Even in the current culture, most young people still dream of being happily married someday—of finding someone they’d like to share their life with.
When I’m invited to talk to young persons about romantic relationships, I always start by asking, “How many of you would like to get married someday?” The great majority of the hands go up. “How many of you would like to have children?” Again, most raise their hand.
UCLA’s annual American Freshman survey has consistently found that about three-quarters of entering college freshmen say “raising a family” is an “essential” or “very important” life goal. That finding, despite shifts in other values, hasn’t changed in the more than four decades 40 years UCLA has been doing the survey.
Marriage and parenting are two of the most challenging responsibilities that any of us will ever take on. Both have a profound effect on our happiness. Both have a far-reaching effect on the social health of a society. Both require good character.