In the news this morning is an article regarding "single fathers," and the apparent fact that some men now want to be fathers without being husbands. They are not, primarily, talking about homosexual couples, either, but heterosexual men who want to be fathers without being married.

This, of course, follows the fact that many women have made the same decision from the other side, choosing to be moms without being wives. What is going on here?

More than anything, this tendency arises because of how poorly most of us do at marriage. We have seen so many couples divorced or struggling, we have heard of so much adultery and unhappiness, that we no longer believe that marraige can work at all.

We should realize how much this relates to the problem of finding someone to marry. It appears that many of these situations involve people who cannot "find the right person" to marry. The desire to be a parent is so strong that they just want to find some way to have a child without having to be married. This is because either they or their prospective spouses are just wrong about marrying. Being unable to find anyone, they choose to go it alone.

We should also realize how much this has to do with staying together. Many of these people may have tried marriage at some point with no success. Again, marriage is a permanent state in the minds of many of us, but a temporary state in the minds of many others. They do not "marry for life" but for the time being. They are not committed to their commitment.

Finally, we should realize what this means about how far we have gone from wisdom. The idea of wanting to be a single parent seems so wrong on so many levels. It means wanting to be what most of us agree is a sad thing: a single parent. It means taking a child and putting that child in a sad situation, living with someone who cannot live with anyone else.

Part of what makes parenting possible is the experience of having been through marriage. Another part is having someone to share the experience, to bear much of the burden. It is difficult for those of us who have been married so long to imagine choosing to be a single parent.

How sad these stories have to make us, no matter how small the numbers may be. Somewhere, there is a man who cannot get along well enough with a woman to marry and stay married. Somewhere else, there is a woman who cannot get along well enough with a man to marry and stay married. Each of them now wants a child, who will have to live with them. However much we may pity the man and the woman, we must pity the c

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