I think the divorce epidemic is definitely part of the problem. There is a small percentage of people like myself, who, after watching the divorce of our parents and having our lives ripped apart at the seams by it, take marriage much MORE seriously. I vowed I would never do that to my children, and therefore was very careful about who I chose to marry. I made sure he was worthy of the commitment of the rest of my life, and that he was someone I both wanted to live with as long as I lived and that I could live with. I made sure that I looked at the relationship rationally after the first blush wore off, picked out where we have recurring difficulties and whether I could accept that those probably would never change. I made sure I never caught him lying or doing anything questionable. Then I decided to commit to him, and I am still completely and totally committed to keeping our family together forever. That was the effect of divorce on me. And there are others like me.
But I think I am in the minority, and that it jades more people and makes them value relationships and promises less. It also makes them close up their hearts to a certain extent, so no one can ever get in far enough to REALLY hurt them. They end up having only superficial relationships because that way they keep that deep dark place where they hide that hurt, destroyed child from ever being exposed or vulnerable again. And of course, they then pass on the attitude that marriage is foolish and unecessary and promises are risky to their own kids, and you go from there…
Also we have the major problem of families that start out with no father anywhere to be seen…there are many roots to that problem, many more than can be discussed here.
I think the way we encourage people to get married is to appeal to their self-interest. Show them how it is good for them, because it is provable that it is. Married people are healthier, live longer, make more money in the long run, and their kids do better, overall, in life. These facts have been proven, we just need to show people how they can apply it to their own situations. I wish we could do it in a loftier way, but the cold truth is that most people just want to know what’s in it for them.