Oliver Thomas' religion column in USA Today, "Is secularism saving marriage," is mostly wrongheaded.
Thomas' premise is that marriage should have disappeared in postmodern America, since it is so confining and patriarchal and permanent. Marriage seems to be coming back. How do we explain this mystery, Thomas asks? It must be that men have learned to be more egalitarian and intimate from secular society. Secularism helps people delay marriage without delaying sex, which is healthy. Thus, secularism is saving marriage from religion.
No. Religious people have longer and stronger marriages. Grownups of all kinds, religious and otherwise, know that the greatest social value of marriage is not the intimacy it fosters between adults, but the permanent team it creates between them to raise children. Religious marriages are, on average, more intimate and more mutual. Religious people are more likely to get married in their mid-twenties, the optimal time, rather than delaying for their careers until they are so set in their single ways that it is hard to make a permanent team. The secular emphasis on getting my individual way in all things undermines marriage.