In Marriage Matters, Janice Shaw Crouse argues that marriage is a critical element in a free society and that society’s most vulnerable communities, especially minorities and the poor, suffer the most from the nation’s retreat from marriage. Crouse writes that marriage advances the public interest and we should create laws and policies that support rather than undermine it. She demonstrates both the public and private importance of marriage, and organizes her argument in a thoughtful and logical manner.
Compared to other household arrangements, Crouse observes, marriage is by far the best for raising children and offers financial advantages as well. Writing about bullying, Crouse shows how the trend away from marriage has lead to poor child-rearing and to some of the nation’s worst contemporary problems. In household arrangements with an absence of traditional fathers, the government has in some ways overtaken this role by creating social programs such as food stamps, Social Security, and Medicare. Social programs are but a small part of an effective solution.
The groundwork for strong marriages and lasting relationships is examined in detail. Crouse then discusses the role of sex in marriages and the harmful influence of casual sex. The second half of the work shows how marriage matters to individuals (specifically to women and children) and depicts same-sex marriage as a threat to the institution. Other public policy issues affecting marriage are also explored.