This page helps complete Step 1:

We honestly Face and Embrace the Impact of the Sexual Revolution on our lives.

If you are not familiar with the “7 Steps to Sexual Peace,” go here.

Dear Friend,

We have identified twelve categories of people who have been harmed by the Sexual Revolution. This questionnaire explores Children of Unmarried Parents. Use this check list to see if you are a Victim of the Sexual Revolution.

Our goal here is not merely to identify Victims. The goal is to help the Victims become Survivors, and the Survivors to become Activists for positive change.

  • Children of Unmarried Parents: Children don’t really need two parents as long as the family has adequate financial resources. Children never have any problems with their parents’ new love interests.
  • Were your parents married to each other when you were born?
  • If not, did they marry someone else during your childhood?
  • Was money tight during your childhood?
  • Was money particularly tight when your primary parent was between love interests?
  • Were you expected to have a relationship with your parents’ new love interest(s)?
  • Did you change your housing situation often?
  • Did you have a relationship with your absent parent?
  • Did your primary parent treat your other parent disrespectfully in front of you and your siblings?
  • Did your primary parent speak disrespectfully of your other parent or their family, in front of you and your siblings?
  • Did you ever feel like a leftover, when your parent had a new baby with a new partner?
  • Did you ever go to family court? Were you asked to testify against one of your parents? Were you ever asked to choose between your parents? Were you ever asked to perjure yourself by one parent against the other in family court?
  • Did your parents’ new love interests ever abuse you?
  • Do you feel that your situation as a Child of Unmarried Parents is socially invisible?


Related Resources

If you are a Child of Unmarried Parents, you may benefit from these resources created or compiled by the Ruth Institute.


Respect Life 2018: Understanding the Sexual Revolution

(October 13, 2018) Dr J is the keynote speaker at the Respect Life Conference in Meriden, Connecticut. She gave two talks; this is the first one, "Understanding the Sexual Revolution," on what the sexual revolution is, its underlying ideologies, and how it moves forward. Stay tuned for her second talk in our regular podcast stream.

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'The Sexual State': How Government and Big Donors Gave Us the Sexual Revolution

By Tyler O'Neil

This article was first published October 4, 2018, at PJMedia.com.

Cover of "The Sexual State" by Jennifer Roback Morse

In 21st century America, sex is all around us: on television, in movies, in classrooms, in politics, and even in churches. Sex permeates our desires, our expectations for relationships, even our identity. The Sexual Revolution goes far beyond the LGBT movement, and it has fundamentally reshaped American society. But few Americans actually grasp exactly where this revolution came from. An explosive new book reveals that government and wealthy donors, rather than impersonal historical forces or newly liberated women, propelled the Sexual Revolution.


"The State bears the greatest responsibility for the toxic sexual culture in which we live," Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute (RI), writes in "The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologues Are Destroying Lives And Why the Church Was Right All Along." She presented five other explanations for the Sexual Revolution, and found each one wanting.

Many have suggested that the Sexual Revolution came about through the inevitable and impersonal "march of history." This view does not work "because it robs us and our forbears of human agency." Even the over-hyped birth control pill "is just an inert piece of technology" that people could decide to use or not use, or use in different ways.

Morse also rebuts the feminist narrative, which suggests that "these changes have been one long string of victories for the benefit and advancement of women." Ironically, the very success of women's liberation "undermines the claim that women have been completely powerless and dominated by the patriarchy throughout all of recorded history." Furthermore, the author argues that "the pro-life movement is dominated by women," suggesting that not all women want more of the Sexual Revolution.

Perhaps the most common explanation for the Sexual Revolution is the "liberationist narrative," which posits that everyone is more free thanks to new sexual norms. This view also cannot explain how age-old oppression was immediately dissolved in one generation, Morse argues.

Furthermore, many people "have become less free, in fact actually oppressed, by the very forces that are supposedly liberating us. The breaking of family bonds has increased the size and scope of the State, including the intrusion of the State into the everyday lives of ordinary people." She mentions college sex tribunals, family courts — which even rule on which schools and churches children can attend — and higher taxes to pay for social workers who manage tough divorces and family breakdown.

Morse also rejects the "over-population narrative," which suggests that "too many people create ecological disaster and economic backwardness," so the State needs to control population through birth control and abortion. Interestingly, advocates of this narrative "haven't been able to adapt the narrative to the changing circumstances of population decline, which the Over-Population Narrative itself helped bring about."

Finally, the author turns to a "steal capitalist narrative," explaining the Sexual Revolution by pointing to the many people who benefit financially from family breakdown. Abortionists, pharmaceutical companies, the fertility industry, pornographers, divorce professionals, family court judges and lawyers, medical professionals who specialize in sexually transmitted diseases, and social workers all perversely benefit from family breakdown, contraception, and abortion.

Even higher education and employers benefit from women choosing to get married later, to go to school and to work, rather than raising a family. Morse claims that employers benefit from easy divorce as well, as women are less able to rely on their husbands to financially support them. She suggests that these factors cement the Sexual Revolution, but they do not explain it.

The author boils the Sexual Revolution down to three basic "ideologies:" the Contraceptive Ideology separates sex from childbearing; the Divorce Ideology separates sex and childbearing from marriage; and the Gender Ideology eliminates the distinctions between men and women that individuals do not explicitly embrace.

"The Sexual Revolution needs the State for one major reason: the premises of the Sexual Revolution are false," Morse declares. "Sex does make babies. Children do need their parents, and therefore marriage is the proper and just context for both sex and childbearing. Men and women are different." The Sexual Revolution requires "reconstructing society" around a rejection of these basic truths, so it involves a great deal of propaganda.

"If you can make people believe Bruce Jenner, the 1976 male Olympic decathlon winner, is a woman, you can make them believe 2 + 2 = 5. If you can make people afraid to say, 'Bruce Jenner is a man,' you can make them afraid to say anything," Morse quips. "The Sexual Revolution is a totalitarian ideology with a blind commitment to the implementation of its tenets, regardless of the human costs."

The book begins with a list of victims of the Sexual Revolution, a topic for a future article. Those victims include children of divorce, spouses who did not want to get divorced, women who waited too long to have children, young women who wanted to abstain from sex, and more. Suffice it to say, the Sexual Revolution has harmed many people.

Morse narrates how the state unleashed the Sexual Revolution, beginning with the Supreme Court contraception case Griswold v. Connecticut (1965). The Contraceptive Ideology predated this decision and played a large role in pushing the Court to change the law on contraception.

The author cites liberal attorney Leo Pfeffer and conservative historian Allan Carlson, who agreed that governments will consider contraception necessary once they have established welfare states — in order to prevent the subsidized poor from having children. Tragically, the U.S. government pushed contraception before Griswold, pushing contraception in post-World War II Japan and other foreign countries considered to be U.S. interests.

In the 1960s and 1970s, USAID started pushing contraception and abortion, thinking these "family planning" efforts would help other countries defeat poverty. These policies were also wrapped up with the ugly eugenics movement in America.

In order to downplay the ugly history of eugenics, contraception activists turned to the work of Alfred Kinsey, an academic who claimed that "up to" 67 to 98 percent of American men ha had premarital sex and that 69 percent of American males had at least one experience with a prostitute. His claims were shot down by other researchers, who exposed his shoddy methods. But the Rockefeller Foundation funded his research and sent his crackpot theories mainstream.

Planned Parenthood and its allies enjoyed connections to elites, and helped push the Court in the direction of legalizing contraception for anyone across the country.

Similarly, elite institutions and big donors pushed no-fault divorce, Morse argues. After Ronald Reagan signed the first no-fault divorce law in 1968, the American Law Institute (ALI), founded with support from the Carnegie Foundation, crafted model legislation to insert the state in between husbands and wives — and favor the spouse who wanted a divorce.

The ALI pushed for decriminalizing private sexual acts between consenting adults, a key plank that struck down states' ability to regulate obscene materials and contraception.

By 1974, all but five states had adopted a form of no-fault divorce.

Morse argues that no-fault divorce positions the power of the state on the side of whichever spouse least wants the marriage to continue. This damages spouses who are committed to the marriage, but it also damages children who do not grow up with both of their parents. It also empowers the government, which now mediates between divorced mothers and fathers.

The author argues that the claim "the kids will be all right" is propaganda. She cites the work of Judith Wallerstein, who found that divorce has a long-term impact on children — damaging their prospects for romantic relationships in adulthood. Similarly, the worries about husbands abusing wives are overblown, as studies have shown that women and children are more likely to be abused in cohabiting relationships than in marriage.

Finally, Morse argues that the government and elites pushed the "Gender Ideology" — long before transgender identity went mainstream — in order to encourage women to be "ideal workers:" "a person who never takes time off, is never sick, whose mental and psychological focus is entirely on the job."

"We've built a society around the premise that our educated women must be permitted to time their 1.6 pregnancies right down to the minute when it's most convenient. But convenient for whom? All too often, it means the convenience of the employers, or the interests of the career path, or of those who hold the student debt which the young woman or young couple must pay down," Morse claims.

The author does not lament the fact that women have entered the "managerial class," highly paid professions which do not involve manual labor. She herself is a member of this class. Rather, she suggests that the pressures of work and the benefits of this class enable people to overlook the obvious differences between men and women.

"People who do manual labor aren't deluded for a moment that men and women are interchangeable," Morse quips. For this reason, men are vastly over-represented in the dangerous professions.

Women's involvement in the workforce need not be connected to the Sexual Revolution's Gender Ideology, the author argues. "I claim the right to participate in the labor market as women, not as men in skirts." She suggests that "educated women would be better off if they accepted that their fertility peaks during their twenties and planned their lives around this fact."

Morse lays out a basic life plan: Women should go to college for a liberal education, not a vocational one. They should et married and have kids early, using their higher educations to be involved in educating their kids. "Let your husbands support you. Trust them. Be grateful for them," and when the children are older, go back for an advanced degree and work.

Tragically, activists are pushing on all these issues and more. Morse discusses same-sex marriage in a chapter on the Gender Ideology. She recalls the battle over California's Proposition 8.

"The 'Yes on 8' campaign was arguably the largest grassroots campaign in history," she writes, noting that California's secretary of state website crashed because there were over 5,000 pages of contributors to the campaign. Yet modern "progressives" "took Proposition 8 to court on flimsy pretexts and rich people's money."

After Proposition 8 passed and the people had amended their constitution, California's attorney general refused to defend it. The people's will failed thanks to an effective pocket veto. in the case Hollingsworth v. Perry (2013), the Supreme Court ruled that proponents of ballot initiatives like Proposition 8 could not defend such laws in court, enabling Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) to resume same-sex marriage in the state. Now-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) performed the first same-sex marriage after this ruling.

As with Proposition 8, wealthy liberals continue to push Sexual Revolution issues, particularly abortion and contraception. George Soros and Warren Buffett continue to fund abortion groups, and they use their money to "shape political institutions so they can use the government to recreate the world in their own image and likeness," Morse alleges.

Importantly, the book notes that contraception carries health risks for women, and some studies have shown that hormonal contraception is as likely to cause cancer as smoking. "Smoking has been all but banned, tobacco companies have been sued, and smokers have been socially shunned," Morse writes. "By contrast, the government actively promotes the use of hormonal contraception while the media plays down the risks."

Abortion, often considered an alternative should contraception fail, also carries tremendous health risks to the mother, which medical associations keep secret for political reasons, the author argues. She also notes that wealthy donors funded abortion activists who convinced the Supreme Court to strike down Texas regulations treating abortion clinics like any other medical facility.

"When the people of Texas, acting through their duly elected state legislators, enacted health and safety legislation for abortion clinics, the elites of society knocked it down," Morse declares.

"The Sexual State" makes a compelling case that state power and wealthy elites pushed the Sexual Revolution, and people should fight back. While Morse does address LGBT issues, her book mostly focuses on the negative impacts the Sexual Revolution has had on family life, harming faithful spouses, children of divorce, and many others.

Morse, a Roman Catholic, presents a very Catholic view of these issues and champions the Catholic Church's approach. Her book was ill-fated to release shortly after the sexual abuse scandal broke, but her points still stand.

The book may be too polemical, but it raises important questions about the hidden harms of the Sexual Revolution and who benefits from this humongous social change.

"The Sexual State" is an important book for libertarians to wrestle with, as it presents a compelling case that big government benefits from the Sexual Revolution, and that marriage and family would help weaken the power of the state.


