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An Open Letter to Emerging Adults, Worldwide

January 26th, 2011

Calling all Millennials: “Be part of the marriage solution”

by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

A friend of MercatorNet begins a conversation about love and marriage with the up-and-coming generation.

My dear young friends,

I know from many conversations with you that you want to get married and stay married. I know that many of you have fears about love and marriage, because of your own experiences of loss and pain resulting from their parents’ divorces, infidelities and other problems. I know that for many of you, these fears are overwhelming, even paralyzing.

I founded the Ruth Institute to help young adults get past the fears, anxieties and misinformation, and embrace the challenge of lifelong married love. We hope to begin a conversation with young adults, a conversation across the generations and within the Millennial generation.

What are your hopes and dreams for lifelong married love for yourself? What are your fears and anxieties? What do you want marriage to be for yourself, your spouse and your children? What do you think it takes to get married and stay married? What keeps love alive for a lifetime?

My generation, the Baby Boomer generation, has made marriage what it is today. Not that it was entirely our fault. We didn’t invent the contraceptive pill. We didn’t create no-fault divorce. We didn’t bring Roe v Wade to the Supreme Court. We were just the first generation who lived with all these things for most of our adult lives.

We are the generation that institutionalized the sexual revolution. We created a world where 25 per cent of conceptions end in abortion, 40 per cent of children born are to unmarried parents and 50 per cent of first marriages end in divorce.

A very few members of our generation saw from the beginning that these innovations were not progress, but dead ends. Most of us just went with the flow, and built our lives around the availability of contraception, divorce and abortion. We thought it was going to be great fun to separate sex and child-bearing from marriage, to remove permanence and fidelity from marriage.

The results are in: more unhappiness and poverty among children, more loneliness and desperation among adults, greater intrusion by the family courts into the private lives of families, a greater chasm between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” based largely now upon the stability of marriage.

If the marriage culture is going to be restored, you, the next generation of emerging young adults will be the ones to do it. We baby boomers have had our chance. Now it is your turn.

You have told me (and pollsters too) that you want something better for your children. But you’ve also told me in so many words, that you don’t have a clue how to go about it. You’ve got adults all over the place telling you how to discipline yourself in your studies, how to apply for a job, how to behave at work and what to expect in your career. But no one talks to you about how to prepare for marriage. Adults don’t give you realistic advice about how to meet the right person, what habits to cultivate in yourself, what expectations to have, what problems to overlook and what problems are genuine red flags. In fact, a lot of adults don’t even listen when you tell them you want to get married and stay married.

My challenge to you is this: do you, or do you not, want married love to last a lifetime? Would you be willing to commit yourself to lifelong married love?

No more messing around. No more excuses. No more waiting for the government and the politicians to “do something.” It is time to get serious. It’s time to stop complaining about the sad state of marriage and start doing something about it. Are you willing to take the Reel Love Challenge?

“It is my hope and my wish to get married. When I get married, it is my intention to stay married for the rest of my life. I commit myself to doing all I can for the common good of my marriage and my family.”

If you are already married, take this version of the Reel Love Challenge:

“It is my intention to stay married for a lifetime. I commit myself to doing all I can for the common good of my marriage and my family.”

According to a recent report, “By the time they have reached ages 15 to 17, 55 per cent of teens have parents who have rejected each other, either through non-marriage or separation/divorce.” Young adults: this report is about you. The question is: are you going to do something to break this cycle for your own children?

This is the core of the marriage movement: a personal commitment to lifelong married love, a next generation movement cutting across religion and race, country and class. Take the Reel Love Challenge.

Found here.

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  1. Sean
    January 28th, 2011 at 19:04 | #1

    Equal rights for woman, including equal economic opportunities, are the biggest threat to marriage: when women stopped being the property of their husbands, and no longer depend on their husbands to survive in the world, marriage ceases to be a prison for them. That means they have choices, something “Dr. J” evidently rejects.

    Why would contraception and abortion be a threat to marriage? Is this just another Morse diatribe about stuff she personally doesn’t like, and therefore is the source of the world’s evils? Weird.

  2. Clark
    January 30th, 2011 at 07:38 | #2

    I know the Ruth Institute’s purpose is to make marriage cool for younger generations (read: oppose equal rights for gays and lesbians), but I can’t imagine Jenny Morse making anything cool. Also, love how it’s radio silence from all these anti-gay groups on David Kato’s death. Arent NOM and the anti-gay evangelicals who went to Uganda and stirred the homophobia all in bed together?

  3. talky_tina
    February 14th, 2011 at 11:01 | #3

    Marriage discrimination is not “defending marriage.” Stop trying to brainwash the next generation into supporting your Jim Crow-style world of same-sex relationship marginalization. Too many younger people acknowledge and embrace gay relatives and friends.

  4. HappilyMarriedToAMan
    March 9th, 2011 at 11:55 | #4

    There is no marriage discrimination in defending marriage. No matter how many times you yell it, there is no such thing as marriage between two people of the same sex. You can try to legislate something that resembles it between two men or two women, but it’s not marriage.

    But back to the article (which amazingly all of you have failed to even address), why do have a problem with men and women staying married? Is that heresy in your religion? Is providing a stable home for children, being committed to one another and giving each other your best considered a sin in your world? Or do you want to promote the inability of gay and lesbian couple to have long-lasting (20, 30, 40, or more years) relationships to their heterosexual counterparts?

  5. March 14th, 2011 at 16:58 | #5

    For so many people to spew such vehemence, Dr. Morse, you must be doing something right! Keep up the message that traditional marriage is key to children’s development and a strong society.

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