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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. -
+ + +.
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
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.
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.
Obama needs to act on
By the Christian Science Monitor's
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
Copyright © 2009 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.
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
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
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 -