Acton 2018: The Sexual State & the Divorce Ideology

(June 22, 2018) This year's Acton University is coming to a close--this is the last of Dr J's three talks this time around. This year her three talks are all themed "The Sexual State"--they highlight how various ideologies ingrained in our culture are products of and further the aims of the toxic sexual revolution. This is her third and final talk, entitled "The Sexual State and the Divorce Ideology."

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Powerpoint slides from this presentation are also available.


LAR: The Divorce Ideology

(May 26, 2018) Dr J is one of the speakers at the Asociación LAR México conference in Monterrey, Mexico. Now in their 9th year, the theme this time around is "The Challenges of the Family Today." Dr J gave three talks; this is the second one, on "The Divorce Ideology." Check out our podcast stream for the other two.

Lar, which means "home" in Spanish, is part of the larger IFFD, the International Federation for Family Development.

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Powerpoint slides from this presentation are also available.


 


Dr J on Quest for a Culture of Life in America

(May 15, 2018) Dr J is Steve Koob's guest on his radio show from Radio Maria, "Quest for a Culture of Life in America." They're discussing the Ruth Institute's work exposing the myths and untruths of the sexual revolution as well as this weekend's "Healing Family Breakdown" workshop to be held at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan this Saturday, May 19.

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Putting a ring on it, for the children’s sake

Hollywood's Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson and his partner have another daughter on the way.

By Carolyn Moynihan

This article was first published April 13, 2018, at Mercatornet.com.

 

Hollywood actor, producer and professional wrestler Dwayne Johnson might be good at a few things, but marriage isn't one of them. He is divorced from his first wife (mother of his 16-year-old daughter) and has not married his current partner. It's a pity, because he is about to become a dad for the third time and his new daughter, like her two-year-old sister, will not have best chance of success in life.

The data show that children are more likely to flounder when they face a revolving cast of caretakers and unrelated adults in their lives. That's more likely with unmarried parents.

Family sociologist Brad Wilcox writes in USA Today:


Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Lauren Hashian recently announced they’re expecting their second child this spring — outside of marriage. Although cohabiting Hollywood couples present an unusually glamorous and attractive model of unmarried family life, their path into family formation is not as unusual as it once would have been. A study examining U.S. births between 2006 and 2010 found that almost one-in-four children (23%) are born to cohabiting couples.

But theirs is not an example that should be imitated. It’s true that cohabitation has become a normal and accepted practice in the United States in recent years. While cohabitation was frowned upon in the age of Leave It to Beaver, today most adults will cohabit at some point in their lives. But even though cohabitation is increasingly appealing to adults, that doesn’t mean it is good when children are involved.

You can read the rest of his article at USA Today, but the facts are also summarized in this excellent video.



10 Minutes for Ruth: BNI Presentation

(March 28, 2017) Dr J gives a brief introduction to the founding and mission of the Ruth Institute at Business Network International's annual dinner. She discusses children's need for their own parents, family structure, California's Prop 8, being labeled a "hate group," and so on.

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Freedom Readers: The Government's Duty to Marriage

(March 14, 2018) Dr J is speaking to Freedom Readers, a project of Grove City College's Center for Vision & Values. Her topic is "The Government's Duty to Marriage: A Not-Exclusively Biblical Approach." Check out our podcast stream if you missed yesterday's talk to one of Grove City's classes, and stay tuned for Q&A afterward.

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From Grove City College: The Government's Duty to Marriage

(March 13, 2018) Dr J is speaking to a class of students at Grove City College near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her topic is "The Government's Duty to Marriage: A Not-Exclusively Biblical Approach." Stay tuned for Q&A afterward, and tune in for tomorrow's talk in the same vein to Freedom Readers, a project of the college's Center for Vision & Values.

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40 Percent of US Pregnancies Out of Wedlock, 'Shotgun' Marriages Have Plummeted: Report

By Brandon Showalter

This article was first posted on Christian Post on December 19, 2017.

A new Senate report is highlighting the effects of unwed childbearing and family breakdown as approximately 40 percent of births in the United States now occur outside of wedlock. And what are known as "shotgun" marriages are largely a thing of the past.

The sharp rise in nonmarital births is a result of a complex mixture of moral, behavioral, and social changes given how the Sexual Revolution overhauled the American landscape, noted Robert VerBruggen, deputy managing editor of National Review, writing on the blog of the Institute for Family Studies Monday. Two out of every five pregnancies in the United States now occur outside of wedlock.


"Married couples' fertility rate plummeted by about a third in the 1960s and early 1970s, almost certainly thanks to the introduction of the Pill at the beginning of that period," he wrote.

"Married people have always been sexually active, and the Pill allowed them to continue doing what they were doing with a drastically reduced risk of pregnancy if that was what they wanted."

But such a shift in mindset about sex has reorganized adult priorities while having grievous consequences on children, another scholar pointed out.

"People today generally believe that unlimited sex is an entitlement and that children have only the rights adults choose to give them. This is called 'reproductive justice,' because it neutralizes the impact of children on education and career, and supports 'equality' between men and women," said Jennifer Roback Morse, president of the Ruth Institute, in an interview Tuesday with The Christian Post.

"But if you believe that kids need and are entitled to a relationship with both their own parents, the moral calculus changes considerably."

Sex outside of marriage puts the prospective children at risk of experiencing at least one form of injustice, Morse went on to say. They are either killed via abortion; put at risk of a weak or nonexistent relationship with one parent, often the father; or are placed for adoption, separating the child from their biological parents, at least for the duration of their childhood, she explained.

The Senate report, "Love, Marriage, and the Baby Carriage: The Rise in Unwed Childbearing," was released this month and prepared by the vice chairman's staff of the Joint Economic Committee at the request of Senator Mike Lee (Republican of Utah). The findings examine the trends and aim to understand how the United States arrived at its current social state.

The report also reveals that "shotgun" marriages — where the woman's father supposedly enforced the social norm of marriage by threatening to shoot the guy who impregnated his daughter — have tanked.

"We ridicule this norm, because we forget that it had the benefit of protecting the interests of children in having relationships with both parents," Morse commented.

"The most just solution for the child, is for the parents to marry each other, and work together for a lifetime for the good of the child, and their whole family. We accept injustice to children as the price we are willing to pay for adult sexual freedom and 'gender equality.'"

The report data shows that in the early 1960s, 43 percent of unwed pregnancies precipitated a hasty, "shotgun" marriage. Today, only 9 percent of unwed pregnancies result in such quick marital arrangements. Young couples no longer see the necessity of getting married because a child is coming.

Unmarried people as a group had previously limited their sexual activity, concerned about both unwanted pregnancy and social stigma, the report found. But they, too, began having sex earlier and more frequently as they gained access to hormonal contraception and as changing attitudes made premarital sexual relations more acceptable.

"Further societal changes made unmarried childbearing, not just sex, more acceptable, such that half of births from nonmarital pregnancies today are intended," VerBruggen observed.

The authors of the report do not think that abortion is a significant contributor to these trends, he explained. The abortion rate increased during the 1970s but dropped in the following decades and remains by all measures lower today than when Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973.

"It's a frustratingly complex picture; and half a century after the Sexual Revolution, with no reversal in sight, these may primarily be academic questions anyway. But if we're not happy where we are in this regard — and we shouldn't be, given the harms children have suffered from family breakdown — it can't hurt to know how we got here," VerBruggen said.

 



Privatizing Marriage in Alabama

(January 24, 2018) Dr J is once again a guest on Janet Mefferd's radio show to discuss the state of Alabama's recent moves to eliminate marriage licenses and "privatize" marriages. Their senate has passed a motion to handle marriages through affidavits between adults.

Check out "The Government's Duty to Marriage" over at our webstore on ruthinstitute.org.

Listen

 


Healthy Actions and Expectations Before Saying "I Do"

(January 8, 2018) Dr J is speaking with John Rustin on his radio show, Family Policy Matters. The topic is healthy actions and expectations before saying "I do," and they touch on specifics regarding cohabitation, weddings, divorce, and marriage.

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Workshop to offer ways to heal family breakdown

Posted by Marc & Julie Anderson on in Archdiocese, Leaven News

Jennifer Roback Morse will lead the archdiocesan family life office’s “Healing Family Breakdown” spiritual workshop Jan. 27 at the Church of the Ascension in Overland Park.

What part will you play in the future of the family?

It is a question that is on the mind of more than a few Catholic leaders these days, as we see the primary institution of our society fracture under seemingly insurmountable stress.

But the Catholic Church is not the only institution unwilling to throw in the towel on the institution of the family.


The Ruth Institute, founded in 2008 by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, is a global nonprofit organization aimed at ending family breakdown by energizing survivors of the Sexual Revolution.

And it’s a movement that is coming to the archdiocese next month.

On Jan. 27, the archdiocesan office of marriage and family life will host the institute’s “Healing Family Breakdown” spiritual workshop at the Church of the Ascension in Overland Park.

The event is open to all, Catholic and non-Catholic, and, according to Morse, is meant to accomplish three goals: (1) heal families; (2) help participants prevent family breakdown; and (3) help participants become agents of healing within society at large.

When families attend the workshop, Morse added, something important and life-changing happens to them.

“You realize you and your family are not the only ones,” she said. “For a lot of people, that is huge.”

That realization is an important first step in healing, she said, and is often made manifest to her in a tangible way in the seating arrangement of workshop participants.

“The Holy Spirit has a way of seating people at the table who belong together,” Morse said.

For example, at a past workshop, she witnessed a teenage girl’s perspective change as a result of a conversation she had with a man at her table.

The girl was the daughter of divorced parents. She blamed her father for the situation and did not want anything to do with him.

However, also seated at her table was a divorced man experiencing loneliness as his children would not talk to him. A conversation between the two, Morse said, led the young lady to consider the hurt and loneliness her father might be experiencing, a perspective the teenager had not considered previously.

And that’s just one type of healing and paradigm shift The Ruth Institute is trying to bring about in the world.

On the nonprofit’s website — www.ruthinstitute.org — Morse identifies a dozen different types of survivors of the Sexual Revolution, ranging from children of divorce and of unmarried parents, to a pornography addict or a post-abortive man or woman.

If you recognize yourself, a family member or a friend in one of the 12 survivor descriptions, Morse discourages you from trying to go it alone. Participate in the workshop and begin the healing process, instead.

“We need [survivors’] participation,” she said. “We need you to be witnesses to say the church was right all along [about its teachings on family and sexuality].”

Morse calls survivors “the secret weapon” to restoring the family to its greatness and its rightful place in society.

“All these wounded souls need to speak up,” she said.

“Many people leave the faith over sexual issues,” Morse explained. “I know. I stormed off in a huff.”

But just as people leave the faith over sexual issues, Morse said, countless people later realize the beauty of church teaching and return to the faith.

“I was completely wrong, of course,” she said of her departure from the faith.

Later, by studying the church’s teachings and by watching her adopted and biological children grow, Morse said she realized how much children need their father and mother as well as how much they want their parents.

“That’s how I got interested in the family and how the family fits into society,” said Morse.

As she has watched the family structure in modern society continue to deteriorate, however, Morse is not without hope.

“A lot of what society is trying to do is undoable,” she said. “We believe it is possible to make the family great again.”



Healing Survivors...and the Hate Map?

(August 23, 2017) Dr J is once again Sheila Liaugminas' guest on Relevant Radio's A Closer Look. They're discussing the Southern Poverty Law Center's "hate map," which lists several religious and family-oriented organizations (including us) as "hate groups." They also discuss Ruth Institute's upcoming Healing Family Breakdown spiritual workshop.

Listen

 


Young Americans Cheat on Spouses Less Often Than Older Americans, Study Finds

By Brandon Showalter, CP Reporter

This article was first posted July 5, 2017, at Christian Post.

Marriage requires more than just the rings and the vows.

Younger Americans are less likely to cheat on their spouses than older Americans are, and although culture has become much more accepting of loose sexual norms, adultery is still viewed with disapproval, according to the social science data.

Writing on the blog of the Institute for Family Studies Wednesday, Nicholas Wolfinger, a professor of family and consumer sciences and sociology at the University of Utah, explained that a notable gap exists between those over 55 and under 55 regarding extramarital sex.

