The Marriage-Go-Round

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Adam's Apple, Mar 22, 2005.

  1. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    I am printing the entire article because it comes from a paid subscription site that you would not be able to access unless you were a subscriber.

    Once Bitten, Never Shy?
    Rebecca Robbins, The Herald-Times
    March 22, 2005

    April is just around the bend; love is in the air; and here come the bridal shows. It's spring-training time for prom-goers, wedding planners and divorce lawyers. For notwithstanding statistics that 50 percent of first marriages and 60 percent of second marriages end in divorce, Americans optimistically continue to tie, untie and re-tie the knot. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 90 percent of Americans will marry at some point during their lifetimes, and 75 percent of those who married once will marry again.

    Not only are subsequent marriages more likely to fail, but they are more likely to fail more quickly. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median length of a first marriage is 7.8 years for men and 7.9 years for women. Second marriages that followed a divorce last a median of 7.3 years for men and 6.8 years for women.

    So why DO we keep doing it? I'm not a psychologist or sociologist, but based on personal as well as professional experience, I have a few speculations.

    • Perhaps there is something in our biological makeup that refuses to give up on love. The compulsion to mate and nest may be something we are incapable of resisting.

    • We are social creatures, and in our culture, the marriage is still considered to be the bedrock of the family unit.

    • Marriage establishes property rights and thus financial security. (If people could figure out that this is why same-sex partners want the right to marry, we might get somewhere in that debate. Oops, that's another column.)

    • We blame the failed marriage(s) on the former spouse. Because we'll choose better this time, this marriage will work. Never mind that we haven't learned a thing about how to communicate well or how to manage joint finances.

    • We bail out at the first sign of conflict. Marriage is supposed to be hearts and flowers, not chores and money. Because we are ill-equipped to deal with conflict, when an argument arises, we use one of our favorite techniques from the first marriage: Withdraw and Sulk, Smile and Ignore It, or Flee and Stray … to someone who surely "understands" us better. Never mind that none of these worked when we tried them in our previous marriage. It's not about us, remember?

    • Maybe we like the official-ness of marriage. By becoming legal, the relationship bears a certificate of authenticity that will surely survive the messy stuff of life.

    • The entertainment industry feeds our compulsion to wed. If the batchelorette can find Prince Charming, we can, too.

    • Technology makes it so easy to find the perfect match. All we have to do is sit down at the computer to check the weather, and a new online matchmaking service pops up to tell us that the perfect mate is waiting for us if we answer 200 or so personal profile questions and pay a monthly fee. One site I visited while preparing this column actually contains a link to a do-it-yourself divorce site.

    And so we keep courting, marrying, divorcing and courting all over again. Some even re-marry the person they divorced. Meanwhile, the pre-nuptial agreements and the divorce settlement agreements keep flowing.

    A divorced friend of mine owns an iron that used to belong to her ex-husband's first wife; it has been listed among the court-filed inventory of three different marital households. My friend says she hasn't had much luck with men, but the iron has held up pretty well. Has she given up on the institution of marriage? Of course not; she's hoping to meet someone nice … at her brother's (second) wedding in May.
     
  2. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    I think she should stick with the iron !! :laugh:
     
  3. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    Yeah, it's more solid than hooking up with another loser. :)

    Seriously, I don't know what has happened to marriage with the younger set these days. They just can't seem to make marriage work. I think a lot of it is due to the fact they are just too lazy and uninterested in making it work. Unless it is easy, they have no interest in pursuing it. In my extended family, we have gone to so many second and third marriages for nieces and nephews that it is unbelievable. And these young people come from families where there has not been one divorce among the parents. One nephew is not 40 years old yet, and he is on his 4th wife! We not only have serial TV these days, but we have serial marriage as well.
     
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  4. dmp
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    dmp Senior Member

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    Is It Really 50 Percent?

    by Rich Buhler

    It’s been called America’s most-often-cited statistic. It’s so widely held to be true that it is repeated without question by authors, speakers, broadcasters, politicians, counselors and ministers.

    Here are some examples from just a few Web sites on the Internet:

    “Fifty percent of marriages will end in divorce.”

    — An infidelity support group

    “Fifty percent of all marriages now end in divorce.”

    — Promotion for a book on divorce

    “Fifty percent of all marriages in America end in divorce.”

