A Response to “marriage is an outdated practice”

We recently had an exchange with “NOHO Resident” that we would like to highlight. NOHO Resident asserts that marriage “is becoming an outdated practice more and more day by day.”

We replied:

I’m so glad you raised the issue of marriage being obsolete. This would
certainly be news to many children of divorce. Barbara Whitehead
presents excellent analyses of this issue in The Atlantic:

The Love Family ideology has no theory of permanence or binding
obligation. It is oriented to adults’ interests and satisfactions
because it emphasizes freedom of individual choice. You can pick the
one you love and ditch the one you no longer love without a backward
glance. That’s great for adults, but children don’t have the same
freedom of choice or the same enthusiasm about moving on. From a
child’s standpoint the Love Family ideology is inadequate because it
offers no basis for permanence in family bonds and commitments. When
these bonds are lost, children suffer emotionally, especially in their
ability to trust. We’ve set up a failure-to-commit factor for the next

–Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, “What We Owe”, The Atlantic, February 1997 (may require a paid subscription)

According to a growing body of social-scientific evidence, children in
families disrupted by divorce and out-of-wedlock birth do worse than
children in intact families on several measures of well-being. Children
in single-parent families are six times as likely to be poor. They are
also likely to stay poor longer. Twenty-two percent of children in
one-parent families will experience poverty during childhood for seven
years or more, as compared with only two percent of children in two
parent families. A 1988 survey by the National Center for Health
Statistics found that children in single-parent families are two to
three times as likely as children in two-parent families to have
emotional and behavioral problems. They are also more likely to drop
out of high school, to get pregnant as teenagers, to abuse drugs, and
to be in trouble with the law. Compared with children in intact
families, children from disrupted families are at a much higher risk
for physical or sexual abuse.

Contrary to popular belief, many children do not “bounce back” after
divorce or remarriage. Difficulties that are associated with family
breakup often persist into adulthood. Children who grow up in
single-parent or stepparent families are less successful as adults,
particularly in the two domains of life–love and work–that are most
essential to happiness. Needless to say, not all children experience
such negative effects. However, research shows that many children from
disrupted families have a harder time achieving intimacy in a
relationship, forming a stable marriage, or even holding a steady job.

–Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, “Dan Quayle Was Right”, The Atlantic, April 1993 (may require a paid subscription)

23 thoughts on “A Response to “marriage is an outdated practice”

  1. Naturally we oppose child molestation wherever it occurs.

    If you look at the images on Capital Video’s websites, such as Amazing.net and AmazingAdult.com, many of the men and women performers appear to be quite young. In particular, we note the presence of a “Barely Legal” category of movies at AmazingAdult and another Capital Video-affiliated site, MetroOnDemand. The movies sold include “Amateur Initiation 29”, “Bubble Gum Virgins”, “Early Entries #4”, “Forbidden Cherries”, “Home Schooled #3”, “It’s a Young Girls Thing”…need I go on?

    Capital Video, then, incites lust after young people as part of its standard business plan. Whatever the failings of families and churches, this is not part of their standard plans.

    Families and churches deliver many benefits to society that generally outweigh their flaws. Porn merchants, on the other hand, are mostly flaw. That’s why we oppose them.

  2. And there is a problem with inciting lust for young people?

    I know I (as a straight male in his early 20’s) tend to lust over young people more so than old ones.

    While child pornography is wrong (due to the child’s unlikely ability to make well informed decisions based on experience), there is nothing wrong with ‘women who just became legal’.

  3. It is interesting how you tried to disprove my entire point with children. I never said anything about children, child problems and marriage break-up are caused by the same factors, that is, the couple are not cut out to be married and parents.

    Now, with that said, if you are dumb enough to get married and have children before you are certain the marriage will last, that is your own stupidity, and has nothing to do with porn.

    There are people in this world who are not meant to be married and have children.

    So in short, unless you are in a successful marriage, then no kids, and given my previous comments, being married is a stupid endeavor anyhow, only through great personal sacrifice can a marriage last, and let’s be honest who wants to go through great personal sacrifice when you can simply enjoy life? I guess you could say I subscribe to the pleasure faith.

    You talk about preserving the ‘family unit’ one responsible non-related adult is better than two unhappy parents.

    And now back to pornography, pornography serves as an outlet, for people to explore and fulfill their inner (and often reprised) fantasies, nothing will ever change the fact that people, in general would rather please themselves than not; it is only social obligation and fear of ostrisization that keeps people in line. As such you should be content to let people be and concern yourself with your own affairs, one can only wonder what unspeakable desires you harbor.

