• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • A Marshall Plan for Marriage – Rebuilding Our Shattered Homes

    Marriage in America is in serious trouble. More Americans are cohabitating, fewer are marrying, and if they do wed it is at a much later age than previous generations. Although divorce rates have declined slightly over the past 20 years, pervasive no-fault divorce laws allow marital dissolution to continue plaguing American communities. Four out of 10 children are now born outside of marriage, increasing government dependence by leaving thousands more children without the social and economic stability of married households.

    Given the profound impact of intact, married families on child well-being, efforts to encourage and strengthen marriage are urgently needed. Just as the U.S. formulated a plan to help European countries recover after World War II, national leaders should implement a new Marshall Plan – one that rebuilds American homes and restores a culture of marriage. In a new Heritage paper, Senior Research Fellow Chuck Donovan describes the state of marriage in America and outlines a number of principles national leaders can follow to better encourage and support stable families:

    1. Eliminate marriage penalties from federal programs. Married couples tend to be better off financially than their single or cohabitating counterparts. Policymakers should encourage such beneficial economic decisions by removing financial disincentives to marriage from tax and welfare policies.
    2. Encourage pro-marriage messaging in existing government programs and other resources. Repurposing existing government initiatives and grant programs to promote strong marriages and initiating media campaigns that encourage matrimony can expand public awareness of marriage’s social and economic benefits.
    3. # 3 Implement state-driven divorce reform that encourages reconciliation. The cost of divorce to taxpayers and communities is high. States should reform existing divorce laws to recognize and accommodate the many divorcing couples who are open to counseling and reconciliation efforts.
    4. Study, recognize, and reward success in marriage. Given the significant cost savings to taxpayers when marriages succeed, national leaders should find new ways to acknowledge success in marriage and recognize the power of civic leadership in publicly extolling the many benefits of marriage.

    The nation’s leaders must make a concerted effort to address family dissolution and marital breakdown. As Donovan concludes, “Halting and reversing the sustained trends of nearly four decades will not happen by accident. The nation needs to forge a fresh American consensus that rescuing marriage – a Marshall Plan to rebuild shattered American homes – is a matter of the highest national priority.”

    Read more about the need for a Marshall Plan for Marriage and what national leaders can do to restore a culture of marriage.

    To track policy updates on family and religion, subscribe to the Richard and Helen DeVos Center’s weekly newsletter, Culture Watch.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to A Marshall Plan for Marriage – Rebuilding Our Shattered Homes

    1. Stirling, Pennsylvan says:

      Good points, given that the family unit is the backbone of the country. The problem is todays society (media, movies, higher education) seem to be bent on creating victims and penalizing religious faith (in God). Those that are separated from family and God tend to be more succeptible to propaganda and false truths spewed by the media and ultimately become dependents to the government system rather then independent from it.

    2. Kevin H, college par says:

      I can'ty understand which way you want it. You want the government to get more involved in people lives or you don't? Or is it you just want government to get more involved when it is something you care about.

    3. George Colgrove, VA says:

      #1 – agree with 100%. Elimination of regulations never hurt.

      #2 – OK, but make sure no bureaucracy develops or that costs do not rise as a result of this work. Marriage councelling and promotion is not a federal or state government duty.

      #3 – Considering this falls under states rights, I am OK with states taking a lead on strengthening Marriage. Promotion of these ideas however shall be made by private sector groups such as HF – not the feds.

      #4 – I am all in favor of private organizations performing this work – not feds.

      The underlying feeling I get here is that I feel with all the discussion of eliminating federal agencies and funding that are unconstitutional, the HF seems to be implying using the federal government to manage the state of marriage. I think we must at a national level (within the private sector) have a discussion and encourage marriage. This work must be done, however as far away from DC as possible.

      If we make a federal apparatus to manage the state of marriage, imagine what the leftw will do to it when they take it over. The left wil never make such legislation to begin with, but they certainly will mess with it! So where I do agree is combing through federal regulations (states included) and weed out all matter that relates to marriage alltogether (positive or negative).

      We need to be focusing on getting the financial state of affairs back top stability. We have had 10.5 years of the most self-serving federal workforce cut this nation to peices and we now need to rebuild it. They have 1.5 years left to do more damange. A bad economy is the worst thing for a marriage. I feel if we focus on the econony, and improve it, marriages will automatically become stronger.

      Keep marriage FED FREE!

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.