It’s not talked about (wouldn’t be politically correct), though it is clearly the most important factor, predictor, of most social ills. The decline in marriage is well depicted in these graphs (including the apathetic attitudes of Americans regarding the relevance of marriage for society). If you wonder, what’s the big deal. Someone recently asked me, what’s the big deal? My answers:
Marriage is the single most important and basic institution in human society. As it goes, so goes the society. It is a “usual suspect” as a variable in nearly all personal, social, and economic outcomes. For instance, survey a prison, failing school, impoverished community, the unemployed, and you will find a common trend: low marital rates. When men and women don’t marry, things usually go bad (for them and society). It has a taming and tempering effect on men and a protecting securing effect on women, to say nothing of the benefits to children (which are overwhelmingly positive). You ask what the ‘natural state’ is of humankind. Ironically, from either a religious or social evolutionary perspective, as far as a well functioning ordered stable society goes, marriage is paramount.
If you think about it long enough, you’ll see for yourself. Suppose men suddenly refused marriage, chose singleness, over the course of a year. What do you think the result would be? Do you think society would be collectively more mature, responsible, or more violent and idle? And what about children? What would they be like when fatherhood is extinct? And what of women? Would they be safer, more secure, stable, happy? What would our prisons look like? What would our schools look like? What would our economy look like? If the answer isn’t self-evident to you, perhaps you are committed more to an ideological dogma than sociological fact.