Social scientists agree that not all is well with family and marriage. A report on a recent national survey captured the mood: “America’s parents are anxious.” And as the report shows, anxiety about family decline taps into “a larger perception that our communities are less safe, our work ethic has slipped, and American religious and spiritual life has ebbed.”
We hear it all the time: “The family is the basic unity of society.” But do we, as a society, really think about what that means? The bonds between husband and wife, parents and children, are so firmly planted in history and experience that we often take them for granted — until, as happens from time to time, those bonds break down. As a solid body of research shows, there is no replacement for the way this institution creates and develops human relationships. Family is no longer, nor ever has been, something that is simply “granted.” As anyone who has tried it knows, raising a family and sustaining a marriage are challenging things to do. However, at stake is not only the health of the individual family but also the prosperity and future of society.
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