Social Trends and the Family

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Myths About Family Life

There are many myths when it comes to families. Some of these myths are that:

  • We’ve lost the extended family
  • Opposites attract
  • People marry because they love each other
  • Having children increases marital satisfaction
  • A good sex life is the best predictor of marital satisfaction
  • Half of marriages end in divorce

Today I want to touch on the last myth; half of marriages end in divorce.

“Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce.” I am sure that many of you have heard this statement, but hopefully you have also heard that this statement is inaccurate.

“Millions of Americans, including many professionals, assert that half of all marriages will fail. The statistic causes many people anxiety as they contemplate marriage. Ironically the statistic isn’t true.”

Predicting failure rates is very complex. You cannot just take the number of marriages per year and the number of divorces to get the statistic because there are still many couples who were married prior to the year in question that stay married. And then there are many who are single now because they were divorced in previous years. In order to get a better statistic, you’d have to use statistics from people who have died and see if they were ever divorced. It’s also important to take into account the different factors that affect marriages such as social background, education, income, religion, etc.

“If you have a fairly good education (some college or more) and a good income, come from an intact family, have a religious affiliation, and marry after the age of 25 without having a baby before marrying, your chances of divorce are very low indeed (National Marriage Project 2009:80).”

I think this is very important for young people to understand. Maybe we fall short in one of these areas, maybe we don’t come from an intact family, but the chances for having a successful marriage are high. Marriage requires selflessness, hard work, commitment, trust, humility, time and a lot of patience, but anyone is capable of having a happy and successful marriage.


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