Scott Coltrane is professor of Sociology and associate director of the Center
for Family Studies at the University of California, Riverside, and a senior fellow at the Council on Contemporary Families.
The Bush administration and its allies like to tell us that Americans have forgotten about marriage, and that Americans have stopped caring about fathers. As good as it is to bring attention to the needs of fathers, on both points they are simply wrong: Americans believe very strongly in marriage, and rather than devaluing fathers, they are increasingly likely to adopt extremely high expectations for them. American men continue to provide for their families and are doing more housework and child care than ever before, but because men and women face so many economic and practical obstacles, marriage has indeed become more fragile than it was in the past.