I am neither a historian nor the academic that Carson is, but I have written some and have presented on the topic of family and marriage. I am employed at a nice size public university in the Northeast. I met Carson at a conference a few years ago and have served as a guest blogger here. While Carson is recovering from surgery, I will be at the control of this blog. Feel free to leave a thought or comment.
Marriage is one of the oldest institution in human history. According to the Judaic-Christian Bible, Adam and Eve became aware of their nudity after disobeying God’s instructions. Some scholars believe that Adam and Eve’s relationship marks the birth of physical and emotional love. Like Adam and Eve, many of the couples I have studied in a historical and present sense are drawn together by emotional and physical attraction.
Unfortunately for many of us today, we have allowed politicians to espouse slogans such as family values and protecting the family and marriage to the point that we are not clear why the definition of family has changed. Today, almost 60% of all American marriages end in divorce. Dating back to the 2004 election, conservative Democrats and Republicans played the vote card by blaming the demise of marriage and the family on gays and lesbians. Gary Glenn, a prominent member of the traditional family movement in the U.S. state of Michigan, has described the movement as “…a burgeoning alliance of white evangelicals, conservative Roman Catholics and African-American Protestants for whom gay marriage is like abortion: non-negotiable.” (Wiki)
Actually, many sociologists marked the 1960s as the point at which family and marriage changed. Still, this is too simple. In western society, marked by the dawn of the industrial revolution, social scientist have noticed a shift in the family as we have passed through various historical periods since: 1890, 1920, 1930, 1960, 1970, 1980, and 2000.
I do think it is important that we as a society look at the family as a way to measure and reflect our attitudes about race, religion, sexual identity, and tolerance. Sociologist tell us that many of our beliefs are shaped by the family. If this is true, the ideal family I believe is starting to take place when many will argue that we have entered into a new age of the changed family. Here is an article from USA TODAY I enjoyed.
Here are the Numbers:
75% of the couples I counsel (religious and non-religious) lived together before deciding to marry.
Couples tend to marry within their race and class status — though this has changed a great deal.
Education continues to be a a major factor in formulating the family unit. I read a few years ago that this factor has replaced religion among protestants but not to the same length with Catholics, Jews, and Muslims.