Marriage is not always easy, and children can be exhausting. Yet it turns out that human happiness is found only in the gift of self. Work can be a generous gift of oneself, of course, but for many the flight from marriage and children into workism results not in the finding of self but in its loss.
- In her new book, Mary Eberstadt argues that today’s identity politics arose from the deep anthropological wound slit open by the sexual revolution. The ascent of identity politics reveals that people are having an identity crisis, and they are having an identity crisis because the sexual revolution resulted in family—and, by extension, individual—breakdown.
- If fertility declines because child mortality is falling, then almost any moral system would encourage most people to accept the trade-off. But if fertility is falling because Western countries promote a set of cultural narratives telling women in Africa, Asia, and Latin America that children are antithetical to a happy life, that the lifeways of their national communities are outdated and backwards, and that cultural legitimacy comes from emulating the family patterns of white Westerners, then there may be strong reasons to reject this model.
- In an era of new options, more choices, greater temptations, high expectations, consistent anxiety, and endemic uncertainty, nothing about the process of marrying can be taken for granted—even among those belonging to a faith that has long encouraged it. In an era of independence, intentionally becoming interdependent seems increasingly risky.
- If we combine the beauty of art and the power of narrative with rational argument, we can convince people of the worthiness of marriage and family life more effectively than by argument alone. Anna Karenina is an example of how to do this. It beckons the reader to choose the better path, contrasting the destructive adultery of Vronsky and Anna with Levin and Kitty’s enchanting journey into the life of married love.
- It is fashionable to mock as bland and boring the ordinary men and women living out their married lives together, but they are often engaged in a quest far more challenging and romantic than anything the bohemian libertine will attempt.
- Couples who adopt children out of an abundance of spousal love are creative and life-giving; they help form the identity of their children in a way that mirrors God’s adoption of us through baptism.