In this day and age, we are being told to come to terms with the fact that marriage is on the decline. What we don’t often hear about however is one huge consequence, as pointed out in an article by author and director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, Bradford Wilcox: and that’s the decrease of genuine and holistic fatherhood.
Why’s this? Wilcox points out that as society retreats from marriage, there’s a growth in fatherless families. With cohabitation, these couples are already more likely than married couples to end up on the rocks. But the institution of marriage is the only one that binds men to their children, the only one that can keep them under the same roof. Statistics make it clear that while the number of married middle-aged women in America fell from 82 per cent in 1970 to 62 per cent today, the share of children living in fatherless homes has doubled from 14 to 28 per cent.
I know what you’re thinking – just because their parents’ relationship is over, this doesn’t mean that the kids are fatherless. Not technically no, but emotionally. It’s not to say that unmarried or separated fathers do not love their kids or haven’t the best of intentions – however regular contact with their children depends a lot on how well they get along with their ex-partners, which would rarely be the friendliest situation.
When it comes down to it, kids deserve the best, and the ideal situation for this is in a stable home situation with their married parents. In these circumstances, fathers can enjoy day-to-day interaction with their kids, and given them the attention, discipline and affection that they need.
If we think that children deserve to benefit from their best potential quality of life, then we need to stop being so complacent about the decline of marriage.