    — From the treasurer’s office of a Midwestern state

    “Over 50 percent of marriages end in divorce.”

    — From a men’s counseling center in California

    Divorce is too common in America and that should not be taken lightly, but those who are committed to a lifetime of marriage don’t need the discouragement accompanying the notion that half the marriages are going to self-destruct anyway.

    I was once told by a young bride-to-be that she and her fiance had decided not to say “Till death do us part” in their wedding vows because the odds of it really happening were only 50-50.

    Let me say it straightforwardly: Fifty percent of American marriages are not ending in divorce. It’s fiction. A myth. A tragically discouraging urban legend.

    If there’s no credible evidence that half of American marriages will end up in divorce court, where did that belief originate?

    Demographers say there was increased focus on divorce rates during the 1970s when the number of divorces rose, partly as a result of no-fault divorce. Divorces peaked in 1979 and articles started appearing that claimed 50 percent of American marriages were ending in divorce.

    A spokesperson for the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics told me that the rumor appears to have originated from a misreading of the facts. It was true, he said, if you looked at all the marriages and divorces within a single year, you’d find that there were twice as many marriages as divorces. In 1981, for example, there were 2.4 million marriages and 1.2 million divorces. At first glance, that would seem like a 50-percent divorce rate.

    Virtually none of those divorces was among the people who had married during that year, however, and the statistic failed to take into account the 54 million marriages that already existed, the majority of which would not see divorce.

    Another source for the 50-percent figure could be those who were trying to predict the future of divorce. Based on known divorce records, they projected that 50 percent of newly married young people would divorce. University of Chicago sociologist and researcher Linda Waite told USA Today that the 50-percent divorce stats were based more on assumptions than facts.

    So what is the divorce picture in America? Surprisingly, it’s not easy to get precise figures because some states don’t report divorces to the National Center for Health Statistics, including one of the largest: California.

    Some researchers have relied on surveys rather than government statistics. In his book Inside America in 1984, pollster Louis Harris said that only about 11 or 12 percent of people who had ever been married had ever been divorced. Researcher George Barna’s most recent survey of Americans in 2001 estimates that 34 percent of those who have ever been married have ever been divorced.

    One of the latest reports about divorce was released this year by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). It is based on a 1995 federal study of nearly 11,000 women ages 15-44. It predicted that one-third of new marriages among younger people will end in divorce within 10 years and 43 percent within 15 years. That is not a death sentence, however; it’s a forecast. Martha Farnsworth Riche, former head of the Census Bureau, told USA Today, “This is what is going to happen unless we want to change it.”

    Most important, the statistics and predictions about Americans in general don’t tell the whole story about the future. There are other factors that affect a person’s chances for a long marriage. The NCHS study of women, for example, shows that age makes a difference. Women marrying before age 20 face a higher risk for divorce. Marriages that have already lasted for a number of years are less likely to end in divorce. If your parents did not divorce, your chances are better than if you came from a broken home. Couples who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce.

    The bottom line is that marriage is still what it’s always been: a commitment between [a man and a woman] who choose to remain faithful to each other. And they don’t need to feel doomed because of scary statistics — least of all ones that are urban myths.

    :)
     
  5. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    I think a lot of people see marriage as something to do while it's convenient for them - but at the first sign of trouble, it's time to bail out, because it's too hard. Frankly, if states would outlaw no-fault divorce, I think people would either work harder at their marriages, or not get married as quickly, without thinking about the commitment they are getting into.
     
  6. no1tovote4
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    no1tovote4 VIP Member

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    I think it is because they believe in that whole all encompasing love that is so rare that I have never actually seen it. Nobody teaches these people that keeping a family together is work and compromise. People spend years preparing for a Wedding, but spend almost no time at all preparing for the Marriage.
     
  7. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    I think people are just plain emotionally lazy and if the current situation isn't working they dash off again to look for something that feels better
     
  8. no1tovote4
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    no1tovote4 VIP Member

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    As I said, they expect it all to be puppy dogs and sex, and an occasional pony for the kids. Their expectations are limited to self-satisfaction and joy never considering the more difficult aspects of a marriage.
     
  9. Trinity
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    Trinity VIP Member

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    Hey can I get the link to that do it yourself divorce? I'm serious!
     
  10. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    Have no idea how to connect to the "Do Your Own Divorce" website. Do a search for "Do Your Own Divorce" and see what comes up.
     

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