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Marriage: True of False?

It takes me awhile to work my way through the Sunday New York Times, which is why I didn’t get to Stephanie Coontz’s op-ed piece on marriage until today.

Coontz is the director of public education for the Council on Contemporary Families and the author of Marriage, a History, and her pop quiz is jam-packed with useful information. Should you, for example, find yourself arguing with someone about “traditional” marriage, you might counter by pointing out that the form of marriage that has been approved by more societies than any other through the ages and around the world is not marriage between a man and a woman, but between a man and many women—check the Bible! I’m not advocating polygamy. I’m just saying that those folks against gay marriage need to come up with a better argument than “tradition”.

While we’re on the subject of the Bible, it’s fun to know that born-again Christians are just as likely to divorce as atheists and agnostics. Indeed, 23% of born-again Christians have divorced twice, and, among Pentecostals, the divorce rate is 40%. If anybody tries to tell you that “family values” are necessarily Christian values—or vice versa—these are the statistics to brandish.

And anyone who’s worried that she’s too smart to marry—there seems to be a lot of that going around—might like to know that college-educated women are actually more likely to marry and less likely to divorce than women with less education. Take that, Maureen Dowd.

February 23, 2006 | Permalink


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