“Your grades aren’t that good, are they?” I asked.

“How did you know?” she responded with surprise.

I knew because it’s the same sad story I’ve heard too many times to count. This girl wasn’t getting low grades because she wasn’t bright, but because she was experimenting with alcohol and sex to emotionally escape her situation at home. She seemed very bright and extremely mature for her age, but her mother’s poor decisions had caused her to have behavioral problems and lower academic performance than children in married families.

Next up, why marriage is the best alternative. …

6Jeffry Larson, Should We Stay Together? A Scientifically Proven Method for Evaluating Your Relationship and Improving Its Chances for Long-term Success (San Francisc  Jossey-Bass, 2000), note 5. For additional information, visit http://marriageandfamilies.byu.edu/issues/2001/January/cohabitation.aspx.
7David Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, “Should We Live Together? What Young Adults Need to Know About Cohabitation Before Marriage: A Comprehensive Review of Recent Research.”  http://marriage.rutgers.edu/Publications/Print/PrintSWLT.htm (accessed December 2006).
8Linda J. Waite and Maggie Gallagher, The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier and Better Off Financially (New York: Doubleday Books, 2000).
12Linda J. Waite and K. Joyner, “Emotional and Physical Satisfaction in Married, Cohabiting and Dating Sexual Unions: Do Men and Women Differ?” cited in E.O. Laumann and R. Michael, eds. Studies in Sex (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago, 1994).
13David Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, Should We Live Together?  What Young Adults Need to Know About Cohabitation Before Marriage (New Brunswick, NJ: The National Marriage Project, 1999), note 4.
14Waite and Gallagher, The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier and Better Off Financially, p.41, note 6.
15R. Whelan, Broken Homes and Battered Children: A Study of the Relationship Between Child Abuse and Family Type (London: Family Education Trust, 1993).

From The Naked Truth, © 2007 by Lakita Garth. Published by Regal Books, www.regalbooks.com. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Lakita Garth is a social commentator, media consultant and professional entertainer in Los Angeles. As a highly sought-after abstinence speaker, she has talked with millions of teenagers through motivational assemblies across the United States and internationally. She has also testified before the U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Senate on teen pregnancy prevention, and serves on the executive board of The National Abstinence Clearinghouse. Garth, a runner-up to Miss Black America, has appeared in numerous commercials and television shows, including MTV and BET.