In 2014, Kanye West married Kim Kardashian stunning millennials who appear to value cohabitation over marriage. When asked why he married, Kanye replied, “People think that I have the ability to make things cooler if I’m doing it. This stuff’s starting to be cool … Family is super cool. Going home to one girl every night is super cool.” The rapper used his star-power to champion marriage. Beyoncé’ and Jay Z also represent a new class of celebrity marriage which is non-traditional, even counter-cultural. These artists outline lyrics in their music that reveal a complicated picture of imperfect, yet committed, monogamy in a world where multiple partners and variety is the norm. These rock stars represent a newly designed re-imagined marriage for contemporary couples.
Not surprisingly, marriage rates are down dramatically. Marriage is rarely talked about in schools or future life-planning. It is maligned in the public square on commercials where millennial bridesmaids do not want to catch the wedding bouquet. Non-marital childbearing rate is 40%. The Colorado Strengthening Families Initiative Conference held every two years in Vail doesn’t even mention marriage in any of their plenary or breakout sessions.
Because marriage, the bedrock of a civilized society, is a prosocial stabilizer, an institution that has at least 26 social science cited benefits for health, well-being and wealth building, we have to make marriage cool for the next generation and those trapped in the cycle of poverty as a single parent of one or multiple children.
Ways to make marriage cool is to highlight, celebrate, and honor those who are role models of long lasting, healthy, committed coupling. It is digging, discovering, discussing and disseminating the secrets of staying in love. It is helping couples obtain the skills to develop and maintain a healthy friendship and working every day to make life easier for one other. It is encouraging millennials to reimagine and redefine what their marriage could be.
In order to serve the most vulnerable among us, many of whom have not experienced married parents, who are on public-assistance called TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) and live lives that are fraught with struggle and scarcity, we need to accomplish, not one TANF goal, but all four goals in order to empower them to build a bridge out of poverty.
The four goals of TANF are:
We need to reform tax policy to stop disincentives to marriage. We need to ask media and entertainment outlets to highlight healthy married couples and families on television and movies. We need to give voice to children who desire to have both parents be a role model for healthy relationships and marriage. There are many things we can do together to make marriage cool. Call us to find what we can do together. Please join us in this effort. email@example.com; www.myrelationshipcenter.org
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