The "adultery taboo" has endured throughout human history, Wolfinger wrote. And the number of Americans who admit to having sex outside of marriage has remained steady over the years, hovering around 16 percent, giving the impression that Americans have basically concluded that extramarital sex is wrong.


Yet, some shocking changes have occurred since the year 2000, he noted: older Americans are cheating more and younger Americans are cheating less.

Wolfinger derived this assessment from the past three decades of data from the General Social Survey which tracks social attitudes about a variety of moral matters. Since 1991, GSS respondents have been asked: "Have you ever had sex with someone other than your husband or wife while you were married?"

"Starting after 2004, Americans over 55 began reporting rates of extramarital sex that were about five or six percentage points higher than were being offered by younger adults. By 2016, 20% of older respondents indicated that their marriages were nominally adulterous, compared to 14% for people under 55," Wolfinger said.

While the majority of Americans are committed to monogamy, "the mounting age difference is noteworthy and statistically significant," he added.

Wolfinger further underscored the role of the sexual revolution in the 1960s and 1970s as a driving factor in shaping the attitudes of people toward sex. For the generation who came of age during the sexual revolution — people who are now in their 50s and 60s — "it's understandable they are more likely to have sex with someone without their spouses," he said. These people are also more likely to have had more sexual partners in their lifetimes than their older or younger peers.

"They may have firsthand experience with 1970s-era experiments with non-monogamy. A few people born in the late 1950s may have had swingers for parents, leading offspring to question taboos surrounding infidelity."

After reaching a peak in 1990, sex among teenagers has fallen significantly, the data shows.

"Collectively, this sexual biography makes it understandable that products of the sexual revolution would be most predisposed to extramarital sex. If people just aged into outside love affairs, presumably as they grew bored of their marital beds, we could expect that the oldest GSS respondents would be the most likely to report extramarital sex," Wolfinger said.

But the data suggests that is not the case. The sexual revolution continues to produce fruit today in the generation who grew up in its wake, he observed.

Although the rate of divorce overall has dropped in the past few decades, "gray divorce," that is, divorce among the middle aged, has seen a surge.

"Part of that story seems to be a corresponding increase in midlife extramarital sex," he said.

Even as increased chatter about "open" marriages and other forms of consensual non-monogamy like polyandry have appeared on the scene, with the declines in extramarital sex observed for younger Americans, "barring any unforeseen developments, we should anticipate a future of more monogamous marriage," Wolfinger said.

Americans by and large "still disapprove of sex outside of wedlock, but we disapprove less strongly than we used to," the scholar noted, suggesting that society is witnessing a growing "sexual inequality."

GSS data also reveals that while some Americans have more sex out of wedlock, others have become even more disapproving.

"Indeed, perhaps some of this disapproval reflects the comparably high rates of extramarital sex 50-somethings and 60-somethings have been observing in their peers."

His analysis seems to comport with the findings in other related studies.

The Christian Post reported in August that contrary to conventional wisdom and a sex-saturated culture, young people are actually not having much sex.

In a study published last year in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, researchers Jean M. Twenge, Ryne A. Sherman, and Brooke E. Wells discovered that young people born in the 1990s were "significantly more likely to have no sexual partners" than Gen Xers. The only generation with a higher rate of sexual inactivity than today's 20- to 24-year-olds was the one born in the 1920s when controlled for time period and age.

"I think a lot of them are watching the adults around them and concluding that sex without limits is not making people happy. Parents with multiple marriages and divorces, etc.," said Ruth Institute founder Jennifer Roback Morse in a statement to CP, suggesting that younger generations were becoming wiser.

 


Divorce & Family Structure on "Beyond the Veil"

(June 6, 2017) Dr J and Jennifer Johnson are speaking with Father Thomas Loya of Radio Maria's Beyond the Veil. They're discussing divorce, marriage, and family relationships. Jennifer Johnson's recent booklet, Marriage and Equality: How Natural Marriage Upholds the Ideal of Equality for Children, comes up as well.

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Marriage Equality on The Catholic Conversation

(March 28, 2017) Jennifer Johnson, Ruth Institute's Associate Director, is speaking with Steve and Becky Greene of Immaculate Heart Radio's The Catholic Conversation. They're discussing family structure equality for children and Jennifer's new booklet, Marriage and Equality: How Natural Marriage Upholds the Ideal of Equality for Children.

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Press Release: 'Go to Confession' Campaign

 

For immediate release:

“Families don’t just ‘break down.’ Marriages don’t just ‘fall apart.’ Somebody sins! So, go to Confession!” –Ruth Institute President, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Ruth Institute launches ‘Go to Confession’ Campaign

(March 14, 2017, Lake Charles, LA) During this season of Lent, The Ruth Institute has launched an online and billboard campaign encouraging people of all faiths to make things right with God. “Families don’t just ‘break down.’ Marriages don’t just ‘fall apart.’ Somebody sins!” Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse stated in announcing the campaign. “That is why have launched a series of billboards and social media messages urging people to go to confession!”


Even in cases where one person has the major responsibility for fracturing the family, all family members can benefit from going to confession. “The injured parties may need help with bitterness, anger, emotional paralysis and many other issues. The grace of confession can help them,” Dr. Morse explained. “And of course, it goes without saying: if you have injured your family through addiction, abuse, adultery or desertion, go to confession. Jesus is waiting for you in the confessional and wants to forgive you. If you can’t tell him, in the person of the priest, that you are sorry, how are you ever going to be able to face your ex-spouse or your children?”

“Our ‘Go to Confession’ campaign reminds people that God is merciful and He will forgive us. What better time than during Lent?” Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute said.

The Institute launched a billboard campaign in Lake Charles, LA, with messages: “Jesus is waiting for you,” “Sin makes you stupid,” featuring St. Thomas Aquinas (who loosely said that), and “Party’s over. Go to confession,” with an image of Mardi Gras debris. “Lake Charles is in the heart of Cajun Country, the Catholic buckle on the Bible belt. If we can’t publicly urge people to go to confession here, where can we? And the world desperately needs this encouragement.”

Dr. Morse added. “Guilty consciences make it harder for us to move forward and to resolve the issues caused by our sins, or the bitterness we’ve held onto from the sins of others.” Find the Ruth Institute’s ‘Go to Confession’ images on their website here, here and here.

The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization dedicated to finding Christ-like solutions to the problems of family breakdown. Founded by world renowned author, speaker and academic, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, the Ruth Institute has accumulated decades of research to support individuals and families harmed by divorce, the hook-up culture, and other forms of family breakdown.

Reply to this email if you’d like to interview Dr. Morse further about this unique and beneficial ‘Go to Confession’ campaign.




Abandoned Faith and Family Breakdown

(March 10, 2017) Dr J is once again a guest of Drew Mariani on his eponymous show on Relevant Radio. They're discussing how people leave the faith as a result of family breakdown. Their discussion was sparked by the new book Abandoned Faith: Why Millennials Are Walking Away and How You Can Lead Them Home by Alex McFarland and Jason Jimenez.

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Family Structure Equality for Children

(March 3, 2017) Jennifer Johnson, Ruth Institute's Associate Director, is speaking with John Rustin on his radio show, Family Policy Matters. They're discussing family structure equality for children and Jennifer's new booklet, Marriage and Equality: How Natural Marriage Upholds the Ideal of Equality for Children.

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Is cohabitation the new marriage? Not for kids

Children born in cohabiting unions experience more family instability, a new study finds.

by Carolyn Moynihan for mercatornet.com on February 9, 2017

One thing the same-sex marriage debate has done is shine a light on why marriage is even worth arguing about. If it is just about loving couples, forget it. But it is not just about that; it is about children.

After decades of “soul mate” marriage, it has been brought to our attention again that marriage not only unites a couple with each other but it unites children with their own mother and father. It exists for the sake of the children a couple may have. It is society’s way of ensuring that children thrive and grow up to be responsible citizens.


At the same time the gay marriage issue has diverted attention away from something else: the number of (heterosexual) couples who are not marrying but having children anyway. Cohabitation has been increasing around the world for decades, but whereas middle and upper class couples once tied the knot before starting a family, many are no longer waiting for marriage before having a child.

In the United States between 2002 and 2010 births to cohabiting couples jumped from 41 percent of all non-marital births to 58 percent. In France and Sweden one in four adults aged 18 to 49 is cohabiting, while in South America families based on non-marital “consensual unions” are a longstanding tradition.

Does it matter?

It should, because it’s about the children. As everyone who has had anything to do with children knows, they thrive on stable routines with stable caregivers, and there is plenty of evidence that cohabitation is less stable than marriage.

Thiere is new evidence for this in a report from the Social Trends Institute and the Institute for Family Studies this week. It is based on data from 68 countries around the world, including individual data for children in the United States and 16 European countries.

In an essay introducing the 2017 World Family Map, “The Cohabitation Go-Round: Cohabitation and Family Instabimfor lity Across the Globe”, Laurie DeRose and W. Bradford Wilcox report that:

* Children born into cohabiting families are more likely to see their parents split by age 12 than children born into married families in almost every country.

* In the United Kingdom these children are 94 percent more likely to see their parents break up by age 12.

* For the United States the increased risk of a such a family “transition” is 102 percent.

Of course, these figures indicate a correlation between cohabitation and unstable families, and do not prove that one causes the other. Although many of us would think it common sense that a less committed relationship would be less stable, even with – or perhaps especially with – children, other factors may be at work.

Here are three alternative explanations that the World Family Map scholars studied – and found wanting:

Cohabitation is less stable only because poorer people are more likely to choose it. Using the individual data for the US and Europe, WFM sorted the children in their study according to their mother’s education level (a proxy for family income) and found that cohabitation is less stable regardless of the mother’s education. “In the overwhelming majority of countries, the most educated cohabiting parents still have a far higher rate of break-up than the lowest educated married couples,” comments DeRose.

In fact, DeRose and Wilcox report: “The largest absolute stability gap between children born to cohabiting vs. marital unions is among children whose mothers have high levels of education in the United States: 49 percent of children born to cohabiting couples experience parental union dissolution as compared to 18 percent of children born to married couples. At other education levels, the United States is more similar to Europe in the size of the stability gap.”

As cohabitation becomes more common it becomes more similar to marriage in stability for children. Using data for 100 countries, WFM found no evidence for this. “Higher proportions of births to single women and cohabiting couples are both significantly associated with lower proportions of children living with both biological parents.” There are wide variations in the degree of this relationship, but Northern Europe was the only place where it did not hold.

What about Latin America? Some scholars assert that “where cohabitation has been a long-standing alternative to marriage (scholars writing on Latin America and the Caribbean refer to a “dual nuptiality” system), further growth of the institution will not affect children’s lives,” comments DeRose. “Again, that’s not the case.”

Cohabitation was, it should be noted, much more stable (nine times more) than single motherhood -- although the possibility of a mother becoming single after cohabiting should not be discounted. But the important comparison from children’s point of view is with marriage, which, as this study shows, offers the best chance of stable family life – even in countries where it is in retreat.

There you have a few facts that need a good airing.


Jennifer Johnson on Cohabitation

(February 13, 2017) Jennifer Johnson, Ruth Institute's Associate Director, is speaking with Drew Mariani on his eponymous show on Relevant Radio. They're discussing cohabitation.

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Removing Marriage Penalties from Welfare Programs

(February 9, 2017) Dr J is once again Todd Wilkin's guest on Issues, Etc. They're discussing assistance to the poor and the way its administration often penalizes marriage.

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Poor Kids Need Their Parents Too

By Jennifer Roback Morse Published on January 29, 2017, at stream.org.

Life-long married love benefits children. Why then, is our government creating incentives for parents to not marry? Poor children need their own parents and a stable family life every bit as much as children of the middle and upper classes.

If you are not sure about the benefits of life-long married love for children, let me tell you about Gina. I encountered her when I was a foster parent. When I met Gina, she was 12 years old and was transitioning from a group home into a foster home. She was intelligent and pretty and articulate.

Gina’s Story


Gina’s mother and father had not married each other. Her mother developed a drug problem and disappeared. Her father took full responsibility for Gina. Eventually, he met another woman, fell in love, and married her. They had a child together.

Gina was jealous of the new wife and the new baby. Her father and stepmother were afraid to leave her unattended in the same room with the baby, for fear she would hurt the baby. In fact, she did try to hurt the baby.

