…To provide what I hope are some useful guideposts, I would like to expand my discussion to four separate areas, drawing on certain sociological studies promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Family.
First, the couple and marriage. The fact of getting married constitutes an added value for persons and for society, in that the marriage contract enhances the quality of the relationship of the couple and has important positive consequences biological, psychological, economic and social for children and adults. Simple cohabitation is not equal to marriage because it renders relations unstable and creates major uncertainty in the lives of children. Divorce itself or the choice of single parenthood increases the risk of school failure for children. The stability of family relations is a precious good, and when it is lacking, all members of the family are at risk. In particular, marriage stability is decisive for the successful socialization of children. Divorce, as well as birth outside marriage, increases the risk of poverty for children and mothers. Stepfamilies, reconstituted families and blended families experience many problems with respect to relations between the new parents and the children of their former unions.
On the other hand, marriage, between a man and a woman, generates benefits that other forms of “living together” do not. Those other forms are just not the same as marriage….