Thursday, January 31, 2013

Marriage Part 1

I recently finished reading, "The Meaning of Marriage," by Timothy Keller.  So I hope to share over the next several weeks some insights into marriage I gleaned from this book.  Maybe give a few of my own words of wisdom as well.  So if you are married, hope to be married, even single, or single again, I hope these blogs help you. 

Over the last 40 years healthy marriages have been on the decline.  The divorce rate is twice the rate it was in 1960.  In 1970, 89% of births were to married parents, but today only 60% are.  72% of American adults were married in 1960, but only 50% in 1980.

There is weariness about marriage in our culture, especially among younger adults.  There is a belief that most marriages will fail and the ones that do not will become boring emotional and sexually.  Comedian Chris Rock said, “Do you want to be single and lonely, or married and bored.  We have started to believe those are our only two options.  Many have opted for something in the middle of marriage and just sexual encounter, cohabitation with a sexual partner.
Today almost 50% of people live together before marriage.  Almost no one did in 1960

Living together before marriage, many argue, improves your chances of making a good marriage choice.  They feel it helps you discover if you are compatible before you take the plunge.

The problem with this argument is, statistically speaking, it is wrong.

Studies tell us if you live together before marriage you are more likely to break up and even divorce if you marry.  Our society does not want to go through the painful divorce our parents went through, but the cure we have come up with may be worse than the alleged disease.

While it is true 45% of marriages end in divorce, but far the greatest percentage of divorce happens to those who marry before age 18, who have dropped out of high school, and who have a baby together before marrying.  So if you a reasonable well educated person with a decent income, come from intact family and are religious, and marry after age 25, without having a baby before you marry, your chances of divorce are low indeed. 

Many people cohabitate before marriage because they want to own a home and be financially secure before marriage.  They assume marriage is a drain on finances.  But studies show that retirees who are continuously married throughout life have 75% more income than those who never married, or divorced and stayed divorced, or had multiple divorces.  Married men make 10 to 40% more income than single men with similar education and job history.   The reason for this may be in marriage you have someone to support you emotionally during hard times.  You also have someone to hold you accountable on a daily bases.          

So, that is where we are as a society.  I think it has not made us stronger.  I believe God has a good plan for us and marriage and a plan for those who are single.  So over the next several weeks, I hope we learn a better way.

What are your feelings about the decline of marriage in our western society?

How do you feel about our society moving toward a cohabitation normality?

The Meaning Of Marriage, Timothy Keller pg 22-24

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