One day, Gina provoked a quarrel with her stepmother. She got so frustrated she shoved Gina, who called the police. The stepmother knew she shouldn’t have done it. But Gina was in no real danger: she called the police out of spite. The stepmother spent a few days in jail. Child protective services put Gina in a group home.

Her father was heartbroken. He loved Gina and was really trying to take care of her. But she was a risk to the baby. And she got her stepmother arrested.

In the meantime, Gina’s maternal grandparents came to visit while she was in foster care. They wanted to get custody and take her home. They were heartbroken that their own daughter had gone off the rails so badly that she was not taking care of her own child. Although they had had little relationship with Gina, they were worried about Gina being in foster care and a group home.

They just wanted their granddaughter to be with them. Perfectly understandable, and laudable. We would want all grandparents to feel that way. Just one problem: Gina’s father did not want them to take Gina off to another state.

Nothing completely takes the place of a loving stable relationship between a child’s own parents.

So, let’s look at the scorecard. A heartbroken father, who can barely keep his wife and daughter from fighting, and who cannot be sure that his infant is safe from his 12-year-old daughter. A pair of heartbroken grandparents who want some relationship with their granddaughter. A stepmother who fears for her child’s safety and who fears being set up by the stepdaughter.

And one deeply disturbed little girl. Angry, lonely, manipulative. Gina was deeply in need of unconditional love, and yet almost completely incapable of receiving the love people tried to offer her.

This blended family is innocuous by modern standards. Gina had had only two “family transitions”: the first when her mother abandoned the family, the second when her father got married. The father was free to marry, even by the strictest Roman Catholic standards, since he had never been married to Gina’s mother in the first place. Everyone was sincerely trying to do the right thing for Gina. The family was not desperately poor. There was no hostility or quarreling between the biological parents.

Yet, there is still no solution to Gina’s situation. Nothing completely takes the place of a loving stable relationship between the child’s own parents. So, yes, kids really do need their own parents.

How the Government Undermines Marriage Among the Poor

Now: is the government in fact undermining marriage among the poor? Consider these facts from the Institute for Family Studies, as of 2010:

  • Among high school drop outs, 83% of firstborn children are born outside of marriage. In 1970, only 33% of their first births were out of wedlock.
  • For women with a high-school degree and maybe some college, 58% percent of their firstborn children are born out of wedlock. In 1970, only 12% of their first births were out of wedlock.
  • Most college-educated women continue to get married before becoming mothers. Only 12 percent of first births to college educated women are out of wedlock.

Out of wedlock births are significant because the mothers so frequently have their next child with a different partner. This places the first child in a situation like Gina’s, with all the accompanying risks and complications.

What accounts for this overall trend and these class distinctions? Part of the answer, surely, is that some of the most significant income support programs have significant marriage penalties. People in these situations are better off cohabiting, or not living together at all, rather than getting married.

A report from the Urban Institute focuses on the Earned Income Tax and Child Tax Credits. A report from the American Enterprise Institute examines Medicaid, SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the new name for food stamps) and TANF, (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.)

The widespread perception that marriage puts one’s benefits at risk may be driving behavior more than the actual details of the program.

The AEI report focuses on families with at least one child aged two or younger, in other words, the men and women most likely to be new parents and to be considering whether to marry. The poorest of the poor are less likely to be affected by marriage penalties. Many of the lowest income people qualify for benefits whether they marry or not. But even among the lowest income quintile, two-thirds of the lowest income quintile will likely face a marriage penalty for SNAP, TANF or Medicaid.

The situation is even worse for the working poor, with slightly higher incomes. People closer to the eligibility threshold can face substantial losses in family income if they marry. Among the middle quintile, three quarters face a marriage penalty for SNAP, TANF or Medicaid. And among those in the second lowest quintile, fully 87% of the families would face a reduction in benefits if they married.

Perhaps even more importantly, the AEI report found that about 30% of Americans personally know someone who did not marry due to fear of losing the benefits. This widespread perception that marriage puts one’s benefits at risk may be driving behavior more than the actual fine-grained details of the program.

The Federal government’s programs for poor relief undermine the ability of the poorest people in society to get married and stay married. This has got to stop.

Now is the Time to Do Something About the Marriage Penalties

Scholars and analysts across the political spectrum are aware of this problem. They only disagree about how significant it is. Analysts at the liberal end of the spectrum probably fear that removing the marriage penalties won’t do much. Those at the conservative end may fear that removing the marriage penalties would cost too much. But both these fears cannot be true. So, let’s spend the money it takes to remove the marriage penalties. If these penalties only affect a few people, it won’t cost much to remove them.

Social conservatives have the ear of the current Administration. Now is a good time to recruit scholars and analysts from the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Urban Institute and Brookings, and do something about the marriage penalties.

Together, they could come up with something. We owe it to the least among us to stop undermining the formation and stability of their families.


Jennifer Johnson on Marriage and Equality

(January 30, 2017) Jennifer Johnson is once again Molly Smith's guest on From the Median. They're discussing her just-released book, Marriage and Equality: How Natural Marriage Upholds the Ideal of Equality for Children. They also touch on the general interrelatedness of the marriage and life issues.

Jennifer's book can be found at our store in several formats--check it out!

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Restoring Confidence in Traditional Marriage

(November 17, 2016) Dr J is once again Molly Smith's guest on From the Median. They're discussing her latest book, 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person, and interrelatedness of the marriage and life issues.

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Live-in Boyfriends and Domestic Violence against Children

(November 8, 2016) Dr J is once again Todd Wilkin's guest on Issues, Etc. They're discussing domestic violence against children, specifically in situations involving a live-in boyfriend or other unrelated adult.

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'Healing Family Breakdown' retreat set

by Crystal Stevenson / American Press

This article was first published October 21, 2016, at AmericanPress.com.

How to heal after the breakdown of one’s family unit will be the topic of the San Diego-based Ruth Institute’s inaugural Louisiana event.

The “Healing Family Breakdown” retreat will be 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at Our Lady Queen of Heaven’s family center, 3939 Kingston St.

The retreat will include short talks, guided meditation and small group discussions, said Ruth Institute founder and retreat organizer Jennifer Roback Morse.

“Pretty much every family is affected by it in some way or another, if not your immediate family then in the extended family,” Morse said. “We realized based on our scientific research that there is an enormous amount of pain associated with it. Just looking around the culture you can see that people are suffering, but they don’t know what to do about it.”


Morse describes the forms of a family breakdown as adults divorced against their will — such as in cases of adultery or desertion; children who experience the divorce of their parents; children born to unmarried parents; and fostered, adopted or donor-conceived people who don’t know their biological parents.

“A lot of times people feel it’s their fault and there’s something wrong with them, but really we have a lot of structural problems causing this,” she said. “So we wanted to put together something that would help people deal with it in their own lives and also have a bigger picture of why it’s so troubling, and that’s what the retreat is designed to do.”

Morse said the retreat will focus on the child’s perspective.

“Our philosophy is that every child is entitled to a relationship with both of their parents unless some unavoidable tragedy takes place to prevent that, and of course that does happen,” she said.

“From the child’s perspective, anything that involves them not being in a day-to-day relationship with both parents, that’s a breakdown. If you look at it from a child’s perspective, sometimes the family is broken down even before it starts.”

Too many families are suffering alone and in silence, Morse said.

“It’s possible to have some healing. The feelings you have of maybe longing for the missing parent or longing for the relationship to somehow be restored, that’s a perfectly valid feeling,” she said.

“It might not happen; you might not be able to control whether it happens or not. But we want people to feel affirmed that at least it’s OK to have that desire.”

Morse said the conference is open to people ages 15 and older. Cost is $30 per person and $50 per family; attendance is free for members of the clergy. To register, visit www.olqh.org.



Social justice warriors: Here’s a cause for you

by Jennifer Roback Morse

Originally published at The Blaze on October 14, 2016.

Dear Social Justice Warriors,

In some circles, the term “Social Justice Warrior” is a slur: an overly sensitive, obliviously privileged college student in a continual uproar over trivia.

I don’t agree with this caricature. I agree with you that social justice is real and worth fighting for. I admire young people who want to do something noble and good with their lives.

I have the perfect cause for you. This is a cause where you can do something constructive for the poor and marginalized. This cause demands something of you, rather than you demanding something of others. Are you ready for my challenge?

In Portland Oregon, 2-year-old, Zackariah Luda Daugherty was murdered by a 20-year-old man. In West Virginia, an unnamed 9-month-old baby girl died after being sexually assaulted, shaken and strangled by a 32 year-old-man. In New Jersey, Ariana, a two-year-old girl diedafter being sexually assaulted by a 22 year-old-man.

What do all of these cases have in common?


From "Broken Homes and Battered Children" by Robert Whelan (Robert Whelan)

The perpetrator of these crimes was in each case, the mother’s live-in boyfriend. If you type the words “mother’s boyfriend kills child” into your browser, many similar stories will pop up.

Social scientists have known for some time that the most dangerous living arrangement for a child is living with his or her mother and her live-in boyfriend. Back in 1994, a British study of child abuse reported that children living with their mother and a cohabiting boyfriend were about 50 times more likely to be killed than children living with their married parents.

This chart is taken from the original article with the permission of the author. Look at the bar labeled 2 NP md, which stands for “two Natural Parents, married,” and compare it with the bar labeled NM & chtee, which stands for “Natural Mother and cohabitee.”

 

A more recent study, in 2005, in Missouri, found that children living with their mother and an unrelated adult were 60 times more likely to be killed than children living with their married mother and father. And 84 percent of the time, that murderous unrelated adult was the mother’s boyfriend.

What does this have to do with me, you may ask? My young friends, I have frequently given talks on the hazards of cohabitation. And it never fails: some college student, usually a guy, will claim that cohabitation is not really so bad. It just looks bad, he will say, because lots of poor people cohabit. It looks like a bad deal, because the people who cohabit are more likely to be losers in the first place.

This is not correct, as it happens: controlling for income and education does reduce the impact of cohabitation, but not all the way to nothing. But let us say, for the sake of argument, that the problem is not cohabitation per se, but the people who happen to cohabit.

This, my earnest young friends, is where the social justice issue comes into play. Let’s say that you, as a privileged college-educated woman, can have a child, and then safely move in with a boyfriend who is not your child’s father. Let’s say you, as a college-educated man, never abuses your live-in girlfriend’s child.

But look: the child of a poor woman is more likely to be harmed by his or her mother’s boyfriend. What part of social justice is it for you and your advantaged friends to make excuses for a social convention, cohabitation, that won’t hurt you, but is systematically more likely to harm the poor? Why would you do such a thing?

That study is old and out of date, you may say. Ask yourself why you think that matters. I think we somehow expect the passage of time to bring wider acceptance of cohabitation. And we think, this wider social acceptance will solve these problems.

That assumes that the problems have only to do with social approval. Do you really believe that less disapproval of unmarried motherhood will eliminate the stress, fatigue and loneliness that unmarried mothers feel? Will wider social acceptance improve her judgment about what kind of guy is good for her to be involved with? Is the mere progression of time enough to make men no longer prefer their own natural children to someone else’s? Will further progress of the Sexual Revolution make men less interested in sex with the mother and more interested in her child?

In other words, the True Believers in the Sexual Revolution believe they can remake human nature.

I think this is a fool’s errand. I think these “old, outdated” studies show that we have known from the beginning that cohabitation is problematic. The privileged people of society, academics, social workers, judges, law enforcement officers, they are all aware of these risks. But we are not telling the poor, whose lives are most likely to be disrupted and even destroyed.

So here is my challenge to you. Stop making excuses for cohabitation. You don’t really need to move in with your Significant Other, do you? And even if you think you do, at least stop defending it as public policy. Give some thought for Zackariah, Ariana and the thousands of other unnamed children who have been harmed by their mothers’ boyfriends. Sacrifice yourself for the sake of social justice.

You just might save some lives.

Your friend,

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse: Survivor of the Sexual Revolution

 


 

 

 



The Ruth Institute congratulates and thanks Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo of Richmond, Virginia for upholding Catholic teaching on marriage

The Ruth Institute recently sent a letter of commendation and 24 white roses to Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo of Richmond, Virginia congratulating and thanking him for his defense of Catholic teaching. Tim Kaine, Democratic candidate for Vice President, has said that the church will change its teaching on marriage. Bishop DiLorenzo, Kaine’s local bishop, disagrees. The Bishop’s office posted the following:

“Despite recent statements from the campaign trail, the Catholic Church’s 2000-year- old teaching to the truth about what constitutes marriage remains unchanged and resolute.”

