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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 16, 2011 / 10 Adar II, 5771

Good advice, but unpopular

By Marybeth Hicks





http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | You could argue that the iconic advice columnist, the late "Ann Landers," was single-handedly responsible for America's rising divorce rates since the 1960s, thanks to her infamous question, "Ask yourself, Are you better off with him or without him?"

Thanks to Ann, along with her equally all-knowing twin sister, "Dear Abby," millions of women probably found the courage to leave truly destructive and unsafe relationships, but millions more likely read that rhetorical question as a permission slip to ditch marriages that were simply more work than they were willing to undertake.

Together, sisters Eppie Lederer and Pauline Phillips, writing under their familiar pseudonyms for a combined 93 years (Mrs. Phillips daughter, Jeanne, continues "Dear Abby" still), elevated the journalistic genre of advice column to social significance.

As such, you might say advice columns are accurate gauges of what's up with the culture.

If the free advice peddled in today's media is any indication, my perception of the decline of our civilization is more than just a vague sense of longing for some idealized "good old days."

We're in big trouble.

To wit: A recent question for syndicated columnist Carolyn Hax, perhaps the most popular, and certainly the pithiest, of today's purveyors of free advice, that asked via a provocative headline: "Is a baby a good reason to marry?"

To summarize, a woman in her mid-30s, unexpectedly pregnant (apparently having forgotten that sex often leads to pregnancy), explains that given the circumstances, her 30-something boyfriend wants to get married. Based on the messy divorces she has witnessed among her friends, the writer is uncertain about marriage and instead reasons that breaking up would be much easier without the dreaded "slip of paper" that makes it difficult to "just walk away."

Ms. Hax, whose answers to advice-seekers often are brutally honest and spot on, offers a truly distressing response to this question, but it certainly helps to explain a recent survey that shows 4 in 10 Americans believe marriage itself is becoming obsolete.

The sum total of her wisdom is this: "The No. 1 question to ask yourself before committing to a mate is, will s/he make it ugly if we break up?"

Really? Not, "Do we share the same values about marriage, commitment, faith, family, love and companionship," but essentially, "Would we have a messy divorce?"

Meanwhile, only the first sentence of Ms. Hax's advice even mentions the child to be born of this couple, and then merely as a practical matter: "With a child, do you think either of you will be able to 'walk away'? Would you want that?"

Nowhere in Ms. Hax's advice or the woman's question does anyone address the issue, "What is best for the baby?"

It's no wonder. Ms. Hax would lose too many readers with that honest answer. Study after study affirm that what's best for the baby is to grow up in a two-parent household with his or her biological mom and dad, who remain married for better or worse till death do they part.

Talk about your unpopular advice.

The ramifications to children when families fail to form are disheartening and well documented. But no one is looking out for the children in scenarios such as this; just for their own selfish interests and myopic concerns.

Here's my advice for "Married?": By engaging in a sexual relationship, you took the risk that you would bring a child into the world. Now you need to take responsibility for that decision.

Your boyfriend — the father of your child — wants to marry you and create something positive and profound: A family. Yes, marriage is difficult, but certainly no more challenging than being a single parent.

Your child deserves your best effort to create the most positive environment in which to grow up.

Perhaps it's time all of you did just that.

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JWR contributor Marybeth Hicks, a wife of more than 20 years and mother of four children, lives in the Midwest. She uses her column to share her perspective on issues and experiences that shape families nationwide. To comment, please click here.


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© 2009, Marybeth Hicks