The Marriage Forum in the Archdiocese of New York, 1949 to 1951

Arthur John Foerenbach, Fordham University


Because it is a truism to say that marriage is important, it is necessary to call attention to the fact that often today marriage seems to be considered unimportant or important for the wrong reasons, it is only too obvious that marriage is considered a plaything, a happy-go-lucky affair, rather than the serious choice of an important state in life, One needs only to open the daily paper to read that so-and-so has just released her fifth husband or that so-and-so was found with another woman. Then one reads, too, of the humorous reasons given in seeking divorce, as, for example, in the case of the St. Louis woman who, married only sixty days, sought divorce on the grounds that her husband insisted that she save the breakfast dishwater so that other dishes could be washed in it and, among other things, held a mouse over her head "solely for the purpose of terrifying her" when she was ill, On the other hand, there are the tragic cases, There is the case of the man in New Jersey who, unsuccessful at a reconciliation with his wife, shot and killed five members of his and his wife's families. These are the symptoms that clearly tell us that something is wrong with American marriages and with our basic concept of marriage. Margaret Mead, in a penetrating article on the American family, makes some worthwhile and precise observations on the present state of marriage. She stated that Americans have built up a distorted and unreal picture of marriage. From many sources, girls are urged "to love hard, no matter what his religion, economic background and no matter what the future in-laws will say." It is known, from divorce courts and marriage counselling agencies, that there have been many cases where this false belief was at the basis of the marriage. But it seems to the writer that Miss Mead makes the clearest and most valid observation when she states that what matters is not so much the numbers of divorce as the expectation of divorce. "People now enter marriage with the idea that it is terminable. We have set up the family as a terminable situation."

Subject Area

Womens studies|Individual & family studies|Social work

Recommended Citation

Foerenbach, Arthur John, "The Marriage Forum in the Archdiocese of New York, 1949 to 1951" (1952). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30509541.