need to stay married,
if you want to have kids!
By Leah Ward Sears
Marriage according to Yogi Bhajan
November 10 -- Much has been written about the Obamas' marriage.
The president and first lady have attested to the long and hard work
it takes to stay involved and connected to each other while maintaining
their separate identities.
Undoubtedly, sustaining a marriage is sometimes hard, as the first
lady noted. But the Obamas are an excellent example of how the fruits
of marriage can be realized by those who are committed to reconciling
their differences and "toughing it out."
The problem is that, today, too few couples are willing to make such
a commitment. Ever since California became the first state to sanction
no-fault divorce law 40 years ago, with every state in essence following
suit -- some with certain stipulations -- the most fundamental thread
in the fabric of our American values, the institution of marriage,
has been unraveling.
Before I retired from the bench a few months ago, it was my job as
a judge to sort through all the issues rising, in part, from the growing
lack of reverence many Americans have for marriage. In court, I often
saw humanity's worst behavior. I also dealt with teenage mothers,
absentee fathers and parents who have never been married, often by
Many Americans are failing their children because they have already
I saw parents who didn't seem able or willing to connect their children's
problems with their own failure to provide their children with the
necessary road map to self-sufficiency and productivity. And these
families didn't just show up in my courtroom. They exist everywhere.
The U.S. Marriage Index shows a dramatic decline in the health of
marriage in recent decades. America is a society that requires its
citizens to make choices and penalizes them, often harshly, for the
a child grows up, the guideposts should be: finish school; become
a productive citizen; marry a person you want to spend your life with;
and, if you want, have children. In that order.
But many Americans are failing their children because they have already
failed themselves. They often enter the court system with domestic
problems and low-wage jobs, slim educational credentials and no life
It broke my heart to see so many children raising babies before they
are ready: young people who made no connection between the poverty
and chaos in their lives and the choices they had made.
My options in addressing these problems from the bench were limited.
The courtroom is seldom the stage at which social change takes place.
By the time these cases appeared in court, so much damage had already
What our society needs is a solution on the front end.
We should begin
by considering six points:
stop glorifying single parenthood ...
unwed parents like "Brangelina," Halle Berry and the late
Michael Jackson make matrimony seem unimportant and suggest that having
a baby as a single parent is "cool" and even easy.
children need a reality check ...
young people think that having a child means that they will finally
have someone who will unconditionally love them. They don't consider,
however, that babies do not and cannot love anyone but themselves,
and they also take a tremendous amount of time, attention and resources.
to single mothers by choice ...
you decide to have a child alone in order to fulfill your deep need
to parent, you may be deliberately substituting your emotional loss
for that of your child, who will have to grow up without a father.
need to respect the role of men as husbands and fathers ...
they do right by their families. Boys and girls need their fathers
to love them and to model the sacrifice and commitment that bonds
a married couple. Men who "man up" like this need our support
state legislatures should revisit no-fault divorce ...
that allow one party to a marriage to opt out of it too easily.
now can result in change in the future ...
there are many success stories, children who grow up in single-parent
families are less likely to enjoy the financial security, educational
success and social skills of children living with their married parents.
This only continues to fuel poverty and inequality in our country.
By the way, I'm neither a strait-laced goody-two-shoes nor Archie
Bunker in heels. I would never condemn anyone who has had a child
out of wedlock or who has gone through a divorce.
I was a divorcee, and with two children, I was also a single mom.
So I know that these things happen. Indeed, sometimes they must happen.
And because they do, we need to respect every family form.
But I've been around long enough to know that as marriage goes, so
go our children. And with them goes the future of our country. Consequently,
everyone -- rich or poor, single or married or divorced, gay or straight,
all races and colors, from the first family to the single-parent family
-- benefits from a vibrant marriage culture.
The ideal marriage is a way of life in which a husband and wife compromise
to face the time and space together for the security of their own
lives and their children's. -- Yogi Bhajan 1/2/1977
Ward Sears is a retired chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court
and is a partner at the Atlanta office of Schiff Hardin, LLP. Sears
also serves as the William Thomas Sears Distinguished Fellow in Family
Law at the Institute for American Values and is a visiting professor
on family law issues at the University of Georgia School of Law.
Love vs Lust is next.
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