Marybeth Hicks

*The costs of non-marital births are high, both to children and parents in fragile families and to society as a whole; reducing births to unmarried parents should be policy makers' primary goal.

Naturally, the journal includes several suggestions for public policies intended to strengthen "fragile families," all of which call for expanded social programs to address the supposed root-cause, identified as non-marital childbearing. As you might expect, emphasis is on avoiding childbirth over promoting marriage, as if a government in a free society could do either.

Sadly, I don't think there's a government program that will turn around our culture's shifting attitudes about marriage.

Unfortunately, perhaps due to our cultural distaste for doing hard things, negative attitudes are evident in our view of the institution itself. According to a recent study from the Pew Research Center, 39 percent of Americans now say marriage is obsolete.

More importantly, 34 percent of Americans said the growing variety of family living arrangements is good for society, while only 32 percent said it didn't make a difference and just 29 percent said it was troubling.

Count me among the 29 percent. The decline of traditional marriages and the families on which they are built is taking an economic, social and spiritual toll on our nation. Reigniting our culture's commitment to commitment - even one that is truly daunting - is the key to revitalizing our families and communities.

Nobody said marriage was easy. But in every way you can measure what is good for people and society, it's worth the effort.

Marybeth Hicks

Marybeth Hicks is the author of Don't Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left's Assault on Our Families, Faith, and Freedom (Regnery Publishers, 2011).