Browning's research on marriage reported in the August/01 "Investigations"
contains a major inconsistency, due, I believe, to his attempt
to be politically correct (having been a professor for 40 years
I know about the pressure to be politically correct). He correctly
points out that the change from the breadwinner-homemaker model
of marriage began with the women's revolution and the subsequent
sexual and psychological revolutions. The purpose of marriage
became "personal fulfillment" and if a partner felt she was not
being "fulfilled" it was all right to dissolve it.
but he goes on to suggest that the solution is an egalitarian
marriage in which husband and wife participate equally in paid
work, childcare, and domestic duties. As we know, this puts a
strain on both working parents and often leaves children home
alone after school. In addition, both parents work in order to
have luxury homes and vehicles. (Yes, I know, some work because
they have to because a single income is not enough.) The question
I have is, How is this fulfillment?
I've been married for 47 years under the breadwinner-homemaker
model, and I am sure that it is taking responsibility for one's
choices rather than "fulfillment" that holds a marriage together,
especially if children are involved. All marriages involve stresses,
strains, and conflicts that need to be overcome and if "fulfillment"
is the purpose of a marriage, it will fall apart. There may be
some marriages where people make a huge mistake when they marry
because they do not really know what their partner is like, but
these really horrible marriages are a small percent of the total;
otherwise love is indeed blind.
Palumbo, AM'58, AM'59, PhD'60
want to thank you for your fine article in the August/01 issue
("Investigations") on the Religion, Culture, and Family (RCF)
project. Overall, it struck a very good balance.
major issue and a few small errors should be noted, however. It
is not accurate to say that our message from the start is "marriage
is good, divorce is not." We never say that marriage should trump
all other values. Cokie Roberts, the narrator of our documentary
Marriage: Is It Just a Piece of Paper?, says twice in the
first part that divorce is sometimes the best answer. From
Culture Wars to Common Ground, the summary value of the RCF
project, acknowledges that alcoholism, violence, drugs, and other
factors are justifiable reasons for divorce. At most, we say that
on the whole, marriage is good and divorce is now proving to have
more negative consequences than we first thought. You do mention,
several paragraphs later, that the RCF project is not "against
the single vocation or families that have split.:" That is correct.
Now, for some smaller details that also need correction. My first
graduate degree was a B.D., or Bachelor of Divinity Degree, now
a Master of Divinity Degree. No-fault divorce did not appear in
California in 1989. It occurred when Reagan was governor, probably
in the early 1970s. He left the presidency in 1988. The 100 plus
contributors to the project were not all "theologians." Some were,
but there were many social scientists, historians, and legal scholars
as well. These are small details. We are happy that you covered
Don S. Browning,