Share Housework . . . Happy Marriage

3 07 2007

Filed under: Pew poll, Marriage, Parenthood,, Family, Sexuality

The Washington Post report on the recent Pew Research Center poll on marriage, parenthood, and other issues involving family and sexuality has some positive and negative points.

– 69% of Americans are still in firm belief that a child needs both a mother and a father.
– Americans oppose same-sex marriage 57 – 32%.
– Americans oppose civil unions but by a smaller margin.
– Large majorities hold that children born out of wedlock present a problem to society.
– Americans believe homosexuals raising children is bad for society 50% (bad), 11% (good), 34% (little difference).

– 65% (compared to only 41% in 1990) believe “mutual happiness and fulfillment” (rather than “bearing and raising children”) is the “main purpose of marriage.”

That’s a drop from 3rd to 8th place out of nine on a list of important factors to a successful marriage. I doubt having God as the centerpiece of a marriage was even on the list. So it’s not surprising that sharing housework, good housing, adequate income, happy sexual relationship, all outpace children. Here’s what some experts had to say:

“The popular culture is increasingly oriented to fulfilling the X-rated fantasies and desires of adults,” she wrote in a recent report. “Child-rearing values _ sacrifice, stability, dependability, maturity _ seem stale and musty by comparison.”

Virginia Rutter, a sociology professor at Framingham (Mass.) State College and board member of the Council on Contemporary Families, said the shifting views may be linked in part to America’s relative lack of family-friendly workplace policies such as paid leave and subsidized child care.

“If we value families … we need to change the circumstances they live in,” she said, citing the challenges faced by young, two-earner couples as they ponder having children.

While couples may not rank “having children” as their top priority, there is no arguing that the majority of Americans know the best environment to raise children and that is something same-sex relationships can never fulfill.

The decline in priority of having children is not difficult to peg. In the agricultural age, children were assets. The more you had, the more work you could get done and they helped feed the family. Then in the industrial age, children became liabilities and they still consumed. Then during WWII, for the first time in our society, we put our women in the workforce with no childcare system in place. The feminist movement followed where women wanted equal treatment in the workforce. All of this history leading up today where most families have one or two children and turn them over to the public school humanist system for rearing. Is it any wonder values are present more in conservatives and older Americans? The old adage is still true today: If you are young and not a liberal you don’t have a heart. If you are older and not a conservative you don’t have a brain.




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