June 30, 2009

June 30, 2009 | Commentary on Family and Marriage

Change Views on Marriage

Failing Marriages

From reality show stars like Jon and Kate Gosselin to politicians to the folks next door - what we thought were the most solid of marriages are falling apart.

Viewers tuned in to TLC's "Jon & Kate Plus 8" because it gave them hope that it is still possible to have a big, happy Family led by a mom and dad who overcome all odds because of their undying commitment to each other. Others supported political leaders who we thought would fight to uphold timeless values, including the institution of marriage.

Many of us are now feeling a bit sick to our stomachs at revelations of infidelity - and are beginning to wonder whether there is any real hope left for this sacrament called marriage.

Our toxic liberal media culture tells us that the "old-fashioned" institution of marriage should be reinvented. This attitude feeds the selfishness at the root of all marital ills. Many people now casually shrug their shoulders and decide in advance that if they aren't happy in marriage they will just walk away. It's time to obliterate this cavalier attitude toward the most sacred of relationships.

America's children and our national future suffer when mom and dad reject their vows. Consider this stunning trend: In 1950, for every 100 babies that were born in this country, 12 were born to a broken Family; today, for every 100 babies that are born in America, 60 are born to a broken family. If we continue along this trajectory, our nation is doomed. The Family unit has always been the basic building block of civil society. If you damage the DNA of the Family unit, you end up radically changing the nation as a whole - and with tragic consequences. Not least among them are the broken hearts and lives of our children.

How to Save Your Family from Falling Apart

Fidelity, commitment and selflessness are timeless values that we must uphold in our own lives - regardless of who else may have trouble doing so. They are the keys to having strong, happy individuals and strong, happy families.

The social science data are clear: Men, women and children are all better off financially, emotionally and physically when they are part of an intact Family unit where mom and dad are fully committed to each other. (Visit the Heritage Foundation's www.FamilyFacts.org for more information.)

We know in our hearts this is true. Yet how many of us really work or sacrifice to make our own marriages strong? We're willing to give our "all" to our jobs and even our hobbies. So why not start spending as much time on building your relationship with your spouse as you do on your favorite TV shows and sports? Can you imagine how vastly improved your marriage would be if you put even half the energy into it that you put into your career?

If you need professional help, please get it. Forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration are as important as fidelity and commitment - and there are counselors who can help guide you and your spouse to embrace them. Just make sure yours believes in biblical guidelines and is determined to help you save your marriage. A good place to find one is www. FamilyLife.com.

It is an amazingly beautiful experience to be married to a person who is fully committed to me and who I know loves me unconditionally. But there is something even more fulfilling than having a faithful mate: Being the person that my husband can depend on. Being the one who says, "I have your back. You can count on me. I will always love you."

Vow today, anew, to become that person. Refuse to give up or to abandon the heart that trusted you with theirs.

Rebecca Hagelin is senior communications fellow for the Heritage Foundation and the author of "30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family" and runs the Web site HowToSaveYourFamily.com.

About the Author

Rebecca Hagelin Senior Communications Fellow

First appeared in the Washington Times