The statement continues by pointing out a foundational belief shared by the Ruth Institute: “Redefining marriage furthers no one’s rights, least of all those of children, who should not purposely be deprived of the right to be nurtured and loved by a mother and a father.”


The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization dedicated to finding Christ-like solutions to the problems of family breakdown. Founded by world renowned author, speaker and academic, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, the Ruth Institute has accumulated decades of research to support individuals and families harmed by divorce, the hook-up culture and other forms of family breakdown.

Dr. Morse stated, “We are particularly encouraged that Bishop DiLorenzo defended the rights of children to be nurtured and loved by their mothers and fathers.”

Dr. Morse continued, “The Ruth Institute dreams of the day when every child will be welcomed into a loving home with a married mother and father. We believe every child has the right to a relationship with both natural parents, unless some unavoidable tragedy prevents it. We believe every adult without exception has the right to know his or her cultural heritage and genetic identity. Bishop DiLorenzo has restated the ancient teachings of Christianity and of Jesus Christ Himself. These teachings protect the interests of children, as well as the interests of men and women in lifelong married love.”

As a sign of support for Bishop DiLorenzo, the Ruth Institute sent 24 white roses to the Bishop’s office, and offers prayers for him and for everyone in the Diocese of Richmond.

Dr. Morse is available for interviews about the Roses from Ruth Initiative, the Bishop’s statement, and Catholic teaching on marriage. To interview Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, contact the Ruth Institute at:

info@ruthinstitute.org

(760) 295-9278


Catholics in the Public Square

(September 17, 2016) Dr J was invited to Phoenix, Arizona to speak on "Catholics in the Public Square" to the diocese there. Her talk is designed to prepare people for personal and civic engagement on the marriage and life issues in the current cultural climate.

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Darwinism, Contraception, and the Decline of Manhood

By Ryan MacPherson, a Ruth Institute Circle of Experts member

Book Review: The Decline of Males, Lionel Tiger (New York: Golden Books, 1999)
This article was first published at hausvater.org.

Why would a confessional Lutheran (who recognizes that God created humanity male and female, instituted marriage, and designed the one-flesh union for procreation) want to read a book written by an evolutionist who claims that Darwin’s theory of sexual selection is the key to interpreting the breakdown of the American family? If the evolutionist is Dr. Lionel Tiger, a Rutgers University anthropologist, and the book is The Decline of Males, then the answer is simple: his insightful analysis offers lessons that transcend the gap between Darwinian assumptions, which fundamentally contradict Scripture, and the confessional Lutheran worldview, which proclaims that God “impressed upon [human] nature” a “divine ordinance” for marital procreation (Apol. XIII (XI), 7, 12).

Tiger differs from many scholars. He identifies the root of America’s culture war over “family values,” with its recurring “battle of the sexes,” not in politics, not in religion, not in any particular ideology, but rather in biology. He argues that male and female bodies, and the social behaviors that typically go with them, have evolved over millions of years to perfect a mammalian reproductive cycle in which offspring are preserved by males who care for pregnant and lactating females. The introduction of modern contraception in the 1960s, however, radically altered the human social environment. Biology—slow to evolve—is struggling to catch up. The result is social chaos, involving an escalation of single motherhood and absent fatherhood. A confessional Lutheran would want to correct Tiger’s evolutionary presuppositions with the doctrine that God the Creator designed human nature in such a way that “a husband should labor to support his wife and children … that a wife should bear children and care for them.” (AC XXVI, 10) The interesting thing is that many of Tiger’s conclusions would still stand. Following is the story he tells, drawn from anthropology, sociology, and psychology.


Prior to the 1960s, when the hormonal birth control pill became available, men and women had equal awareness of whether a sexual encounter was likely to result in pregnancy. Men, therefore, were more willing to accept responsibility for their pre-marital misbehavior, as evidenced by the high percentage of pregnant brides a century ago (30% to 50%). Today, by contrast, fewer women are pregnant on their wedding day, but many more remain unmarried as single mothers. “It is impossible,” writes Tiger, “to overestimate the impact of the contraceptive pill on human arrangements.” By shifting responsibility away from men and women (condoms and diaphragms) and toward women alone (pills and IUDs), modern contraceptive technology has empowered women to control their own destinies while also leaving women more vulnerable and isolated by deflating “a man’s sense of power … sense of function … sense of responsibility.” (35) Tiger suggests that this explains why the push for legalized abortion increased after the pill became available: when the pill failed, and an unmarried woman found herself pregnant, she could count no longer on a “shotgun wedding” as a safety net, and so she felt desperate for another way out.

By severing sexual intimacy from procreative potential, and procreative potential from male responsibility, the same pill that made women less dependent upon men also made them more dependent upon themselves, and ultimately upon the state. “If liberation means the absence of unavoidable irrefutable obligations,” explains Tiger, “women’s liberation has backfired. It is men who have been liberated.” (184) As women became less trusting of men and more reliant on themselves, higher education and gainful employment shifted, among women, from being luxuries to necessities. It became a greater stigma for a woman to be unemployed than unmarried. “Housewife,” formerly a badge of honor, was now a label of embarrassment. Women discovered, in a new culture of absent fatherhood and devalued motherhood, that “paid work enjoys high moral and social status even if it involves a woman’s taking care of someone else’s child ... and even if she has to pay yet another person to take care for hers.” (68) Men, meanwhile, shirked their responsibilities to the women they impregnated and the children born to them, leaving a void that social welfare sought to fill. Thus, monogamy gave way to “bureaugamy,” the marriage of a single woman and her child to the state’s welfare bureaucracy (21).

All this may sound too much like a “just so” story—clever, but without substantial evidence to support it. Here is where Tiger’s synthesis of the social sciences and natural sciences becomes more intriguing.

First, a lesson from primatology. Consider Austin, a dominant male monkey on a Caribbean island with nine female monkeys. As is typical for his species, he chooses to mate repeatedly with his favorite females—in this case, three of the nine. When researchers inject two of those three with Depo-Provera, a contraceptive, Austin loses interest and seeks two replacements from among the other monkeys. When the Depo-Provera wears off after three months, he returns to them. When researchers put all nine females on contraception, Austin begins “to rape, masturbate, and behave in a turbulent and confused manner.” (39) Depo-Provera chemically mimics pregnancy; since a female cannot become pregnant while currently pregnant, a female who is “chemically pregnant” on Depo-Provera has significant “protection” from actually becoming pregnant. As Austin’s harem demonstrates, this protection comes not only from the drug’s physiological effects, but also from it social effects. Chemically pregnant females do not exude the same pheromones as fertile females, and hence not only their own libido but also the interest that males exhibit toward them declines.

Similarly, women on the pill fall out of synch with off-pill women, whose pheromones lead the menstrual cycles of, say, women in a college dormitory to synchronize with the alpha female. In other words, “the pill affects how women relate to other women in a visceral way.” (42) Hormonal contraception also impacts women’s perceptions of men: women off the pill can distinguish responsible, gainfully employed, physically fit men from social “losers” by the smell of their clothes; women on the pill fail this same pheromonal evaluation. Such data confirm that Lutheran pastors had good reason to be concerned that, once the pill became commonplace, “Relationships between men and women would never again be the same.” (Lutheran Synod Quarterly, 1981*)

As Tiger progresses from the natural sciences to the social sciences, he does not champion “traditional family values” in the manner typical of reactionary conservatism. Rather, he argues compellingly for the success of single motherhood as a strategic adaptation to a radically impoverished human social environment. Women, whether single, married, or divorced, whether with or without children, are faring surprisingly well (though married women fare best). Women’s real wages increased in the closing decades of the twentieth century, while they declined for men. Women make up the majority of college students (55% in America; 60% in Canada) and are earning an increasing share of post-graduate degrees. Women are starting successful small businesses—often in or close to home, as they creatively integrate work with family life, a task that men have not mastered so well.

Rather than pointing a finger of blame at single women for being irresponsible, or for milking the welfare system, Tiger applauds their success at beating the odds. He also analyzes social transformations that have reshaped the odds in their favor. Specifically, a double-standard has emerged, under the guises of affirmative action and political correctness, in which all-female colleges retain praise but an all-male academy or golf club receives a court order to integrate. Rambunctious boys, whom an evolutionary anthropologist would identify as well-adapted for catching prey on the savannah, are now expected to cooperate quietly in feminized group learning classrooms, or else be diagnosed with ADHD and drugged with Ritalin. The same “troublesome” boys who fare poorly in school excel on the athletic field and demonstrate mental acuity by memorizing the stats of their favorite sports teams. Their biology is that of a male hunter-gatherer, but their social environment increasingly rewards feminine behavioral patterns they cannot readily produce.

Tiger thus objects both to the male chauvinism against which mid- to late-twentieth-century feminists reacted and also to the androgynous ideal that has largely replaced it. Emphasizing that men and women are biologically different, and by nature interdependent, Tiger worries about the “new world” in which men and women are expected to be the same, as interchangeable individuals rather than interdependent pairs. “Both men and women must play separately by the same rules rather than together by different ones.” (137)

But why separately? “It is almost easier to sever the most fundamental of human connections [marriage] than to install a Coke sign in a landmark part of town.” (115) No-fault divorce transforms even married mothers into single mothers, pseudo-empowering women to go it alone and men to leave them alone. Only 18% of single mothers receive child support from the father. Nearly 50% of Manhattan residents and 70% of central Oslo residents live alone. “The family effectively becomes almost a subset of society rather than the central system of society itself.” (107) Even families that remain intact outsource what historically have been the family’s most efficient achievements: childcare, cooking, cleaning, and laundry. Half of American meals are eaten outside of home, and many of those eaten at home are “carry out” from elsewhere. The same two-income social structure that enables such tasks to be hired out also prevents spouses from having time to do them for themselves. Of course, this also means that husband and wife, parent and child are not doing such tasks for or with one another.

Men, meanwhile, recognize their lost ability to provide gainfully for a woman and their children. Some give up trying. Others labor in dissatisfying jobs, which they acquire only after tough competition against other men and women in an environment where affirmative action preferences female applicants. “The most challenging test to industrial communities,” projects Tiger, “will be to provide acceptable and gratifying occupations for young males and the adults they become.” (190) The decline of males has been especially sharp among African Americans, among whom 40% to 50% of young men are unemployed, and 7% of men spend part of their lives in jail. But the challenge is much broader. “How many men of any race or ethnic group can confidently assume they will, like their fathers, be able to support a spouse and several children in a seemly manner on their own check?” (170)

At the root of this all is a biological imperative: “Who will raise the children?” In Tiger’s evolution-assumed analysis, “it is best to begin with the mammalian fact that small children should be raised by their mothers. This is Mother Nature’s plan.” (260) Still, he does not suggest that people should be trapped by their genetic coding; rather, he urges that choices should be made in conformity with biological reality: if many mothers decide to remain at home with their children … this should be treated as an adult choice by empowered people, not a distasteful primordial legacy.” (263) He also wants women to feel free to remain unmarried and childless, pursuing independent lifestyles if they prefer. However, he argues that such independence should be truly independent, not bolstered by affirmative action—particularly now that 55% of college students are women anyway.

But whether women work, or stay at home to raise their children, or creatively develop a combination of both, is not Tiger’s principal concern. He simply suggests that children are best raised by their parents, and young children by their mothers, and thus he raises a red flag about a society that so causally has adopted the post-family normalcy of a single woman laboring (often by caring for other people’s children) in order to finance childcare for her own children. “No zookeeper would have Monkey Mother A take care of Monkey Mother B’s baby and vice versa,” but current welfare policy encourages precisely this arrangement for humans (264). Why not instead provide welfare payments for stay-at-home single mothers?

Better still, why not identify ways to foster greater responsibility among males, so that husbands and fathers can acquire gainful employment and fulfill responsibilities to women and children? Of course, responsibility implies interdependence, and interdependence is quite at odds with the sort ofindependence the pill promised women and men half a century ago. Could it be that such independence has prompted men to retreat from family responsibilities? Tiger thinks so, and warns that human society is regressing to a matrilineal chimpanzee lifestyle in which females mate with multiple males, none of whom maintain close ties to mother or child.

