This was a segment on HLN. Now, if I had written a blog post asking this same question I would have (once again) been called racist. Yet, because it's on a network targeted for blacks, this is not racist. Don't ask me why, but contemporary wisdom tells us this is so.
This resonated with me because I have been thinking, since the last Jayne Ann Krentz book came out, about family and the foundations of Western Civilization. In the Roman Empire there was nothing more important than the family bond. The Emperor Augustus decreed that there was nothing so sacred as the family. Marriage was encouraged and it was the duty of every woman to produce more Roman Citizens while her husband was off increasing the size of the empire. Marriage was easy to enter into, nearly impossible to get out of.
The author Jayne Ann Krentz has created a world in which, due to being stranded on a planet with no hope of ever getting back to earth, early colonial leaders set up strict laws regarding the sanctity of the family and marriage laws that made divorce nearly impossible and onerously expensive. It caused a whole niche enterprise of matchmakers. Since marriage was such an awesome responsibility and you were quite stuck with that person for the rest of your lives, it was not something entered into lightly. Familial pressure to marry and reproduce made a good match desirable and so match makers held the reins in that society.
Most of us, in our fault-free divorce society cringe at the very thought. However, I present the thought that if our laws were the same, that perhaps all of us may not giggle at the words "starter marriage" or shrug off single parenting. You may well ask about such things in a society as I have mentioned. It's easy, in Ms. Krentz's world, there are things called "marriage of convenience" where people live together, try it on, and if things don't work out, no harm, no foul. Unless a child is conceived, then it's automatically made into the permanent type marriage from which there is no escape. Children outside the bounds of marriage are a rarity, but loved just as well and taken care of within the extended family unit. The parents involved might experience societal sanction, but the children don't. Which, is as it should be. They only time the parents are not forced to marry is when one of them already IS married.
I like the idea. I like it very much. Why? Because marriage is an extremely important state and should never, ever be entered in to without much thought and consideration for the future. Let me show you why.
In today's society men are off scott free when it comes to sowing their seeds far and wide. Unless the mother collects welfare and the state seeks him out for support, they can basically knock up any woman they sleep with and suffer no harm or responsibility ever. In the type of society that I've been reading about, men, because they know they will be truly leg shackled if they shoot and scoot, tend to be more discriminating in their partners and careful to protect themselves in a sexual situation. They'll put on that little raincoat because they just want to get off, not married to whatever they picked up in the bar.
In our society, women bear the entire responsibility for birth control. Men only wear the condom to prevent spread of disease, not to prevent conception. The idea of keeping it in their pants never crosses their minds. With no more stigma to unwed motherhood, women feel perfectly free to have unprotected sex, as many babies as the welfare system will allow them to have, because, let's face it, if you are not responsible with your reproductive organs, why would you be responsible about anything else, up to and including the products of those many fevered matings in the bathroom stall at the nightclub?
Marriage is something that should be given the gravest of contemplation. Today people marry, figuring that if it doesn't work out, then hey, they'll just get a divorce. It's no-fault for a reason, right?
When you know that the person is the same person you will be waking up next to, facing over the breakfast table for the rest of your life, with no chance of escape except for the death of one of you, then maybe, just maybe, the state will be given more thought than what is put in to which cell phone you want to upgrade to next chance. And let's face it, today, marriage is rarely given that much thought, because it's easier to get out of than your cell phone contract.
And the silliest of all reasons to marry is love, or what people think of as love. Love is four letter word. Love is rare and rarely experienced at an early age in the maturity necessary for making a go of it for your eternity. If you doubt me, read I Corinthians 13. I think St. Paul said it best. He knew it had nothing to do with the color of one's skin.