In the News (from The Christian Science Monitor): “In a nation soon to be dominated by single adults, more Americans find marriage obsolete or worth putting off. But can a society afford to have so many people unwilling to make a self-sacrifice to another in a bond that drives civilization?
“The latest data show that unwed adults now almost outnumber those who are wed. Within a few years, the majority of adults over 18 will be single.
“The median age for marriage is now at its highest level as more young people put off tying the knot or cohabiting instead. And last year, only 9 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds were married, a big drop from 45 percent a half century ago.
“Surprisingly, the research doesn’t show that the Great Recession is the cause. Rather, a values revolution is driving many people away from making that special self-sacrifice to a spouse and from cherishing marriage as a social good with economic security that can leave behind a better generation. [emphasis mine]
“Children of divorce are often afraid to tie the knot. Others put careers and education first. And with less social obligation to marry these days, finding Mr. or Ms. Right seems less urgent.
“These trends are worse among the less educated, blacks, and Hispanics. For them, this ‘marriage gap’ causes many to lose out on the economic benefits of marriage. College-educated whites, meanwhile, still largely embrace marriage, allowing most to hang onto the American dream.
“Marriage, of course, isn’t for everybody. But its decline signals a troublesome shift away from the enduring spiritual values of self-denial for the sake of others, best expressed in marriage and, with it, parenthood.
“It is not only individuals who lose the opportunity to learn the happiness of finding one’s good in another, but society loses out as well.” [emphasis mine]