What he mistakes for evolutionary regression, Scripture identifies as original sin—the rotting away of our divinely fashioned human nature. For a full remedy to the epidemic of fatherlessness in America, one must look far beyond the social science of Lionel Tiger to the Bible’s testimony of the forgiving God who comes to earth to restore His fallen creatures. One must look to the gospel of Jesus Christ, concerning whom the prophet Malachi wrote, “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6). Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

_____

*Carl E. Braaten, “Sex, Marriage, and the Clergy,” Dialog n.v. (n.d.): n.p., as quoted and discussed in Norman A. Madson, “How Should a Pastor Deal with the New Morality?” Lutheran Synod Quarterly 21, no. 3 (1981): 32-47, at 35.


Dr. Ryan C. MacPherson is the founding president of The Hausvater Project. He lives with his wife Marie and their children in Mankato, Minnesota, where he teaches American history, history of science, and bioethics at Bethany Lutheran College. For more information, visit www.ryancmacpherson.com.


It’s Time to Make Marriage Great Again By Redefining Divorce

by Jennifer Roback Morse

This article was first published July 23, 2016, at The Blaze.

Earlier this week, the Ruth Institute sent a letter of commendation and 24 white roses to Charles Chaput, the Archbishop of Philadelphia.

Our letter thanked him for “his clear teaching on marriage, family and human sexuality in the Pastoral Guidelines for Implementing Amoris Laetitia in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.”

With all the excitement of the political conventions, why would we spend our time sending flowers to an archbishop? We want to shine the spotlight on the positive things people are doing to build up society.


 

The archbishop’s guidelines restate the Ancient Teachings of Christianity regarding marriage, family and human sexuality. These teachings are obscured today. No less a theological heavy weight than the mayor of Philadelphia castigated the archbishop, saying the Guidelines were un-Christian!

To be fair to Mayor Jim Kenny, we have to admit that the publication of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, has caused worldwide confusion over Catholic teaching on marriage. Yelling at the pope has become a new cottage industry among tradition-minded Catholic writers. Pulling his words into a sexually indulgent direction has become a cottage industry among progressives of all faiths. And trying to parse out what he really meant has been a full employment guarantee for everyone.

Rather than getting involved in all that, we want to call attention to people who are implementing the unbroken teaching of the Church in a vibrant manner. Focus on what we know to be true and good. Archbishop Chaput’s Guidelines provide a clear and practical statement of ancient Catholic teaching, in the spirit of genuine mercy, incorporating language from Amoris Laetitia.

I believe that these teachings are correct, good and humane. I founded the Ruth Institute for the purpose of promoting those teachings to the widest audience possible. I don’t believe these things because I am a Catholic. On the contrary. It is precisely because I came to believe in these teachings that I returned to the practice of the Catholic faith after a 12-year lapse.

Let me discuss just one issue that has caused a lot of hand-wringing in the past 2 years. Jesus told us very clearly that remarriage after divorce is not possible. If attempted, it amounts to adultery. Why? According to Jesus, Moses only permitted a man to issue a bill of divorce because of “the hardness of your hearts.” (This is the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 19, in case you were wondering.)

At that point, he could have said, “So, I’m going to eliminate this appalling male privilege and allow women to divorce their husbands, exactly like Moses allowed men to divorce their wives.” However, he did no such thing. He didn’t extend the male privilege. He eliminated it entirely. “From the beginning it was not so,” referring back to God’s original plan for creation. “I tell you, anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” One of the “hard sayings” of Jesus, no doubt. But pretty darn clear.

(And please: don’t trouble me with that so-called loophole, ok? The real innovation in modern no-fault divorce law is that it allows an adulterer to get a divorce against the wishes of the innocent party. No sane person can argue that Jesus provided that “loophole” to allow the guilty party to validly remarry.)

The Church teaches that civilly divorced and remarried Catholics cannot receive communion because she is trying to implement this teaching of Jesus. A civilly divorced and remarried person is living with, and presumably having sex with someone, while still validly married to someone else. If the first marriage is still valid, the second attempted marriage is not valid, and is in fact, adulterous. What is so hard to understand about that?

You know who really understands this concept, who intuitively “gets it?” Children of divorce. Kids look into their parents’ bedroom and see someone who doesn’t belong there. “Who is this guy in bed with my mom: my dad is supposed to be there.” Or, “who is this woman in bed with my dad? My mom is supposed to be there.”

At the Ruth Institute, we know there are situations in which married couples must separate for the safety of the family. But we also know that those cases are by far not the majority of cases. No-fault divorce says a person can get divorced for any reason or no reason, and the government will take sides with the party who wants the marriage the least. The government will permit that person to remarry, against the wishes of their spouse and children.

This is an obvious injustice that no one in our society will talk about. The children of divorce are socially invisible. In fact, I bet some of them felt like crying when they read my paragraph above quoting with approval, what might have gone through their little minds. Many of them have never heard an adult affirm their feelings that something dreadfully wrong and unjust took place in their families.

Jesus knew. Jesus was trying to keep us from hurting ourselves and each other. And the Catholic Church has been trying to implement Jesus’ teaching. You may say the Church has been imperfect in her attempts and I won’t argue with you. But I will say that no one else is even seriously trying.

Political campaigns come and go. Political parties come and go. In fact, nations themselves come and go. But the teachings of Jesus are forever. What we do about marriage and children and love reveals what and whom we truly love.

That is why we congratulate Archbishop Charles Chaput for his guidelines. We wish the Archdiocese all the very best. Make Marriage Great Again.


Through Family Breakdown to Healing and Hope

(July 7, 2016) Dr J was invited to speak to the Kiwanis Club in Lake Charles on the sexual revolution's effects on family breakdown and what we can do to make things better.

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Making the Case for Marriage: Acton 2016

(June 16, 2016) It's that time of year again--Dr J is at Acton University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She's been with the conference since the beginning, and yesterday she gave one of the foundational lectures designed to orient religious leaders in basic economic concepts. This lecture is on "Making the Case for Marriage." Check out our Ruth Refuge for the Q&A session afterward, too.

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What the Hook-Up Culture does to Women

 

(June 15, 2016) Dr J is once again Drew Mariani's guest on his show on the Relevant Radio network. They're discussing the effects of the sexual revolution on women.

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Making Marriage Matter, Part 2

(June 9, 2016) Dr J fields questions after addressing law students participating in the Alliance Defending Freedom's Blackstone Legal Fellowship. If you missed her talks on the family as the foundation of society and the agenda of the modern sexual revolution, check out our podcast stream.

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The Case for Marriage (SWBTS), Part 2

(May 24, 2016) Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, one of the largest Southern Baptist seminaries in the world, hosted Dr. J at their annual Summer Institute, sponsored by the Land Center. This is the second part of her address to pastors and seminary professors on making the case for marriage; if you missed the first part, check out the previous podcast.

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The Case for Marriage (SWBTS), Part 1

(May 24, 2016) Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, one of the largest Southern Baptist seminaries in the world, hosted Dr. J at their annual Summer Institute, sponsored by the Land Center. She addressed pastors and seminary professors on making the case for marriage.

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Marriage Alliance: Public Policies and Personal Strategies

(May 20, 2016) Dr J is in Australia! She was invited to speak at a Marriage Alliance event in Sydney. Her talk is on public policies and personal strategies for sparking discussion and change on the marriage issue. She took questions afterward, too--those are available on the Ruth Refuge podcast.

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Long and Winding Road out of the gay lifestyle: a story of forgiveness

The headline over at LifeSiteNews says this is a story out of the gay lifestyle. And so it it. But it is first and foremost an inspiring story of forgiveness and repentance. Any Survivor of the Sexual Revolution, any person seeking peace, can benefit from this article. 

A sample: 

 

I embarked upon an incredible journey of forgiveness, having many people from my past, and especially men, that I needed to forgive. The therapy and prayer sessions I now regularly engaged in never focused solely on my being sexually attracted to men, but I was encouraged to look every aspect of my present and past in the eye. This included the painful process of accepting that I had been consistently sexually abused by a number of men as a child over a three-year period.

Much of my spiritual journey became concerned with recognizing where, during my infancy and childhood, my little soul had chosen to build walls within myself against significant others in my life, especially against my parents, siblings and other prominent people from my past.

He faced the wrong that was done to him (child sexual abuse) and at the same time took responsibility for the ways he had built walls around himself. Eventually, he became able to forgive those who had wronged him. 

Survivors of all sorts: please study this! 


 


Man, 18, Conceived at Concert, Seeks Biological Father via Facebook

(March 11, 2016) Dr J is once again Teresa Tomeo's guest on Catholic Connection, where they're discussing a teen's efforts to find his unknown father using Facebook and the few details he has on his conception at a rock concert 18 years ago.

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Restoring Marriage Today

(March 4, 2016) Dr J is one of the speakers at this year's Catholic Answers Conference: "Restoring Marriage Today." Her talk was entitled "Keeping the Family Together: Public Policies and Personal Strategies."

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The Catholic Conversation: Fallout from the Sexual Revolution

(November 17, 2015) Dr J is interviewed by Steve and Becky Green on The Catholic Conversation out of Phoenix, Arizona. They're discussing the fallout of the sexual revolution with regard to freedom and the family broadly and children specifically.

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World Congress of Families speakers lament sexual revolution, family breakdown

By PEGGY FLETCHER STACK

This article was first Published at The Salt Lake Tribune on October 29, 2015, and last updated October 31, 2015. 

On the third day of the World Congress of Families meeting in Salt Lake City, stirring speeches about assaults on the family from the government and media, costs of the sexual revolution, and the urgent need to protect religious freedom rang through the Grand America ballroom.

The family was "ordained of God," the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez said in a plenary session of the international gathering Thursday morning. "In essence, it is the heart of God by which we experience the fullness of God's glory."

The idea of the family "does not stem from a political ideology," said Rodriguez, who ministers to a multiethnic evangelical congregation in Sacramento, Calif., "and I don't believe the U.S. Supreme Court has the power and authority to redefine it."

Close, loving families led by a mother and father provide, he said, the "antidote to poverty, gang violence and economic disparities. ... It is a God-ordained firewall against so many ills."

An attack on the institution, Rodriguez said, "is an attack on communities that need it most."

Jennifer Roback Morse added her voice to the chorus of worried Christians, sounding the alarm about the aftermath — and victims — of the so-called "sexual revolution."


Morse — who was named one of the "Catholic Stars of 2013" along with Pope Francis, Pope Benedict XVI and others — was so troubled by what she sees as the decline of marriage that she launched the nonprofit Ruth Institute in 2008 to raise awareness about the costs.

The list of those victimized by the family breakdown includes children of divorce, children of unwed mothers, women who have been abandoned and children of same-sex couples, she said. "Men, women and children have been harmed ... by the lies [about marriage]."

Society's view of sexuality "is a totalitarian ideology," the Catholic scholar said. "Even [its] most ardent opponents don't know how insidious the revolution is."

Morse then challenged the gathering to speak against sexual freedom and its consequences.

"We are up against powerful people in our world," she said, "but Bill Gates and George Soros do not have enough money to silence all of us."

The Rev. Paige Patterson, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and current president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, tackled the topic of religious freedom.

It began, he said, when God created the first couple — Adam and Eve.

"God could have created automatons," the Baptist preacher said, "but our progenitors were created with the freedom to reject God or honor him."

The Constitution's First Amendment outlaws any government-established religion and forbids limits to the "free exercise of religion" — unless the state has a compelling interest to do so.

"Those concerned about the future of the family can no longer lend support to any candidate who doesn't vigorously support the First Amendment or is seeking to impose restrictions on religious freedoms," he said. "All such [office seekers] must be resisted."

Without religious freedom, Patterson said, "all other freedoms become relatively meaningless."

The Utah gathering wraps up Friday. The 10th World Congress of Families is tentatively scheduled for May 16-18, 2016, in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.

 



Assessing Damage and Restoring Family Values

(October 29, 2015) Dr J is in Salt Lake City! She traveled there to be part of the 9th annual World Congress of Families. She's speaking at their plenary panel "Assessing Damage and Restoring Family Values" on all of the different types of people who have been harmed by the sexual revolution.

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Laity Should Act When Clergy Won’t

by Jennifer Roback Morse

This article was first posted October 22, 2015, at crisismagazine.com.

Sturt Krygsman divorce

Let’s face it: The 2015 Synod on the Family is a mess. I was one who gave Pope Francis the benefit of the doubt. I now have my doubts about him. And I have no doubt at all that some of the men surrounding him are either heretics or lunatics or both.

