Marriage Stands Up for Itself

In an interesting study (particularly with the news about Sanford), researchers found that usually infidelity does not result in a divorce. Moreover, for a number of reasons (like folks waiting longer to marry) the divorce rate is actually falling.

“Despite strong social riptides working against it — the liberalization of divorce laws, the vanishing stigma of divorce, the continual online temptations of social sites like MySpace or Facebook — the marriage bond is far stronger in 21st-century America than many may assume. Infidelity is one of the most common reasons cited by people who divorce. But surveys find the majority of people who discover a cheating spouse remain married to that person for years afterward. Many millions more shrug off, or work through, strong suspicions or evidence of infidelity. And recent trends in marriage suggest that the institution itself has become more resilient in recent years, not less so.”

nytimes.com/2009/06/28/fashion/28marriage.html?ref=todayspaper

I can believe this just from looking around my office. Just about all my co-workers are married. They just about all lived together prior to marrying. There ought to be quite a few divorces amongs them. Nope. Not one! And these are, by and large, not terribly religious people. Most are C&E Christians if that. However, they have a real devotion to their children and that seems to be what binds their marriages together. In fact, it appears to be what moves them from living together to getting married. Couples will live together for 3-5 years without having children, then about a year after marrying, the couple will have their first child. Now these are upper middle class professional people, so this could just be class behavior.

The article notes that the divorce rate is higher for folks with less money. I always felt that money problems cause more divorce than anything else.

Actually, I think the rise in unwed births and the rise in the age of folks’ first marriage has caused the divorce rate to fall. There used to be a lot a pregnant, 19 year old brides.

That makes sense, but I think the “waiting longer to marry” hides another reality. The article doesn’t mention it, but I wonder what percentage of the population chooses to “live together” rather than marry in their younger relationships. How many of those relationships have children? How many split up? Our society, when it comes to relationships is pretty messed up. The fact that divorce rate has dropped is not evidence to me of improvement…just a change.

Divorce is a financial danger to the participants and really scars the kids. Less divorce is an improvement. And I think the article mentions couples cohabiting.

I think the real message in the news article is not the supposed drop in the rate of divorce, but promoting the idea that infidelity in marriage is a common occurance. While it is certainly true that temptations are always present, many couples remain faithful to their promise to each other. The notion of “others are doing it, so it must not be that bad” has caused many to sin when they should have instead heard about the danger of playing with fire.

Less divorce is an improvement. I just don’t think it is a huge improvement.

Kids from cohabitating couples who split are just as scarred…sometimes more so due to the casual nature of their parents’ relationship.

I’m not sure about “financial danger.” What are you referring to? Alimony costs? Child support? Is there no “financial danger” to people who cohabitate and split? I realize there is no alimony, but if they buy a house together (some do) and have kids, then the consequences are pretty similar.

Well, you have to understand the current, enlightened mindset. You see, multiple partners is “natural.” Look to the animal world. It is more common in the animal world to see multiple partners, rather than monogamous relationships. This whole single spouse for eternity thing is just completely outdated. Only traditional minded, fundamentalists (you know, the new “terrorists”) would be in favor of such a thing. :rolleyes:

Actually no. Marriage entails a lot of financial entanglements like pensions (which are just joint checking accounts), equitable property separation, and marital support. None of this happens when roommates split. Throw in child support and the financial picture is truly tangled.

Now, for the most part, the only thing argued about in marital court is child support, marital support and property separation; not who did what to whom.

Okay, thanks. So, the only thing the cohabitating have as issues financially is child support. Understood.

[quote=Beau Ouiville]Now, for the most part, the only thing argued about in marital court is child support, marital support and property separation; not who did what to whom.
[/quote]

No argument here…I didn’t mention anything about “who did what to whom.” Again, from a child’s perspective, I don’t see where there is any difference between married/divorced parents and cohabitating/split parents…except for the modeling by the latter that marriage is unimportant and by the former that it really isn’t “for richer or poorer til death do us part.”

I still stand by my points that the drop in divorce rates is not a very big deal. I wasn’t looking at the financial effects of pensions and such. I guess that is important to those involved. If that is really important to you, then I can see why the minor drop in divorce rates is a big deal.

From a society perspective though, I think things are still bad and getting worse. Cohabitation is the norm now among young adults. Marriage is more a legal formality than a sacrament for many, many people. From the looks of things, our society is going to continue to move in that direction.

OK, in my blinding display og ignorence for the day, what exactly is C&E Christians?

Christians who go to church only on Christmas and Easter.

IIRC the statistic is that about 50% of marriage attempts end in divorce.

Merely looking around the office doesn’t necessarily tell you the tale. It seems to me there are three major times when marriages collapse. The first is within the first couple of years. The second is between year 5 and 9 and the third is when the empty nest period begins.

Check the article. It casts doubt on that factoid.

It tries to cast doubt, but it seems to be moving the goalposts to me.

It looks to me like they are deliberately setting time frames to try to exclude the third major divorce point (empty nesters) from their data.

On the other hand, it wouldn’t really surprise me if the divorce rate declines from its peak levels during the Baby Boomer era. They’re an outlier in nearly everything studied. :frowning:

I dunno… I think the explanation that people who marry later tend to have lower divorce rates makes sense. Someone who is 29 is likely to have established their personality and less likely to change in unexpected ways , than someone who is 22. Hence you would be less likely to get into a situation where you think “This isn’t the person I married.” Its easier to get along with someone like you, than someone who is different

…especially after cohabitating with a couple of different partners… :frowning:

Most of the people I know lived together before marriage, but usually just with each other. It’s almost a form of handfasting now, like the old time Scots had. Just another aspect of courtship. This is one area where social classes are different. The upper middle class seldom have children out of wedlock while living with someone unless they’re getting into biological clock issues. I think it’s just because they have access to much more reliable birth control and because the costs of out of wedlock births are perceived to be higher by them.

Right - cohabitation and/or children out of wedlock and/or birth control and/or abortion…but the good news is that the divorce rate is down. :thumbsup::frowning:

All I am saying is that the ends don’t justify the means. To get excited about lower divorce rates doesn’t make sense, when the most probable reason for the lower rates is a whole host of sins. :shrug:

Agreed.
All that the cohapitation does is lower the true meaning of the marriage.

At some point people can look at the lowered divorce rate and rightfully ask “So what?”

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.