Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Friday, May 5, 2023

How Do We Form Stronger Families?

Marriage strengthens families, communities, and nations, and the changes to marriage bring both strengths and weaknesses. My textbook has proportions for the different living conditions for children in 1960 to those in 2014.

                                                                                     1960    2014

Two parents in first marriage                                      75%     47%

Two parents in second marriage                                  14%     15%

Cohabitating parents                                                   ----         7%

Single parents                                                                9%      26%

No parent                                                                      4%         5%

 According to the above figures, the number of children living with their biological parents dropped by more than one-third, but children living in a second marriage increased only one percent. Cohabiting parents came on the scene sometime in the 50-year period, but single parents nearly tripled. Remarriage involving children is not a good option because forty percent of such marriages end in divorce within ten years. Those are all interesting proportions. (Source: Robert Siegler, Jenny R. Saffran, Nancy Eisenberg, Judy DeLoache, and Elizabeth Gershoff with help from Campbell [2017]. How Children Develop, 5th ed., pp. 512, 518.)

A recent study titled What’s the Plan? Cohabitation, Engagement, and Divorce (2023) by Scott M. Stanley and Galena K. Rhodes has some interesting information. The study found that 50 to 65 percent of Americans believe that cohabitation before marriage will strengthen a later marriage. Yet, statistics show that cohabitating couples who marry have a higher risk of divorce than couples who do not cohabitate prior to the wedding ceremony. Here are the key takeaways of the study. 

• Not living together before marriage, or only doing so after already being engaged to marry, is associated with a lower likelihood of marriages ending than living together before being engaged.

• Couples might lower their risks of divorce by having clear intentions to marry before moving in together or by waiting until marriage to live together.

• Reasons for moving in together also matter: People who reported that their top reason for moving in together was either to test the relationship or because it made sense financially were more likely to see their marriages end than those who did so because they wanted to spend more time with their partner.

• Having a greater number of prior cohabiting partners is associated with a higher likelihood of marriages ending.

• Talking about what living together means and making a decision together about it (rather than sliding into it) might help lower the risk of marital difficulties for some couples who will live together before marriage. Clarifying marital intentions may be a particularly important goal for such discussions.

Although the percentage of people cohabitating is smaller than those married, the takeaways listed above show that there are dangers to cohabitation. The myth that cohabitation is preparation for marriage needs to be debunked because it does not strengthen marriages. Stronger marriages make stronger families, communities, and nations.


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