  4. I would say that someone who sells movies with titles like “Forbidden Cherries”, “Bubble Gum Virgins” and “It’s a Young Girls Thing” can easily be seen as encouraging viewers to cross the line into unwise actions.

  5. Yes, we did bring in the issue of children. We are concerned that many people believe that maximizing their pleasure will maximize the pleasure of their close relations, or at least not harm them. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, particularly when we consider the evidence about the suffering of children of divorce, and the suffering of porn addicts and their families.

    Porn movies in general distort reality by ignoring important issues like pregnancy, disease and children. This is miseducation of those who view porn. We mean to redress the balance.

    By definition, it would seem that a society that widely disdains children is not sustainable in the long term.

    Barbara Whitehead does acknowledge that the potential social harm from divorce is not as severe when children are not involved.

    Marriage may well involve personal sacrifice, but my experience is that the benefits of love, companionship, cooperative endeavor, personal growth, raising children and just plain fun more than justify it in most cases.

    Avoiding porn would appear to be part of most successful marriages. We once again recall that:

    At a 2003 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, two-thirds of the 350 divorce lawyers who attended said Internet porn contributed to more than half of the divorce cases they handled.

    If you feel you know better about porn and marriage than a large number of divorce lawyers, perhaps you would share your credentials with us?

  6. What people do is their own decision, “The video made me do it.” is a weak excuse for weak people. This applies to anything and everything with the exception of mental illness; what a person does is a result of their own actions. The videos are not illegal, selling them is not illegal, if people want to let their fantasies escape into reality then they deserve what they get.

    In short your argument is against stupid people, not videos.

  7. Oh, I have no credentials, but that doesn’t make anything I say any less true or informed.

    But keeping on topic, I say again, the issue is not porn, it’s people. If a married couple can’t deal with one or the other using porn, to the point of where it ruins their relationship. Then they do not belong together, again not porn’s problem. Religion can cause the same conflict problems, but I don’t see you trying to close down the churches. Perhaps you should read the defenition of Double-Standard 🙂

    Your opinion is just that, an opinion, as is mine, the only difference is I don’t start websites trying to push my opinion on others.

    My final input on this subject is:
    I am finally happy that a strong business with good revenue potential is filling one of the many vacant lots on king street, I would rather have somthing slightly more useful (I get my porn online, for the very same reasons I’m not out there protesting against you), but an adult store will do; just think it adds to the local color.

  8. You are denying that people are influenced by what they read or view. I like how Dr. Victor Cline responds to this argument in “Pornography’s Effects on Adults and Children”:

    …for someone to suggest that pornography cannot have an effect on you is to deny the whole notion of education, or to suggest that people are not affected by what they read and see. If you believe that a pornographic book or film cannot affect you, then you must also say that Karl Marx’s Das Kapital, or the Bible, or the Koran, or advertising have no effect on their readers or viewers.

    Astute businessmen do not spend billions of dollars a year on advertising if their visual and verbal messages and imagery did not motivate people to buy deodorant or diapers or automobiles.

    If a person’s media diet is harming them, we have compassion for this person. We want to help them understand what is happening to themselves so they can take appropriate action. Our motivation to educate is even stronger if a person’s media diet causes them to harm others, such as their spouse, children, neighbors or strangers. See our new sidebar box on the left, “Effect of Porn on the Viewer”.

    Bottom line, you wouldn’t want to be seen as callous to suffering, would you?

  9. Your lack of credentials is relevant in that it undercuts the force of your arguments, especially as you present little or no supporting facts for your assertions. I would say divorce lawyers and marital counselors are far more qualified to speak on the relationship of porn to divorce than someone who lacks comparable experience in this area. In a court of law, that’s why they bring in expert witnesses, and generally the first thing these witnesses do is announce their credentials.

    As we mentioned in an earlier comment, it’s true that some religions and ideologies may have harmful effects,
    but it’s unfair to tar them all with the same brush. For this aspect of
    your argument to be meaningful, you would need to identify a specific
    ideology and demonstrate with facts how it was as harmful as porn.

    Our opinions are backed by decades of research. That gives them force. Your opinions appear to be just armchair speculation.

    Capital Video’s porn shop may well make money for Kenneth Guarino, but our concern is that it will be costly to the other businesses and homeowners around it, scaring away pedestrians and reducing property values. Certainly that’s what motivated Blaine, Washington to zone adult businesses away from the center of town.