The real question for us as lay people is this: what exactly can we do about it? We do not have full information about what is going on over there. Giving advice to cardinals and bishops is not likely to work. Screaming at them even less so.


As faithful lay people, we believe all that the Church has taught about marriage, family, and human sexuality. We do not want to see the Church water down that teaching, or surrender to the Sexual Revolution. It would be tragic indeed, if she did so now, right at the moment when the wisdom and beauty of her ancient teaching is becoming daily more evident from experience.

So what are we, as faithful lay people, to do about this? What has the best chance of cutting through the noise and having an impact?

To answer this question, let’s back up a minute. The Sexual Revolution has harmed millions of people. Just to take one of the issues most immediately before the Synod: divorce and unmarried parenthood.

  • About 1 million children per year have experienced their parents’ divorce, every year since 1972.
  • Over a million children have been born to unmarried parents, every year since 1988. In 2008 alone, 1.7 million children were born to unmarried parents.
  • By 2010, about 20 million children were living in single-parent households.
  • These are just the children in the United States. Many other developed countries have similar rates of family brokenness.

We now know that kids are not “resilient.” They do not “get over it.” We know this from decades of careful research. We know if from experience. In fact, according to Judith Wallerstein, author of a 25-year study on the long-term legacy of divorce, the impact of divorce on children does not diminish with time. It “crescendos” in young adulthood, as they try to form relationships and marriages and families of their own.

Kids need their own parents. I learned from my experience as an adoptive mom, a foster mom, and a birth mom, all kids want the same thing. They want their parents to be there for them, and be appropriate parents. No matter how old the kids are, no matter what their parents have done, all kids of all ages, long for their parents to get it together and be good parents.

The Sexual Revolution has taught us that adults are entitled to have the sex lives they want, with a minimum of inconvenience. What we never hear anyone come out and say is: “And kids have to accept whatever the adults chose to give them.” You don’t usually hear people blurt out that last part, because we would be too ashamed of ourselves.

The Sexual Revolution promised fun and freedom. It delivered hurt and heartbreak. With the possible exception of a handful of predatory Alpha Males, everyone in society has been harmed: men, women and children, rich and poor alike.

I will let you in on a secret: the reason kids keep getting separated from their parents is because the victims, the kids, are not allowed to speak for themselves. As children, their parents expected them to accept whatever was going on around them, without complaining. And children, eager to please their parents, fearful of losing the parents’ love, kept quiet. Even as adults, the children of divorce and the children of unmarried parents, are expected to keep quiet, and go along with the program.

Silencing the victims has been crucial to the success of the Sexual Revolution. If you doubt me, consider these facts:

  • The state of California just passed legislation requiring pregnancy care centers to announce that they do not do abortions, and to post signs telling women where they can get abortions. Why? The Revolutionaries cannot stand the thought of women seeking alternatives to abortion, or regretting their abortions. Women who do not fit the “narrative” must be silenced.
  • The Huffington Post has a regular feature called “Blended Family Friday.” Their stated purpose is, I’m not making this up, “Our hope is that by telling their stories, we’ll bring you closer to blended family bliss in your own life!” Is there a comparable site for children of all ages who were miserable in stepfamilies? To the best of my knowledge, the Ruth Institute’s Kids Divorce Stories is the only thing remotely like it.
  • How about all the career women, who put off having children for too long? I estimate that there are over 500,000 women with Masters degrees or more education, who have impaired fertility. What does the Sexual Revolution have to offer them? Commercial third party reproduction, a complete separation of sex from love and reproduction, is supposed to make up for all the losses we experience.

The solution is for all the victims of the Sexual Revolution to speak up, and tell the truth about how they were harmed. Telling that truth is the first step away from being a victim, to becoming a survivor. Anyone of us can take that step.

What does this have to do with the chaos over at the Synod? Most of the bishops know perfectly well that the Church’s teachings are good and humane. But they too, have been reluctant to speak out, and to preach this good news. Why? Because they are afraid of us, the laity!

True enough, many faithful people have been trying to support them all along. But look at it this way: if the souls wounded by the Sexual Revolution were visible, we wouldn’t be having this fight at all. All decent people would abandon the Sexual Revolutionary ideology in a heartbeat.

While it is awful that so many people have been harmed by the Sexual Revolution, we are undaunted. We are turning that very horror into an advantage: millions of us can testify about the false promises of the Sexual Revolution.

The elites in media, academia, law, and government cannot silence all of us. If everyone who has been harmed by the Sexual Revolution spoke out about it, we would change the world.

And eventually, even the most reluctant of the Catholic bishops might get the hint that the Church has been right all along, and find the courage to say so.

(Illustration credit: Sturt Krygsman)



The Vatican’s Synod on the Family

(October 14, 2015) Dr J is once again Todd Wilkin's guest on Issues, Etc. They're discussing the Catholic church's worldwide Synod on the Family and the educational conference immediately beforehand in which Dr J participated.

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Dr J at the Angelicum

(October 12, 2015) Dr J is in Rome! She traveled there to be part of the Courage Conference at the Angelicum. Courage put on the conference in anticipation of the upcoming Synod on the Family. She's speaking on the injustice of alternative family structures to the children growing up in them.

She takes questions afterward, too--those will be available on the Ruth Refuge.

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Teaser: October Synod on the Family

(September 30, 2015) Dr J is once again Molly Smith's guest on From the Median to discuss her upcoming trip to the Vatican for the October Synod on the Family.

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Single Mothers by Choice

Are any of you single mothers, raised by a single mother, or have friends or family members who are single mothers?

Are any of you Donor Conceived?

Many Danish women have given up on finding the right man and are opting to raise children on their own through donor conception.

What do you think of that? Good idea or bad idea?

Can you relate to their difficulties in finding the right man?

Do you think they should be patient and just keep looking, or not fight the biological clock?

This article appeared in Mercatornet.com on September 18, 2015.

Image from The Huffington Post

I just read an article in The Guardian about how more Danish women are opting to become single mothers via sperm donation, and now I feel a little sad. Because while I think the author wanted to make it sound like an upbeat, promising and independent-women trend, too many lines give away the fact that it is actually not a good time, so to speak.


But first some background: since 2007 in Denmark, from when single women have been offered free fertility treatment, there has been a huge increase in single mothers by choice (known as “solomor”). Now, one in 10 babies conceived with donor sperm is born to a single mother, which says a lot in a country which has the highest number of births by assisted fertility treatment in the world. And it seems that the trend is so present that the stigma is supposedly starting to shift.

Now usually I’d have to voice my opinion in my own words, but this article just gives away all the sad stuff. Here are some excerpts and my thoughts:

It’s a last resort decision

The majority say that becoming a solomor was Plan B,” says Lone Schmidt, associate professor at the University of Copenhagen Department of Public Health: “Two thirds had been in a relationship and wanted to become pregnant but their partners weren’t ready… In other words, women are waiting it out, and when it becomes clear that there isn’t going to be a man in the picture, they’re taking action themselves.

No one dreams of being a solo parent. As one interviewee in the article admitted, after her partner at the time didn’t want children, she thought about adoption (too long and expensive), having a baby with a friend (too complicated) and one-night stands (that would be stealing sperm) before deciding on donor conception. And why is it a last resort? I think it’s because we all intrinsically know that the most ideal, and least complex, situation for a child to come into the world is in the natural way - with a mother and father who love each other.

Who needs men anyway?

Everyone I talked to was really supportive, apart from my dad who found the idea weird at first – as though it was negating the role of ‘fatherhood’.

My dad was funny about me using a donor at first – he’s from an older generation and I think it made him feel a bit redundant, as a man.

I find it interesting that more than one interviewee’s father had a problem with the whole solomor situation. Because to be honest, anything that makes a whole gender redundant seems unnatural, doesn’t it? However, the dads in question make a very valid point. Yes, there are irreversible situations where a father is no longer present, but overall a world without present fathers would not be a good one. There are so many studies that show the importance of a father in their child’s life, and I hope anything else is never in style.

On the flip-side, the solomor trend commodifies men. In a subtle but sure way, it reduces them to their sperm.

The child’s needs come last

“I’d still love to meet someone and give my little girl a dad. For me, a father is so much more than a blob of sperm. A father is someone who makes the lunch boxes, says, ‘Good morning,’ and kisses good night. He’s the one who is always there for the child during its upbringing. I just haven’t met him yet.”

“Of course, the children of solomor may face other issues – like not knowing the identity of their donors. But Golombok’s research suggests that this needn’t be a problem if they’re told about how they were conceived early enough.”

Right, because learning about your conception nice and early will void all need of a father and replace the paternal role. And having a new dad will make you stop wondering about your biological father. Unfortunately, I don’t think so.

Yes, the solomor concept does present a better situation financially than a single mother who is not so by choice, and I think the women feel that they’re doing the right thing. But still, I find it somewhat selfish. A defenseless child’s needs should come first, whereas this sounds like it’s all about what’s convenient for the mothers in question.

Difficulties of assisted fertility

One thing that wasn’t mentioned is the difficulty and trials of fertility treatment. The article makes it sound so easy breezy to get pregnant this way, but from what I know, it’s invasive and can often take multiple attempts. And I’d assume there’d be quite a lot of stress and anxiety throughout the process.

We can see the consequences of other unhealthy trends

My child won’t have a father,” says Christensen, “but lots of people grow up without a dad - my parents divorced when I was five. You never know how life will turn out.

I’d always dreamed of having three or four kids but the man I was in a relationship with in my 30s wasn’t ready. I met other men who mostly seemed to be interested in their careers – or their PlayStations – so I began to lose faith. I wasn’t anti men: I adore men! I just couldn’t find one who wanted kids. I saw lots of friends choose to become pregnant with boyfriends they knew wouldn’t last – purely because the desire to have a child took over. I also saw ‘traditional’ families breaking up all around me, so I thought, ‘Maybe I should just make this happen on my own.’

These quotes, clear as day, show how other unhealthy trends have led to this. The first is divorce: it’s so common that people don’t realise the importance of two present parents; and everyone seems to assume it’ll happen anyway. What a sad way to be living! And the other trend: “man boys,” or men that don’t seem to ever grow up. Because as we now see, women are getting sick of waiting and are taking matters into their own hands, with potentially negative consequences.

 



The Impact of Re-Defining Marrriage on Children and Society

(March 7, 2015) This is Dr. Morse's talk from the 2015 "Bringing America Back to Life" convention in Cleveland, Ohio. It's entitled "The Impact of Redefining Marriage on Children and Society." Special thanks to Molly Smith and From the Median for this audio.

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How Does Divorce and Family Breakdown Affect Our Children?

(September 30, 2015) Jennifer Johnson is Molly Smith's guest on "From the Median" to discuss how divorce and family breakdown affect our children.

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Single Mothers by Choice

Ruth Refuge members, are any of you single mothers, raised by a single mother, or have friends or family members who are single mothers?

Are any of you Donor Conceived?

Many Danish women have given up on finding the right man and are opting to raise children on their own through donor conception.

What do you think of that? Good idea or bad idea?

Can you relate to their difficulties in finding the right man?

Do you think they should be patient and just keep looking, or not fight the biological clock?

Give us your thoughts.

You can read more on this situation in an article here.


Summit Ministries: Contracts vs. Kinship

(July 14, 2015) Dr J was invited to speak at Summit Ministries' conference in Dayton, Tennessee, to a group of high school students. Here she's giving a talk on the difference between kinship and contracts. Incidentally, this is her first talk after the Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges mandating genderless marriage in all 50 states. This is the second part of her talk--if you missed the first one, check out the previous podcast--and she also took questions, which are available for download over at the Ruth Refuge.

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I had Masha Gessen’s dream of five parents… and it sucked

By Originally posted June 25, 2014 by Jennifer Johnson.

Around March of 2013 I came across the words of a prominent LGBT activist named Masha Gessen:

I have three kids who have five parents, more or less, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t have five parents legally… I would like to live in a legal system that is capable of reflecting that reality, and I don’t think that’s compatible with the institution of marriage.

