Posted by: NotAScientist | August 21, 2008

Children need a mother and a father.

That is one of the constantly used arguments of those against same-sex marriages.

Children need a mother and a father. The best families are nuclear families, with one male parent, one female parent and children.

And you know something? I never thought I would catch myself saying this, but they have a point. But as it happens, it is a point that they didn’t necessarily want to make.

Because you see, it IS best for children to have both a mother and a father…but only if you are deeply concerned with making more mothers and fathers.

Many religions have strongly held gender roles. A man can only do certain things, and a woman can only do certain things. In simplest terms: Mama has to stay at home and take care of the house while Papa goes out and brings home the bacon.

Slowly but surely, society is moving away from those stereotypes. And it scares the crap out of some people! To them, fathers staying home and watching the kids and mothers working is unthinkable. Wives cannot bring home the bacon! And two fathers, or two mothers? Absolutely disgusting!

But let’s look at the worst that will happen. Little girls will learn that they have the option of going out and getting a career or staying home and taking care of a family. Little boys will be taught that their importance in the world is not contingent on the size of their salary compared to that of their partner.

And we can’t let that happen, can we?

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Responses

  1. Could there be a possible connection between this moving away from the old stereotypes and the ever increasing divorce rates? So many people claim that our increasing “tolerance” has had no effect on society. Um, do divorces not count?

    Maybe our ancestors were right after all: children need the unique comfort in upbringing that mothers typically offer their children, and fathers should work and provide for the temporal needs of the family.

  2. You’re seeing things very black and white.

    Are divorces an absolute negative?

    Perhaps people are realizing that they don’t have to be married just to appease society. And yes, that leads to some divorces. But is a loveless, even hate-filled marriage better than a divorce? I don’t think so.

  3. I do think that two parents are able to raise a child better than one. I also think that an extended family is also of value to a child. I don’t think that what any of us have between our legs is relevant to our ability to be a parent or role model to a child.

    It is possible that trying to conform to the stereotype of husband and provider or mother and nurturer might well be a stressful contributer to marriage breakdowns. Some people might make excellent providers but poor comforters, why try to squeeze them into that role just because they have a womb? Should I be barred from teaching my children to cook or read because I am male and these are nurturing roles?

  4. In reference to the divorce rate, one might want to check who’s getting divorced, last I heard, it wasn’t the homosexual couples.

    Nor was it the ones without these stereotypes, it seems to me that people most concerned with divorce being wrong, are the ones getting the most divorces. (Divorce rate is 40-some-odd percent among heterosexual married couples)

    I’ll try to dig up some sources, if it’s so desired.

    That said, I don’t think divorce is a bad thing, what is marriage, really? If you remove the religious connotations, it’s not much more than a promise to a partner to be faithful (sometimes, many people have open marriages these days, in which case this first part is also more or less thrown out), and a legal statement saying that you and your partner are a single, taxable unit. entitled to some tax breaks and a few other privileges.

    Divorce is just the ending of a legal agreement to be treated as a legal unit, society dumps way to much emphasis on how it’s about love and God and all this sillyness. People — I think — would be a hell of a lot happier if they didn’t think that every stray thought of infidelity was an affront to some deity. I mean, human beings are sexual creatures, and when Angelina Jolie strolls on screen, I can’t _help_ having a few (very) naughty thoughts. I don’t think I should feel bad about it.

    Excuse me, now I’ve got Angelina Jolie in my head… :/

  5. “That said, I don’t think divorce is a bad thing, what is marriage, really? If you remove the religious connotations, it’s not much more than a promise to a partner to be faithful (sometimes, many people have open marriages these days, in which case this first part is also more or less thrown out), and a legal statement saying that you and your partner are a single, taxable unit. entitled to some tax breaks and a few other privileges.”

    I think that it is this indifferent attitude toward the covenant of marriage that they divorce is so prevelant. The promise is not binding because no one remains true to their word anymore. Integrity is something we practice only when someone is watching. For most people divorce is a viable option. A “hatefilled” marriage is the result of at least one person who refuses to love sacrificially and live selflessly. Marriage covenant is promising to take on the other persons joy, worries, concerns, problems as your own and remaining true to that promise till death.

