Making It Up As We Go Along

The news that most women in America are unmarried is one of those stories I want to spend more time on...someday, when I have time. But in the meanwhile, Lileks has more or less said it for me. First of all, I'd like to examine the stats a bit more closely.
Among the more than 117 million women over the age of 15, according to the marital status category in the Census Bureau’s latest American Community Survey, 63 million are married. Of those, 3.1 million are legally separated and 2.4 million said their husbands were not living at home for one reason or another.
So what happens if you take the under-18s and military wives whose situation is temporary out of the mix? A big gaping hole in the front page I'm guessing. And is it just me, or does the Times seem to be gloating? Why is this considered laudable?
“Marriage kind of aged me because there weren’t options,” Ms. Terris said. “There was only one way to go. Now I have choices. One night I slept on the other side of the bed, and I thought, I like this side.”
Lileks is exactly right when he comments:
I imagine the tone of the piece would be different if a majority of men divorced their [w]ives to throw some hose in the trophy-babe pool, and pronounced their new freedom from responsibility and duty a great revelation.
How come "freedom" of this kind is only for some? A woman discovers the other side of the bed and we're supposed to applaud, but a man discovers he'd rather have a slimmer or curvier woman on the other side of the bed and he's considered a schmuck? Don't they see it's precisely the same thing? It's Brokeback Mountain all over again --it's not the orientation, it's the broken commitments that bother me most. Lileks again:
Anyway. Since the story’s methodology is fubar, what’s the point? Lay some snark on marriage, add another questionable statistic to the pool of Things Smart People Know To Be So, give aid and comfort to the readers who see the prospects of marriage slipping away for good, and erode, ever so gently, the stature of a venerable but quaintly outdated institution.
And in that context I can't help but return to B16s Q&A from this summer:
this is not a matter of a legal constraint, a burden undertaken with marriage. On the contrary, profundity and beauty lie precisely in decisiveness. Only in it can love mature in all its beauty. [...] Even in crisis, in enduring moments that seem unbearable, new doors are opened, and love takes on a new beauty. A beauty made up of nothing but harmony is not a real beauty. [...]
Real beauty also needs contrast. Light and darkness complement each other. Even the grape needs rain to grow, and not just sun; not only day, but also night.
We must accept, both as priests and as spouses, the necessity of enduring the crisis of otherness, of the other, the crisis in which its seems that we can no longer stay together. The spouses must learn together to go forward, partly out of love for the children, and so get to know one another again and love each other anew, in a much deeper and more real love. Thus over a long journey, with its sufferings, love really matures.
Or, to give Lileks the last word:
It all depends on what you put it into it, to state the obvious. It’s like a fireplace: you can let it go out, or you can add wood.