Abstract Family


The Abolition of Marriage: How We Destroy Lasting Love,
by Maggie Gallagher

My book review

Abolition of Marriage cover

This book takes the social science data that was available as of the mid-1990s and interprets it. Maggie Gallagher read the writing on the wall about the trends unleashed by No-Fault divorce and other social changes. She was one of the first to warn about breakdown of marriage and the rising divorce rate.

The concept of “Eros” is introduced in this book and developed in later publications by this author. In short, it means a commitment and love which goes beyond logic.

The book is a little bit dated now, having been written almost 15 years ago. Some of the strongest social science data was not yet available. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was just starting back then and it was not yet possible to foresee that it would be misused as a tool of dishonest divorce lawyers. Today it seems quaint to discuss child-support reform to collect more money from absent fathers as a positive though insufficient step to help children -- it was not yet the nightmare that it is today which serves mostly to provide financial incentives for stay-at-home moms to divorce working fathers.

But still it remains a valuable and powerful book. Gallagher sees to the heart of trends such as No-Fault divorce and out-of-wedlock births and follows them to their logical conclusions. It has enough references to research studies and the writings of others to support her conclusions. Even today, it is one of the few clear and logical discussions of the social implications of the rising acceptance of marital infidelity, and how this is linked to No-Fault divorce.