Imagine having five parents! Here’s what it means: it means going back and forth between all those households on a regular basis, never having a single place to call home during your most tender and vulnerable years. It means having divided Christmases, other holidays, and birthdays–you spend one with one parent, and another with the other parent, never spending a single holiday or birthday with both parents. Imagine having each of your parents completely ignore the other half of you, the other half of your family, as if it did not even exist. Meanwhile, imagine each parent pouring their energy into their new families and creating a unified home for their new children. These experiences give you the definite impression of being something leftover, something not quite part of them. You live like that on a daily basis for 18+ years.


As a child, would you choose a family structure advocated by Masha Gessen? Does this look fun?

I don’t have to imagine, because I had five parents. I had five parents because my mom and dad divorced when I was about three; my mom remarried once and my dad remarried twice. So I had a mom and two step-moms, and a dad and one step-dad. In this day and age children can already have five parents. That’s how badly marriage has deteriorated already. The main difference between what Gessen advocates and my experience is that my step parents were not legal parents; she advocates for all of the adults in her situation to be legal parents.

Having more than two legal parents will be a nightmare for a child. Of course, I am making the reasonable assumption that the legal parents will not be living under the same roof, because there is no longer any societal accountability for adults to create a unified home for children. Thus, adding additional legal parents will create more disruption for children’s daily lives, more chaos, more confusion, less unity. And why are we doing this? So that adults can have the sexual partners they want.

Masha Gessen had a mom and a dad, so it appears that she benefitted from the socially conservative family structure--it appears she was not raised under the family structure she advocates. That sounds about right. I’ve talked to many people who think deconstructing the family in favor of adult sexual choice is a good thing… and these very same people lived under the socially conservative family structure with their one mom who spent her life with their one dad, and they all lived together in their unified home. Since I lived under the family structure they advocate, I will sometimes ask them: would you trade childhoods with me? They either say no or they don’t reply.

If what I had is so great, then why don’t they want it as children? Here’s my conclusion: they want it as adults but not as children. They want the benefits of the socially conservative family structure when they are children. But as adults, they want sexual freedom, or at least they want to appear “open minded” and “tolerant” about others sexual choices, even at the expense of children, even though they themselves would never want to live under what they advocate. It’s a bizarre sort of a “win-win” for them, I guess.

It’s very painful for me to have conversations with these people. They don’t understand what they advocate, and they don’t seem to want to understand.


Acton 2015: The Family and the State

(June 19, 2015) Dr J traveled to Grand Rapids, MI to speak at Acton University on several topics related to the market, the state, and the family. This is her third talk, "The Family and the State." Her first and second talks are up in our podcast stream--check them out if you missed them! There's also a podcast of the Q&A session afterward over in the Ruth Refuge.

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Dear Heterosexual Community: Your Kids Are Hurting, Part 2

by Jennifer Johnson, Associate Director

How savvy are you about step-families? Do you understand the structural similarity between step-families and same-sex marriage? Take the Step-Family Quiz to test your knowledge.I created this quiz as an engaging way to help defenders of marriage understand the cultural blind-spot that we have about step-families. Of course anybody is welcome to take it. But it is geared towards those who believe that marriage is only between a man and a woman. By the end it should become apparent why I have focused on marriage defenders. There are five questions and their answers, plus a bonus question at the end.

1. Which group was the first to claim there is “no difference” between the intact family founded on natural marriage and other family structures?

  • a. Heterosexuals
  • b. Homosexuals

2. When was that claim first made, and what form did it take?


3. You may recognize the following photo as being from a famous TV show:

brady bunch

If you do, set that aside for a moment and pretend you are a casual observer. You notice this family at church, at a restaurant, or at a sporting event. Can you tell if this was an intact family, or a step-family? Name the visual clues that helped you make that determination.

4. One of these families is an intact family. The other is a step-family. Which is which? Name the visual clues that helped you make that determination.

step family

Bush Family

5. One of these families is an intact family. The other is a step-family. Which is which? Name the visual clues that helped you make that determination.

blended family huffpo-b

My Family c 1969

Here are the answers:

1. Heterosexuals.

2. Early 1970s with the TV show, “The Brady Bunch.”

3. It is a step-family. There are no visual clues to help the casual observer discern that this is a step-family.

4. In the first photo, we see two men as the parents. Since two men cannot procreate together, that is the visual clue that this is a step-family. The taller man is the natural/legal father of both children. I believe the girl was adopted during his marriage to the boy’s mother. The other family is an intact family.

5. We see a man and a woman in each photo. Since men and women can procreate together, it is harder for a casual observer to discern which is which. The first is the step-family. The second is the intact family. (Yours truly is the child in the second photo–that’s my first family.) In the first photo, all of the children are the woman’s from a prior marriage.

Bonus Question:

6. From the child’s point of view, what is the structural difference between the two step families shown in questions 4 and 5? Most marriage defenders argue against the former quite vehemently and are largely silent about the latter. But from the point of view of the child, how different are they? Here are the photos again:

step family

blended family huffpo-b

Answer: from the child’s point of view, they are not as different as might be imagined. Consider these similarities:

  • In both cases, we see three “positions” in the family: 1) the natural parent, 2) that parent’s children, 3) a new marriage partner who is not the children’s other natural parent.
  • In both cases, the children do not have a single full-time home, but the adults do.
  • In both cases, the child’s other natural parent has been “photoshopped” out of that half of the child’s life and somebody new was “photoshopped” in.
  • In both cases, the children have two male figures (the bio father and the step-father), neither of whom are full-time fathers for the children.
  • Reverse the idea: If the first photo showed a lesbian marriage, and if the second photo showed a man with his kids and his new wife, then in both cases the children have two female figures (the bio mother and the step-mother), neither of whom are full time mothers for the children.

Might these similarities explain why the younger generation favors same-sex marriage? Perhaps their experiences (or the experiences of their friends) do not match our rhetoric. By not embracing arguments that defend the rights and legitimate entitlements of children, are we missing an opportunity to reach the younger generation? Given that 1,000,000 kids annually experience their parent's divorce, I think so.

How did you do? Thanks for taking the quiz!

=========================================================

Upcoming installments:

I may continue to address the cultural blind spot we have in regards to step-families. Have not decided. If I do, then this will be the next installment.

Either way, after that we will examine the actual structure of step-families, with diagrams. This will make it clear that they are not remotely same as intact families.

After that, we will explore how the widespread acceptance of the step-family structure has weakened our ideas of “mother and father,” how it has weakened the idea of “two” parents for children, and the way these dovetail with the structural changes required to embrace same-sex couples into the institution of marriage.

=========================================================

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Just terrible

by Mia

So when I was four months old, my mom go diagnosed with CML. My dad kept on going to New York for work. When he was working on a movie he had sex with the girl who is 18 years younger than him. My mom found out when the baby was born.

My moms CML disappeared and the they went to court and I was 2 1/2 when I started going back and fourth. When I would go there, it was torture. I had to sleep in a very small bed. I had to share my bed with the baby.

After they were in court for two years, my moms CML came back. My mom could have died. Then my mom had to sell the house that we were living in. And we had to live in my grandmas house for six months. It was terrible. But I had to still go back and fourth. And the baby's name is Jack and Jack would have major tantrums he would bang his head against the ground and I would be in the kitchen corner crying. And they would yell, I hate it when people yell like that. Then me and my mom moved into a different house, it is huge and amazing.

My mom takes drugs for CML to stay away. My mom is healthy. But since we moved, I now live 2 hours away from my dads house. And then a year later, he got another child, named Ava. Everything changed after that. I knew something was up. At one point I slept on the couch and I also slept in a little teepee in the living room in a tiny house. Are you kidding me? And then I got and real normal bed when I was 8. And my mom is the best ever. And now I am almost 13, Jack is 10, Ava is almost 6. My relationship with my dad is not so good. I still see my dad every other weekend.

I got my helix piercing because he was in Morocco for work. I have been stealing stuff from him. And he just recently lost his watch, and I never stole it. Me and my mom are religious and I would text him and pray for him to find his watch, I would text him that I was doing that. And then he asks me privately if I stole it, I said, "No, l did not steal it. You can put a lie detector test on me."

I have been going to a therapist with my dad. I have only seen her a few times. Now, I don't see her anymore. Rachel, my step mom, is a hoar. She was also married to someone else while my dad was having sex with my dad. That is gross. And the last I went there I brought a notebook with me to write what happened when I was over there.

All of us watched Family Guy. They are insane for making us watch that. And my dad kept on staring at me. I would roll my eyes and try to show him that this is not fun, I am angry, I am pissed off right now. So then he would get mad. And then we decided to play Charades. After a few rounds, Jack and Ava were sort of fighting with each other. And Jack got sent into his room and Ava had to be carried into her bedroom and Rachel had to keep the door closed physically. I decided to go into my bedroom and I cried. I could hear yelling. Again, I hate it when people yell. It is so annoying.

The next day, Ava wakes me up and I am very angry, mad, and I had mixed emotions. Then Rachel took the kids away. I am happy about that. Then me and my dad saw Catching Fire. It was a great movie. Then we went home and an hour later I think, they come back. And I have to play with Ava. And I hate it when I have to and then my dad says this to me, "Be a better actor about it." At that moment, I wanted to kill him. Glad I had nothing in my hand because I would of used it. The the night was normal and then the next day he asked me if I stole his watch. I was so angry and I so wanted to murder him at that point. He has Peter Pan syndrome. And if you don't know what that is, look it up. And my bedroom looks like a cube. It is so tiny. Compared to my bedroom, it is huge. Pans I have my own bedroom. So that is my story.


"Pre-Marital Sex in America: The Social Science Evidence on Why Hooking Up Doesn't Make People Happy" ~ Dr. Mark Regnerus @ ITAF '13

(May 31, 2013) Welcome to ITAF, Ruth Institute's annual student conference! We're in the midst of podcasting the lectures from the event. Up next is Dr. Mark Regnerus's talk, "Pre-Marital Sex in America: The Social Science Evidence on Why Hooking Up Doesn't Make People Happy." Q&A session is available on our Ruth Refuge.

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What should I call this man?

by JVW (NC)

I distinctly remember when I was 5, trying to figure out what to call the man my mom had married. I knew my dad was supposed to be called dad, but this man was around me every day, always here, and my dad was only around from 12:30-5 every Sunday with a weekend visit once a month. It was very confusing. So, awkwardly I determined to call him "Daddy G*****", using his first name and differentiating between the two by always calling them daddy (first name inserted).

Holidays were [[[Horrible]]]]. Imagine getting to be at a party during the set up phase, and always leaving before it began, and having to open Christmas presents at 3:00 pm Christmas Eve because visitation ended at 5:30...only to be dropped off in the insanity of getting ready to go to the step-relatives house, who all think you don't really need any presents because they assume your "real" family has taken care of that, and hearing the hushed whispers from the older step relatives of how you're "so & so's girl, from the previous marriage". Step families rarely succeed at taking in the children and making them feel as if they are loved.

I never spent a Thanksgiving at my moms house. Thanksgiving was always at my dads' familys house. I only vacationed with my mom one time that I could remember; both of my "dad's" worked at plants, where they got July 4th week off. That was my assigned visitation week with my real father. So the family I lived with-my mother, her husband, my half sister and half brother, always went somewhere and I would go with my dad. It's just plain confusing.

Don't get me wrong; I appreciate that I don't have a dead beat dad. He did right by me, in that he always came on Sundays at 12:30.

He also took me to different women's houses that we would spend the night at. I would sleep in other little girls' beds, that I had just met.

And when my mom divorced my step dad--the man that I had grown to love as dearly as my father....and she married another man years later.... Well, lets just say I called him by his first name, and barely got to know him.

I have a hard time trusting people. Or believing people. I'm not really close to any of my relatives, and don't feel a strong compelling urge anymore to "be there" during supposed family crises. I used to try, but it was emotionally suicidal. It was killing me.

It has taken years for me to fully understand the impact. The complete disillusionment during childhood. The lack of belief that I was worth anything. I felt discarded. Abandoned. Lost. Orphaned. Alone. Scared. Hopeless. I had no direction. This is just a quick summary of thoughts.

The road has been hard. My husband and I have fought and struggled for our own marriage for almost 20 years, but I know we're going to make it. My own kids know it too now. It's taken the incredible grace of God to bring us to this, but it is working. God takes broken things and still uses them. Isaiah 42:3


We are adding to our library of resources all the time. If you know of an organization that provides assistance to a Child of Unmarried Parents please share that information with us. Click here to submit a link. Or submit an article, podcast or video with helpful information for a Child of Unmarried Parents.