very real public price tag? Think again. These statistics clearly confirm we all pay for the breakdown of marriage and family.

The evidence mounts every day. Marriage is good for men, women and children.  Marriage saves taxpayers money; it helps the state be a better steward of its resources.  Politicians at every level of government should be championing marriage rather than trying to redefine it, denigrate it and punish those who are married.

Churches and communities all across the state should do exactly what Governor Walker recommended in his proclamation 8 years ago: find ways to celebrate, encourage, promote and strengthen marriage every day, but especially Feb. 7-14.  Doing so will reap benefits beyond anything you can imagine for today and for many, many tomorrows.

This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

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