    A promise these days isn’t worth the air used to utter it.

  6. Nance, then it’s interesting that the atheist divorce rate is so low, because most atheist don’t take the idea of marriage to be a sacred vow, just a legal agreement, so we let things like Love and Faithfulness to our partner bind us together, rather than promises to silly sky-toddlers.

    Interesting that the people who supposedly “live sacrificially and selflessly” seem to get divorced far more often, seem to make promises not worth the “used to utter [them]”. People who get married have so much unnatural pressure put on them, either through the guilt sloughed upon them by backwards biblical bullshit, or the intense scrutiny of their fellow puritanical nuts. Maybe the reason nonreligious marriages work so well is because we don’t get married just to have sex, like so often occurs, maybe if the stigma was lifted, then there would be less divorce.

    However, it seems you just did a little quote-mine, completely misrepresenting the quote’s intent, ignored the real argument and shoved your own in it’s place. Standard Relidiot Operating Procedure.

  7. “The promise is not binding because no one remains true to their word anymore.”

    I think the promise is not binding because society and individuals encourage people to get married when they really shouldn’t be, just because it’s ‘socially acceptable’.

  8. “I think the promise is not binding because society and individuals encourage people to get married when they really shouldn’t be, just because it’s ’socially acceptable’.”

    Are you implying that 50% of people who marry are just gullible and mindless caught on by a wave of peer pressure? (I use the 50% number to match the divorce rate, but I think it actually dropped recently.)

    Even if that were the case, adults are accountable for their actions and should consider that those choices affect more than two people. Children are selfish little creatures, but they grow and mature. Part of that maturity involves developing a selfless character. Perhaps too many people marry without ever growing up. So I suppose in a way you are right, children are easily influenced by their peers and make rash decisions without considering the consequences.

    One cannot share life with the same human being for 50-70 years without making a few selfless sacrifices along the way.

    I would love to see your source for the atheist divorce rate. And who said anything about making a promise to a sky-toddler? Why is it always the professed atheist who keeps bringing up God? Explain how I took the quote out of context. I quoted a full pragraph.

    Do you think you could carry on a conversation without hurling insults? Attacking your counter’s faith or intellect is ignoring the “real argument” and childish. Communicating in such a way doesn’t support your argument and comprimises the integrity of the discussion.

    Grow up.

  9. “Are you implying that 50% of people who marry are just gullible and mindless caught on by a wave of peer pressure?”

    Did I say that? Is the only way that you can be encouraged and socially pressured to do something because you are gullible and mindless? I don’t think so.

    “Even if that were the case, adults are accountable for their actions and should consider that those choices affect more than two people.”

    No one said they shouldn’t.

    “One cannot share life with the same human being for 50-70 years without making a few selfless sacrifices along the way”

    And some people realize (for good or ill) that they can’t make those selfless sacrifices when they thought they could. And others are called upon to sacrifice everything, which is tacitly unfair and unacceptable if their mate is not doing the same.

    I ask this…is it better to remain in a loveless, unhappy and/or abusive relationship just because you made a promise, or is it better to leave it for the good of both people involved and potentially any children while still breaking a promise? (And not saying that these encompass all scenarios, I’m just asking a particular hypothesis.)

  10. People can make those selfless sacrifices. It’s not your spouse which determines how bad or good your marriage is, it’s you.

    The grass is always greener on the other side. People who are having a “hard time” with their spouse, and think that all their problems will go away by divorcing and marrying another are mistaken. No one is perfect.

  11. “It’s not your spouse which determines how bad or good your marriage is, it’s you. ”

    Please tell that to people who are beaten by their spouses.

    I don’t mean to take the low road, but I did include “abuse” in my earlier post.

  12. “I ask this…is it better to remain in a loveless, unhappy and/or abusive relationship just because you made a promise, or is it better to leave it for the good of both people involved and potentially any children while still breaking a promise? (And not saying that these encompass all scenarios, I’m just asking a particular hypothesis.)”

