Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Everyone knows that marriage is a private affair, right? Two people commit their lives (or maybe just "a chapter" of their lives if they're destined for a no-fault divorce) to each other, and this commitment makes each of them either happy or miserable, but it has nothing to do with politics.

The idea that a given marriage has public significance is considered ludicrous. If America had a failed marriage for every time someone sneered publicly at the notion that countenancing gay marriage would "somehow" undermine the fabric of marriage itself as a political institution, I reckon almost half our marriages would fail. (oh, wait...)

Well, haters, what if it turned out that the success or failure of every marriage had a significant influence on every other marriage within two degrees of separation? Rose McDermott:
'A person's tendency to divorce depends not just on his friend's divorce status, but also extends to his friend's friend.
'The full network shows that participants are 75 per cent more likely to be divorced if a person - obviously other than their spouse - that they are directly connected to is divorced.
'The size of the effect for people at two degrees of separation, for example the friend of a friend, is 33 per cent.

Like most social research findings, this should be obvious. Marriage is not just an arrangement between two people to meet the needs of each other's souls and bodies. It is a ministry to the world. Like any ministry, it turns poisonous as soon as it becomes self-centered.