Lesson 4 of 7 - optimize your relationships

Two Brief News
Articles on Marriage:

* Divorcing-couple Traits

* Declining U.S. Marriages

The Web address of this article is http://sfhelp.org/relate/news/marriage.htm

Updated 02-24-2015

      Clicking underlined links here will open a new window. Other links will open  an informational popup, so please turn off your browser's popup blocker or allow popups from this nonprofit Web site. If your playback device doesn't support Javascript, the popups may not display. Follow underlined links after finishing this article to avoid getting lost.

      These two Yahoo-news reprints illustrate several key points about public (and media) misconceptions about marriage. See my comments after the reprints. The links and hilights below are mine. - Peter Gerlach, MSW

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In love? It's not enough to
keep a marriage, study finds

Reuters Life! via Yahoo online news -
Jul 14, 2009

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) Living happily ever after needn't only be for fairy tales. Australian researchers have identified what it takes to keep a couple together, and it's a lot more than just being in love.

A couple's age, previous relationships and even whether they smoke or not are factors that influence whether their marriage is going to last, according to a study by researchers from the Australian National University.

The study, entitled "What's Love Got to Do With It," tracked nearly 2,500 couples -- married or living together -- from 2001 to 2007 to identify factors associated with those who remained together compared with those who divorced or separated.

It found that a husband who is nine or more years older than his wife is twice as likely to get divorced, as are husbands who get married before they turn 25.

Children also influence the longevity of a marriage or relationship, with one-fifth of couples who have kids before marriage -- either from a previous relationship or in the same relationship -- having separated compared to just nine percent of couples without children born before marriage.

Women who want children much more than their partners are also more likely to get a divorce.

A couple's parents also have a role to play in their own relationship, with the study showing some 16 percent of men and women whose parents ever separated or divorced experienced marital separation themselves compared to 10 percent for those whose parents did not separate.

Also, partners who are on their second or third marriage are 90 percent more likely to separate than spouses who are both in their first marriage.

Not surprisingly, money also plays a role, with up to 16 percent of respondents who indicated they were poor or where the husband -- not the wife -- was unemployed saying they had separated, compared with only nine percent of couples with healthy finances.

And couples where one partner, and not the other, smokes are also more likely to have a relationship that ends in failure.

Factors found to not significantly affect separation risk included the number and age of children born to a married couple, the wife's employment status and the number of years the couple had been employed.

The study was jointly written by Dr Rebecca Kippen and Professor Bruce Chapman from The Australian National University, and Dr Peng Yu from the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Copyright 2009 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

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Obama needs to act on marriage promotion
By the Christian Science Monitor's Editorial Board
via Yahoo News - 8/10/09

Americans have a major mismatch in their matchmaking.

More than 8 out of 10 young adults say it is important to be married someday. Most expect they will be hitched within 10 years. Yet last year, there were 7.1 marriages per 1,000 people compared with 10 per 1,000 in 1986. And the numbers keep rising for children born out of wedlock and for unmarried couples living together.

And these trends continue despite research showing that children living with single mothers or with cohabiting parents are more likely to drop out of school and to be poor than children living with their married parents.

What to do?

For the past few years, the federal government has tried to bridge this gulf between good intentions toward marriage and the reality. It offers seminar-type "marriage promotion" classes, aimed especially at training those on welfare for healthy relationships. And last February, the federally supported National Healthy Marriage Resource Center launched a $5 million media campaign to extol the virtues of matrimony for people aged 18 to 30. (The campaign's slogan: "Friend me forever.")

It's not clear, however, if Uncle Sam can successfully play the role of premarital counselor. Governments can barely persuade people to use their seat belts, let alone appreciate all the virtues of matrimony. Many religious groups are better at teaching the moral basis of marriage.

At the least, however, this federally funded training which aims to improve communication skills may prepare more couples for married life beyond love at first sight and may save many couples from resorting to divorce.

The "healthy marriage" program began in 2005 with Congress committing $100 million a year for five years (and another $50 million a year to promote fatherhood). But now as that program runs out, a number of Democrats on Capitol Hill, backed by a lobby that backs alternative lifestyles, are trying to end the funding. They see the program as a Bush-era relic and as a conservative cause or an unnecessary federal hand in a private matter.

Fortunately, President Obama is a fan of marriage education workshops, when they are offered on a voluntary basis. His current budget proposes to keep the funding although it remains unknown how much he will fight for it.

In his book, "The Audacity of Hope," Mr. Obama wrote: "Policies that strengthen marriage for those who choose it and that discourage unintended births outside of marriage are sensible goals to pursue."

As a child of divorce, Obama knows marriage is not the sole answer to lifting Americans out of poverty. But if enough people ask for such government assistance, they deserve it. The president needs to take a stronger stand on behalf of this program before it slips away quietly in Congress.

Copyright 2009 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

Comments

      The first report above adds perspective to a major goal of this nonprofit Web site - preventing epidemic American divorce. The traits of separating and divorcing (Australian) couples offer no compelling answer to the complex question "Should we marry?" They are also superficial, compared to the five core factors and these pre-divorce danger signs that my 30-year clinical research suggests. The article's theme ("Love is not enough") is beyond debate. For more commentary on this Australian study, see this.

      The second article documents the recent American trend toward fewer marriages and more cohabiting and unwed child conceptions. It proposes that renewing the government pro-marriage initiative is warranted.

      The article makes no attempt to explain the decline in marriage, and only hints at the unhealthy impact on kids of unwed parents. Like this Web site, the government initiative notes one of the key causes of U.S. marital and family stress - ineffective communication.

      A disturbing implication of this article is that - despite epidemic U.S. divorce and Congressional support, healthy marriage, parenting, and families are not high American priorities now. That silently promotes the lethal [wounds + unawareness] cycle that is inexorably weakening our society. Legislators who want to stop funding the Bush-era pro-marriage program demonstrate how tragic ignorance promotes this cycle.

      Obama doesn't need to take a stronger stand promoting marriage - the American public needs to!

self-improvement Lessons 1 thru 4 in this Web site promote satisfying relationships - including marriage. Also see these other brief news items on marriage and divorce.

Peter Gerlach, MSW .

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