    As one who has been in a loveless, unhappy and abusive marriage I can say that yes it is better to seek healing within the marriage than to leave. Two wrongs don’t make a right. When both people are humble and repentive that marriage can become passionate and happy once again, stonger than it was in the beginning.

  13. Is your statement an absolute answer, or just your specific one?

  14. This is absolute:
    It is better to seek healing within a failing marriage than to surrender to divorce. “When both people are humble and repentive that marriage can become passionate and happy once again, stonger than it was in the beginning.” I have witnessed this to be true, not just in my own marriage but in many others I have counseled.

  15. As I said to Jesse, please give that absolute rule to people who are beaten by their spouses.

    Once you value a promise, in my opinion, more than yourself or another person, then you’ve lost part of your humanity even if you have kept your promise.

  16. As I said before, “A “hatefilled” marriage is the result of at least one person who refuses to love sacrificially and live selflessly.”

    Divorce is provided because people refuse to love another more than themselves. Is the one who is abused responsible for the other’s behavior? Of course not and I never implied such a lie. You are attempting to blend two arguments into one. Marriage can exist without divorce, but divorce cannot exist without marriage. Just as rust is to a car, evil is to good. Divorce as provided to escape a prevelant evil within a marriage is good. But now you are taking this down to a debate of good, better and best. What is best? A healthy loving marriage. Any deviation from that ideal is “rusted”.

  17. “Divorce is provided because people refuse to love another more than themselves.”

    Says who?

    Divorce is provide because people realize that they may have made a mistake in marrying. Being selfish is certainly one reason, but I doubt it is the primary one.

    “What is best? A healthy loving marriage. Any deviation from that ideal is “rusted”.”

    We fundamentally disagree.

    What is best is to be healthy and loving. If that means in a marriage, great. If it means out of one, that is fine too. Obviously you disagree.

  18. “What is best is to be healthy and loving. If that means in a marriage, great. If it means out of one, that is fine too. Obviously you disagree.”

    I don’t disagree with that statement. I disagree with this one.

    “Divorce is just the ending of a legal agreement to be treated as a legal unit, society dumps way to much emphasis on how it’s about love and God and all this sillyness.”

    We have been involved in several discussions over the last few weeks and I believe you and I agree on more than you may think.

  19. As the product of a relationship that was less than ideal, I can safely say that divorce is great. No, really; divorce is at least as important as marriage. I can’t imagine the latter functioning properly at all without the former. There are some relationships that just aren’t going to work out, no matter what both participents do. In that situation, they absolutely should get divorced. It’s better for them and it’s far, far better for any children they might have.

  20. I love your idea of same-sex marriages showing the options for each gender. I’m all for the full spectrum of experience being available to all individuals. Nice post!

  21. Nance is right Morsecode, no ad hominems, those are for special use by stubborn theists. haha, just kidding. The real problem of the American family is, sad to say, a lack of a real base to move from. But traditonalism is a crumbling idea that is next to worthless as the world slowly emerges into the twentyfirst century. So? It is safe to say that there is a transition of sorts going on, as society as a whole (as well as individuals) decides what are priorities and what aren’t. The “nuclear” family shares a common thread with most artificial elements- radioactivity. they break apart because of a lack of strength that is more or less created over a broad and close-knit extended family. Oh, and i think that biblicality aspect to marriage is a fruitless argument pro and con, because most of america is secularized anyway. What is the athiest marraige rate by the by? do they very much as compeared to the much larger majority? There is a trend now where people much rather stay single, which is in itself a problem of marraige. Maybe that is the main point, people really don’t put a whole lot of thought into who they’re marrying. you could point back to aranged marriages as a counterpoint, but those existed in times and places where strong families were a prominent example of prestige.
    Oh, and gay marriage was introduced as a complete distraction to other much more important problems in this country, as many have pointed out, “mother” and “father” are important, but genetalia aren’t. although, it is funny because i think the gay divorce rate will remain virtually nonexistant because they now have a huge role model position to fill as examples of loving, healthy marriages, regardless of what actually happens inside them. but that issue is decades away..


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