Dr. Keith Russell Ablow is an American psychiatrist and mystery writer. He is also a Fox News contributor. I first saw him on the Glen Beck show and was somewhat impressed by him UNTIL I came across some of his material defining marriage. Because marriage is so essential to human happiness and to the organization of human society I simply could not cast aside what he said as so much psychiatric hum-bug.
Dr. Ablow thinks that marriage is “a source of real suffering for the vast majority of married people.” As a matter of fact, that is only one of the accusations Ablow hurls against marriage before eventually calling for its demise. Marriage, he insists, is a dying institution — and he celebrates its death.
Few might know or care of Ablow’s thoughts on the matter of marriage. Most psychiatrists are about as exciting as a mouthful of dry crackers; but because he is now a person of high exposure I think his observations need to be challenged. He thinks matrimony is an old institution that has outlived its time. Like most psychiatrists he is perhaps talking more from his own experience. It always breathtaking to me how some psychiatrists and historians have the audacity to wave-off with the back of their hand 5000 years of recorded history as if their generation is the smartest generation that ever lived and they know best. We don’t learn much from history but one thing we do learn is that human nature does not change
Ablow talking like he was the Inspector General of one of God’s oldest institutions pontificates that he is “not certain marriage ever did suit most people who tried it.” I didn’t know that he knew most people…. “From what I hear in my psychiatry office, and from what I hear from other psychiatrists and psychologists, and from what my friends and relatives tell me and show me through their behavior, and from the fact that most marriages end either in divorce or acrimony, marriage is (as it has been for decades now) a source of real suffering for the vast majority of married people.”
Like he came right from the Burning Bush, he decrees, “It (marriage) is, without a doubt, one of the leading causes of major depression in the nation.” That’s water cooler, pop psychology at its best.
Our Marquis of Wisdom also declares that the involvement of the state in marriage has been a colossal mistake and that the state should stay out of it. He thinks that smart people realize how marriage disempowers them not too long after they say, “I do!” Like a lot of people I’m allergic to that kind of bizarre thinking. Really, because marriage is a legal institution the government should stay out of it? The inconvenient truth for Ablow is that marriage is granted legal sanction precisely because it is a social as well as a sacred institution.
This pretension to a higher wisdom is fool hardy for his thinking would lead to legal, moral, and cultural chaos. If the state had no role in marriage whatsoever, it would force the government to call it by some other name. No civilization exists without recognizing it. This is true even in societies that separate the religious and legal definitions and authorizations of marriage. There is no major society that exists without marriage and those rare movements in history when societies tried to eliminate it disaster followed.
No matter how crazy and idea comes down the pike you can find a psychiatrist who can give you three reasons and a poem why it’s true.
Ablow further argues that marriage is dying because of the invention of oral contraceptives. Put your Kevlar helmet on for this one: Once human beings understood that they could express themselves emotionally, romantically and sexually without necessarily creating multiple families and perilously dividing their assets, the pillars of marriage began to crumble. The pill has set us free. Those who no longer are physically attracted to their spouse can discard them like a drone from a bee hive. Alas, people are now sexually free to do as they please. That is no more than a great big pile of jabberwocky.
For Ablow one man, one woman, one life time is a joke.
However, here is where psychiatrist Ablow really blows hard; He argues that marriage “inherently deprives men and women of the joy of being ‘chosen’ on a daily basis.” I’m as serious as a judge. He argues that the vows of marriage deprive us of the experience of being chosen by our spouse every single day. Like is this guy Crrr-aaa-zzz-yyy! Does Dr. Ablow have any real understanding of human beings? Does he really believe that? — Even if marriage were to disappear as a legal institution — men and women would re-decide their most intimate relationships and commitments every day, free to come and go without emotional pain and complication? It’s ludicrous.
Now a stopped clock is right at least twice a day, and the Doctor does get something half-right. He remarks, “The fact that millions of Americans take vows to stay in marriages for life, then leave those marriages — once, twice, maybe three times — has so trivialized and mocked those vows that many silently chuckle to themselves while listening to them.”
Now there is some truth to that statement. No one can seriously doubt that this kind of hypocrisy is indeed weakening marriage both as an institution and as a personal commitment. But, in a strange way, the hypocrisy accidentally affirms the importance of marriage and the marital vows. Even those who break their marital vows do so after affirming in public what marriage ought to be and was always meant to be. The answer to hypocrisy is moral correction and a return to integrity in making and keeping the sacred vows of marriage. We do not solve the hypocrisy of the liar by rejecting the very idea of truth.
As wise as Aesop himself, Ablow also insists that the end of marriage is “only a matter of time now.” Marriage is passing away, and we should plan for “what might replace it.” His great goal: “We should come up with something that improves the quality of our lives and those of our children.”
We can only wonder at the audacity of a man who champions the impermanence of relationships, argues that couples cannot long remain attracted to each other, celebrates the sexual liberation from marriage made possible by The Pill, declares marriage “a source of real suffering for the vast majority of married people,” and then calls us to something better for our lives and those of our children.
Human nature cannot change anymore than the leopard can change its spots. The same men who enjoyed Wagner’s music and the Bolshevik Ballet also built Auschwitz and the Gulag Archipelago.
Regardless of what the expert doctor says: marriage is here to stay because it is an institution ordained by God in the Garden of Eden. Jesus performed His first miracle at a wedding. Marriage is as essential man kind and to human happiness and to the organization of human society as earth, air and water. Fortunately Ablow’s psychiatry is not.
May God Keep His Good Hand On You and Yours,’