Maggie Gallagher

Soulmate marriage, preceded by a sensible period of co-habitation, is their solution to the anxiety of love in the Age of Divorce. If that fails, there's always single motherhood, for those girls aching for a love that lasts.

My sympathy for the next generation of young adults is deep; they have been abandoned by a generation of boomer parents who have found the exercise of moral authority -- the obligation of the adult generation -- personally distasteful. Besides, it might imply the need for us parents to rein in our own behavior, to "practice what we preach," and who needs that?

Better, like Mayor Giuliani, to retain the perpetual right to trade in your wife for your soulmate, as many times as necessary, no matter who gets hurt. The heart wants what it wants, as Woody Allen so famously quipped -- and so do other body parts, no? We have words (hypocrisy or sin, take your pick) for people whose private behavior does not live up to their public utterance.

But we have no word for the deeper corruption of leaders who lower public standards in order to legitimate their own private desires. So Rudy, the toughest of tough guys, now seeks to become the Princess Di of American politics, courting sympathy with tales of vomiting (chemotherapy, not bulimia) and reportedly courting a fairy-tale Gracie Mansion wedding to re-establish him as a stand-up guy with respect for the institution of marriage.

What can I tell Brielle and her generation? God loves you -- does that make him a loser who settles for second best? People who think only soulmates are good enough to love often end up in middle age like Rudy Giuliani: a self-righteous failure as a family man, simultaneously callous, mean, whining and pathetic. Surely, Brielle, you can do better.

Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.