As far as I can tell, the comment received virtually no response from the media, nor was it deemed worthy of a response. After all, what’s the big deal about a political candidate casually mentioning that he’s living with his longtime girlfriend? Don’t some of our favorite TV couples live together out of wedlock? And don’t some of our friends and neighbors and family members live together out of wedlock?
They certainly do.
And that illustrates the point I’m making. We’ve come a long way in the last 50 years, and where we find ourselves today is far from good.
And that was that. No big deal, no eyebrows raised, and no suggestion that this was anything other than normal.
When congressional candidate Jon Ossoff was asked if he lived in the district in which he was running for office, he explained that he had moved out of the district to support his girlfriend while she finished medical school: “I’ve been living with my girlfriend, Alicia, for 12 years now down by Emory University where she’s a full-time medical student,” he said. “As soon as she concludes her medical training, I’ll be 10 minutes back up the street in the district where I grew up.”
At least one TV commentator did ask playfully when they were getting married. After all, 12 years is a long time to live together without marriage. But the fact they live together and that he’s running for political office wasn’t even worthy of a yawn.
Why should it be?
Today we have gay political leaders, bisexual political leaders, and transgender political leaders, not to mention a president who has been married three times.
We also have leaders like Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been going with his girlfriend Sandra Lee since 2005, with plans to marry “some day.” Does anyone imagine that they are not sleeping together?
But once again, that’s the point I’m making.
What is the Meaning of Marriage in Our Culture Today?
It’s not that Ossoff is a terrible filthy sinner because he lives with his girlfriend. After all, it appears that they’ve been in a steady relationship for a dozen years, which means they’ve stayed together a lot longer than many married couples.
It’s just another reflection on the fallen state of our culture. After all, if you can live together for years without being married (and even have kids out of wedlock), and then, once you’re married, divorce for any reason, what’s the meaning of marriage?
For me personally, it was jarring to hear Ossoff’s comments, but not because they were so shocking. It’s because they weren’t shocking at all. That’s what jarred me afresh.
Can you imagine Ronald Reagan running for president (or, governor, for that matter) while living with Nancy rather than being married to her? Or George H. W. Bush living with Barbara? Or Bill Clinton living with Hillary? Or George W. Bush living with Laura? Or Barack Obama living with Michelle? Or even Donald Trump living with Melania?
Even so, how long will it be before an Andrew Cuomo can run for president while not being married to his girlfriend? It surely didn’t stop him from running for governor, and it’s not a big jump from having a longtime girlfriend to living with her.
Again, my point is not to say, “Look at how evil these people are! They are committing the unpardonable sin!”
My point is to say, “Wake up America! Our morals are collapsing before our eyes, and marriage is becoming increasingly meaningless.”
What Happens When We Discount the Sanctity of Marriage
Recent studies confirm what we have known for years: cohabitation is harmful more than helpful.
An April 1 report from the U.K.’s Marriage Foundation announced that, “Cohabiting couples now account for over half of family breakdown despite making up only a fifth of parents.”
A March 21 article noted that, “The level of doubt and mistrust among informal couples is two-and-a-half times the amount of concern about commitment detected among married couples.”
This indicates that something really happens when couples commit to marry, even in our divorce ridden cultures.
Yet it’s not just the couples who are affected. Another March article, summarizing a major, international study, reported that,
According to a recent sociological study, cohabitation has a notably deleterious impact on one particular group: kids. “As marriage becomes less likely to anchor the adult life course across the globe, growing numbers of children may be thrown into increasingly turbulent family waters,” writes Bradford Wilcox in Foreign Affairs.
These are significant findings, and they remind us that there is a large, ripple effect when we tamper with the sanctity of marriage. So, when we hear about a famous, unmarried athlete who is about to have his or her first child, we shouldn’t just think, “How wonderful!” For the sake of that child, we should think, “How much better it would be if the mom and dad were already committed in marriage.”
A Similar Scenario, 70 Years Ago
Writing about events taking place in 2014, Ann Coulter noted that, “In 1947, it was a scandal when Brooklyn Dodgers manager Leo Durocher was alleged to have been having an affair with a married actress, Laraine Day.”
Durocher himself was not married, but Day, a Mormon who never smoked or drank, divorced her husband and married Durocher the day after being granted a provisional divorce decree. The divorce wasn’t final, so the judge who signed the decree ordered Day and Durocher to live separately in California. (Yes, this was so long ago, the institution of marriage was still respected in California.)
And they did. She lived with her mother in Santa Monica and Durocher moved into a nearby hotel.
Yet and still, the Catholic Youth Organization withdrew its support for the Brooklyn Dodgers and advised its members to boycott the team as long as Durocher remained manager.
As CYO director Rev. Vincent J. Powell explained in a letter, Durocher was not the sort of person “we want our youth to idealize and imitate,” adding that the CYO could not be “officially associated with a man who presents an example in contradiction to our moral teachings.”
Yes, that was New York City in the late 1940’s. Need I say more?
Acknowledging Our Culture’s Broken Condition
In my forthcoming book, Saving a Sick America, I do lay out a plan for moral and cultural reformation. But that plan for the future starts with one essential ingredient today: We must realize how sick we are.
Mr. Ossoff’s recent comment, as benign as it may have seemed, is another reminder of our broken condition.
Call me Puritanical and prudish if you like. My words will be vindicated over time. (For more from the author of “A Glaring Example of Our Fallen Morals in the Recent Georgia Election” please click HERE)