The Ring Makes All the Difference
Rating: 2.00


Marriage is much more than a “piece of paper.” I’m John Stonestreet, and this is The Point.

Listen Now | Download


Yesterday we talked about a heartbreaking statistic: the majority of women under thirty who have children now do so out of wedlock. Unfortunately, many of these aren’t eager to tie the knot with the fathers of their babies because they see marriage as a formality -- one which still doesn’t guarantee lasting commitment anyway.

“Marriage has become a luxury good,” says Frank Furstenberg at the University of Pennsylvania.  Those who think they can’t afford it simply opt for cohabitation.

But in reality, it’s cohabitation that carries the greater cost. I shared with you yesterday the facts on children whose parents are married. They are much more likely to avoid the challenges like behavioral problems and crime that plague the children of unmarried parents. But what about the parents, themselves?

As Glenn Stanton argues in his book, The Ring Makes All the Difference, cohabitation is fundamentally different from marriage. In fact, it’s the opposite. Come to ThePointRadio.org, and I’ll link you to Glenn’s book and other powerful sources on this crucial topic. For The Point, I’m John Stonestreet.


Latest Broadcast on YouTube


Further Reading

For Women Under 30, Most Births Occur Outside of Marriage
Jason DParle & Sabrina Tavernise | The New York Times | February 17, 2012

The Ring Makes All the Difference
Glenn T. Stanton | The Colson Center Bookstore

The Science of Shacking Up
Caryn Rivadeneira | Christianity Today | September 19, 2011




Comments:

Maybe it's just because I am not a "heart" person, but the fact is, I really don't trust the idea of a heart commitment that someone is not willing to back up.

Be that as it may I can understand the point to this degree; a courthouse marriage that takes place before strangers and has no-fault oathbreaking assumed as a possibility does seem rather lacking in appeal.
That's fine Ellen. But claiming commitment without going through the rather minimal proof of being willing to publicly announce it according to accepted forms sounds like making a commitment without making a commitment.

As for it being a piece of paper, if it has your word on it it is more then a piece of paper.
Jason, Ben's statement was about commitment and the piece of paper. Since so many people get the legal document - the piece of paper - without making a life-long heart commitment, might not a couple make a life-long heart commitment while forgoing to obtain the legal and cultural piece of paper?

Certainly my now husband and I had not made a life-long heart commitment before we decided to marry. Deciding to marry was the formation of our life-long heart commitment; the decision to marry was when the heart change happened between us. I think it's possible for a couple to make a life-long heart commitment without going through a legal marriage ceremony, but very uncommon.

Cultures all over the globe have community ceremonies when a couple formalizes a life-long commitment to each other. I think such commonality is because marriage and the begetting of children effects the entire community, not just the couple and the children that might be born. A new marriage is also something to be celebrated and supported by the community as something which ensures the continuation of the community.
And in what way has someone who has not pledged their word made "a commitment", Ben?
"But in reality, it’s cohabitation that carries the greater cost. I shared with you yesterday the facts on children whose parents are married. They are much more likely to avoid the challenges like behavioral problems and crime that plague the children of unmarried parents."

Sure, but correlation doesn't equal causation. Culturally, marriage is more expected in higher-class populations, which have lower crime just by virtue of being higher-class (as poverty encourages crime). So you'd see a connection between marriage and wealth and low crime, but.. the connection is actually pretty tenuous. Certainly, making people get married won't reduce crime or poverty, just by itself.

As Ellen said, it's the commitment that makes all the difference. In the US, most people who make that commitment will also go get the legal document from the courthouse saying they're married, but that's mainly for legal and cultural reasons. You could definitely still make that commitment and *not* get the paper.
Having both lived with and been married with the same man, you're right when you say that cohabitation and marriage are fundamentally different. Did the paper we both signed make the difference? Of course not! I suppose it's tucked away in our filing cabinet. The heart commitment we both made has made all the difference in our relationship and thus in the lives of our children.