Doing Life Together

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie finally tied the knot. After nine years and six children, something prompted them to become a legitimately married couple. Only they know the real reason they waited so long. reported the marriage was to honor a promise Angelina made to her mom. Or was it the kids, the surgeries, the failed prior marriages, etc.?

Like I said, we don’t really know the reason for this nine-year delay, but this couple does represent the new normal for raising children in America.

More Americans feel like marriage isn’t a necessity to raise kids. Cohabiting with children is more popular than ever. Interestingly, though, we still frown on single parenting.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the percentage of cohabiting couples raising children has risen significantly. From 2006 – to 2010, 58% of births were to unmarried couples living together.

Child Trend senior research scientist, Elizabeth Wildsmith, thinks the reason is that couples may delay marriage in order to be more economically secure. That one certainly doesn’t apply to Brangelina.

Part of this change is related to new cultural ideas about what constitutes a family. Pew Research surveys confirm that marriage is no longer seen as the only way to create a family. When they asked adults about marriage becoming obsolete, 4 in 10 said, YES, marriage isn’t necessary to raise a family.

Data confirm that marriage has declined and new forms of making a family have emerged. However, those with a college education and a good income still prefer marriage over living together. And we certainly know that married couples are healthier, have better sex, and are better off economically than those who cohabitate (National Marriage Project).

Married adults say lifelong commitment, love and and companionship are reasons to marry. Unmarried couples agree, but don’t feel there is only one true love for every person.

And couples who “slide” vs. “decide” to marry after co-habiting don’t do as well in the long run (National Marriage Project). So perhaps, the fact that Brad and Angelina DECIDED to get married after all these years will increase their chances of success. We can only hope that this is so! For the rest of us, the culture may continue to define the new normal, but marriage is still God’s way to benefit both adults and children.


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