I'm a white guy who speaks English as my native language. Living in the US I have not had much experience at being a member of any minority group. (Though the city of Cincinnati does prohibit discrimination against people of Appalachian ancestry. My people, however, left Appalachia about 140 years ago.) Now I find myself a member of a minority--married folks. And, I suppose I'm in a shrinking demographic--married nearly 28 years and never divorced. A member of a minority group, how did that happen?

The following are the unscientific thoughts of this one 50-year old, not based on sociology, just close observation of the latter half of the twentieth-century. One more fact before I begin, the average age of first marriage now has risen into the late twenties. (more below)

First, what did we expect. We've been disrespecting marriage for years now.
Remember the movie Titanic? The heroine, Rose, was engaged to a real jerk of a man and the viewer was left in no doubt that marriage to him would mean a long slow death for the tender soul of Rose. Into her life came the poor immigrant who enkindled her real passion, leading to emotional and physical intimacy in a fairly short time, and without really knowing or publically committing to each other. Two messages here for the price of one: marriage is a cruel trap especially for women; a twitter of the heart is all the validation one needs to give oneself to a person practically a stranger. Neither of these messages is much encouragement for marriage. Here's another example, from the movie The Color Purple. The heroine, Celie, is raped by her father, eventually finds herself in an abusive marriage, and at last discovers her true beauty and happiness in the company of other women. Again, two messages for the price of one: men are predatory animals that women should stay away from, and marriage is an arrangement to provide sex and domestic service for males. No encouragement for marriage here. In sum, our popular entertainment culture has been anti-marriage for years now. If I were younger, and had internalized the Hollywood message, I'd be in no hurry to marry.

As I think about it, I believe I'll stetch out this thought into a series of posts.