With this ring, I thee wed … at least for now

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 21, 2010

Whatever happened to “until death do us part?” It seems like, “For better or worse” has become … “for right now.”

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center and released in a variety of news outlets, the institution of marriage is falling out of favor.

Four out of 10 Americans surveyed said they felt that marriage was essentially obsolete. U.S. Census data released this year showed that marriage is at an all-time low of just more than 50 percent of adults.

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This is a concerning trend and may be indicative of the value breakdowns within our society.

Many of those surveyed also said they felt that a family can consist of a man and woman who are not married but have children. I certainly wouldn’t disagree with that assessment because ultimately family is something that transcends any piece of paper and even blood relation.

Family is about connections and about relationships and those can be just as strong without being directly related or married under the law.

However, that doesn’t change the fact that there seems to be a breakdown in the view of the importance of marriage and commitment.

Although I have not been married for all that long, I hold the vows that I took very seriously.

What works for individual couples is ultimately up to them, but there is certainly value in making legitimate commitments to another individual.

Although it may sound cliché, I think part of the blame falls on Hollywood.

The same day that the study about marriage perceptions was released there was widespread news coverage of the divorce of NBA basketball player Tony Parker and wife, actress Eva Longoria. Theirs was a storybook romance and much-hyped wedding.

It lasted about four years.

This comes on the heels of several other celebrity break-ups for stars that include David Arquette and Courteney Cox and Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren.

The throw-away mentality that celebrities appear to have toward marriage seems to permeate our society and subconsciously may be influencing our opinions.

Maybe if Americans in general had a more substantial perception of marriage it would translate to positive results elsewhere in life.

Thankfully, 67 percent of Americans did say they were positive about the future of the marriage institution.

Commitment, faithfulness, dedication and compromise are four of the building block principles of any marriage. These are also a strong foundation for living a quality life.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com.