  10. I think that most of the studies you cite confuse cause and effect. For some children, divorce is extremely painful while for others it is not. My grandmother and grandfather had an extremely unhappy marriage yet they stayed together until his death. The effect of living in a home where the parental relationship was essentially a facade to conform to the standards of the Catholic church was indeed significant to my father’s approach to parenting. When he and my mother became unhappy in their marriage and it became clear working it out was simply not plausible, they divorced. My dad recognized that “staying together for the kids” would not only leave him and my mother miserable but my siblings and I as well. The fact that marriage is such an institutionalized element in our society, that the nuclear family is viewed as so essential to success and happiness, may be the largest contributing factor in causing sadness in the children of the divorced. I wouldn’t say marriage is outdated. What is outdated is the idea that keeping a marriage intact is the most important thing for parents to do for their children.

  11. Barbara Whitehead has carefully considered these issues for The Atlantic and provides a convincing rebuttal. Not all marriages should continue to be, it is true, but there’s a lot our society can do to help marriages thrive and encourage people to look out for the true long-term interests of their children. Hosting a porn shop at 135 King Street that mocks the notion of fidelity and suggests cheating is therapeutic is not helpful.

  12. We are all adults. If you don’t like porn then don’t buy it and don’t watch it. There is no way a child can tell what is in those types of shops…the windows are covered and no adult material is exposed or advertised on the outside of the building. What are you worried about? There’s already an adult shop in Northampton…did that bring more crime? I think not. People need to worry more about the real problems in this world…like the thousands of troops dieing every day in Iraq.

  13. Infidelity can be theraputic, for some people. Why is it that you have such a hard time understanding that what works for you is not what works for everyone else?

  14. I would be grateful if you would document this assertion with research and facts. The evidence I have says that cheating is a high-risk behavior. I am personally aware of several situations where infidelity devastated families, with the effects lasting for many years.

  15. We have long shown how adult businesses can affect communities and people’s relationships with other people. That makes them a public matter. Signage is just a small part of the issue, as was noted in the large New York Adult Entertainment Study we just posted.

    The proposed Capital Video porn shop has more than six times as much adult material than Oh My or Pride & Joy. It is owned from out-of-state, by someone who has been unresponsive to the region’s media inquiries so far. In Kittery, it took court action to get Capital Video to comply with common-sense regulations of their porn viewing booths. In short, the prospects for Capital Video proving to be a good neighbor here are dim.

    As for Iraq, our FAQ notes that one of the reasons we fight there is to secure the rights of women, that they get physical and cultural respect. Capital Video, however, shows no such respect in its movies. We think that’s an important issue.

  16. Somehow I get the feeling that you have never and will never touch another human being.

    Insult aside, I happen to have grown up with a father who had a porn addiction. I was traumatized at about 4 years old, upon finding his “stash”. I felt that he was cheating on my mother and me and that he was a pervert. I was always uncomfortable around him from thereon out as a result. I was too young to have been exposed to things of this nature. In my opinion, it was abusive for him to have left these things where I could easily find them.

    Having porn in a home with children is like having a weapon in a home with children…they WILL find it and they WILL be damaged.

    As far as damaging intimate relationships…I lived with a guy for about 3 years. (I had known him for about 10 years prior to becoming involved). We are both in our early 20’s. Anyways, I found evidence that he was looking at “teen porn” constantly. I confronted him about it and he made it out to be innocent…claiming the younger girls were more attractive than the “older” porn stars (as though mainstream porn would ever endorse older women). Nevermind the fact he’s watching 19 year olds in school girl outfits being banged in the ass on a school bus by a “bus driver”. I was disgusted, but tried not to think about it too much…even though he hardly ever touched me anymore, despite there being not one but TWO bottles of lotion on MY computer desk.

    A few short months later, I found out he had been communicating with a young girl for about 4 or 5 years…since she was 11 and he was 19. The girl was now 15 and he was 23. He signed his e-mails “I love you” and was, at the point I caught him, trying to get her to meet him…classic “grooming” behavior.

    Upon closer inspection, I found that all of the girls on his buddy lists were under the age of 18.

    Needless to say, he got sent home to his mother and she received e-mail copies of the communications between him and the little girl…complete with the pictures she had taken for him (including one with her shirt up).

    My point being, I’ve seen it happen and I’ve seen it destroy women and girls as well as relationships.

  17. And yet, if you disagree with “Karl Marx’s Das Kapital, or the Bible, or the Koran, or advertising,” or believe that the ideas contained in these have a potential to cause harm, you do not respond by banning them. You respond by educating people about the harm that may result from the ideas fostered by these works.

  18. I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.. 🙂

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