Friday, June 01, 2007

Marriage and Children

There have been a couple of great posts lately, starting with Instapundit noting an article in the Economist regarding the success factor of kids raised in an intact family. I won't go too far along that line, as I really don't have much to say beyond what the article says and it's long, so you're going to spend most of your time reading that anyway.

Subsequent to that, this post by Shrink-Wrapped discussing the topic as it relates to the movie Knocked Up, and Sent-West discussing the poor decision making ability of young people who have followed the post-sexual revolution dogma of non-judgementalism.
I’ve come to the belief, from observing my peers, that the societal unwillingness to make value judgments that has prevailed in the last 50 years has affected their ability to make good relationship choices. They are somewhat mired in the idea that it is unbearably uncouth to set a standard of behavior that they find acceptable in others, and more often than not end up with partners who’s behavior they are unhappy with, due to their inability or unwillingness to ask for better. From my peer group I hear a lot of statements such as “but that would be forcing my opinion on them” and “but they’re their own person.” It seems all well and good for casual relationships, but trying to raise a family or secure a marriage with two people who are determined to not attempt to influence each other spells apathy at best, and disaster at worst.

My friends are aghast when they learn that I quit smoking at my husband’s (then fiancĂ©e’s) demand. How could he be so controlling? How could I let myself be judged like that? I recognized that smoking was an unhealthy behavior, and though I did not want to quit, the balance of positive things that he brought to our relationship overwhelmed the discomfort of ending a damaging habit. In marriage we try to enhance each other’s positive behaviors, and eliminate or minimize those that cause distress to the relationship. This process necessarily includes value judgments as to what is positive and what is destructive, and the willingness to recognize that not all parts of a person’s character (whether theirs or your own) are desirable.

This would be more of a non-issue if my peers chose someone with opinions and beliefs closer to their own, but, for whatever reason, they do not. In many cases I believe this to be because they have never examined what their opinions and beliefs are in the first place, and so cannot begin to find someone who compliments them. It seems they are throwing darts blind, and tend to marry whichever one gets hit and sticks around long enough. Or worse, in my opinion, the one who gives them the greatest visceral feeling of romantic love.
I've seen this all too often as well, and it transcends this discussion to every level of social and political thought. If you don't evaluate what you believe, you'll fall for anything. Not evaluating that some behaviors and beliefs are absolutely wrong will lead to societal breakdown.

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