Linda Chavez

But promoting marriage is an uphill battle. We have become, in so many ways, a disposable society. Don't like washing dishes or (heaven forbid) diapers? Replace them with paper, which can be thrown away. Last year's car isn't as shiny or cutting edge as the new ones? Trade it in for this year's model, even if it puts you greater in debt.

The wife is getting a little thick around the middle, or the hubby is losing his hair? There's always someone younger, better looking or more successful out there. In the past, there was social stigma attached to divorce. Now, the pressure on married couples is not to settle for anything less than perfect spouses and uninterrupted bliss.

Marriage isn't like that. It's hard work. Few of us can count on looking as good as we did in our wedding pictures. People change, for better or worse. Traditional marriage vows recognized this. Spouses pledged to honor each other in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, until death. The Catholic Church still uses this pledge.

But the trend today is to write hip, even funny, vows, which aren't really vows at all, like these suggested on a popular wedding website: "I promise to always make your favorite banana milkshake," or "I vow to split the difference on the thermostat," as Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston did when they married. And look how long that union lasted . . .

Marriage is a serious -- dare I say, sacred -- endeavor. It is also the foundation of our society. If children are to thrive, we must do more to encourage and celebrate marriage. I'll be doing my share this week.


Linda Chavez

Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .

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