Marriage is in trouble. According to a 2011 Pew study, barely half of American adults are married, a record low. Nearly a quarter of Americans believe marriage is becoming obsolete. Many members of the millennial generation (18- to 29-year-olds) believe being a parent is more important than being married.
So it makes sense that people who believe marriage is good (and I am one of these people) would feel compelled to defend the institution. “People need to start being more honest and vocal about the virtues of marriage,” writes Steven Crowder in a recent Fox News column called “A man’s top 5 reasons to grow up and get married.” I agree: It is worthwhile and necessary to talk about what makes marriage better than cohabitation, or single parenting, or other marriage alternatives. Unfortunately, however, Crowder’s article doesn’t do much to advance the truth about marriage’s goodness. Instead, it perpetuates a bunch of myths about marriage—myths that are just as destructive as outright negativity toward the institution.
Crowder’s strategy is first to appeal to his readers’ self-interest. In his list of reasons to get married, he promises: “You’ll be richer,” “You’ll have more sex… A LOT MORE SEX,” “You won’t be such a pathetic sloth,” and “Don’t die sick, miserable and alone.” His sole reason that is not selfishness-oriented is a reminder that children who grow up with married parents have significant advantages in life.