That's what the politicians tell us, what many religions require, and what we often tell ourselves.
But then we go about doing whatever.
And that whatever is called social and cultural change, if not revolution.
A recent article in The New York Times details the most current statistics on the changing face of the American family. Much of it we know, such as increases in blended families, marriages across race, religion and sub culture, and the number of same sex married couples with children.
But there are also some surprises. Americans are marriage recidivists. We divorce and remarry over and over, ever hopeful, ever stupid. But now that baby boomers are in their waning years, there are also fewer divorces overall because younger generations stay married.
The most striking statistic to me is that 41% of American babies are now born "out of wedlock," an old-fashioned expression in itself, especially given the numbers.
Babies are born to single mothers, but many of them are living with the baby's father. They just aren't married. The point is that people have pretty much given up the so-called traditional path that starts with marriage and proceeds to baby. Women are marrying later, and often not at all, but they are still having babies not matter what.
And that's why it's a so-called path, because we give that path lip service but don't follow it.
No one knows if this major social change is good or bad (for the kids), but it has changed with startling rapidity over one generation. And that in itself is something to ponder.