Marriage matters. If marriage did not matter, would it even be considered when growing up? Today, I feel that the word “marriage” is often misunderstood, and that’s why I am intrigued by any research that has been done on this topic. Like most, I believed that the divorce rate was skyrocketing. However, as I was going through my Marriage and Family book, I quickly began to realize that marriage has survived through it all due to its importance.
According to the report I chose, “Why Marriage Matters,” in the later half of the twentieth century, divorce posed the biggest threat to marriage and was the event most likely to undercut the quality and stability of children’s family lives in the United States. Since, then divorce rates have come down and children who are now born to married couples are actually more likely to grow up with both of their parents than were children born at the height of the divorce revolution.
Today, cohabitation has emerged as a powerful alternative to and competitor with marriage but also has become an unrecognized threat to the quality and stability of children’s family lives. Today’s children are also more likely to spend time in a cohabiting household than they are to see their parents’ divorce. About a fourth of children are born to cohabiting couples than to single mothers. This report focuses on the impact that cohabitation is having on marriage, family life, and the welfare of children. Children and health are two of the most important aspects of life.
According to research, the structure of a family is the most important thing when considering the health of your child. Children in cohabiting households do significantly worse than children than children in intact, married families and about as poorly as children living in single-parent homes. Also, children in cohabiting homes are more likely to be physically, sexually, and emotionally abused according to recent federal data. American life is becoming increasingly unstable for children. Multiple transitions are especially linked to higher reports of school failure, behavioral problems, and drug use among many other problems.
It is not just the structure of a family that matters it is the stability as well. One of the biggest reasons that children’s lives are increasingly turbulent is that cohabitation households are much more fragile than married families. “Complex households,” where parents have children with more than one partner, have shown that the children whom come from these relationships will have poor relationships with their parents and can sometimes lead to health and behavioral problems. When it comes to a child’s wellbeing, research suggests that family structure is a better predictor of children’s psychological and social welfare.