Archive for the 'Marriage' Category

Happy Kids Divorce More

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

Happy kids stand a better chance of growing up into happy adults, but surprisingly they are more likely to divorce.

Psychologists from the University of Cambridge and the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing have identified a link between positive teen years and a sense of well-being in midlife, and a recent study looking into the effect a happy adolescence has on adult life found that most outcomes are better for happier teens. However, a startling fact also emerged: happy teens are more likely to divorce.

The researchers used data from 2,776 teens that participated in a 1946 British birth cohort study. Teachers rated the children at ages 13 and 15 on whether they exhibited any of four different measures of happiness: “very popular with other children”; “unusually happy and contented”; “makes friends extremely easily”; and “extremely energetic, never tired.” Students were also rated for negative conduct (restlessness, daydreaming, disobedience, lying, etc) and emotional problems (anxiety, fearfulness, diffidence, avoidance of attention, etc).  Researchers also adjusted for social class of origin, childhood intelligence and education. Based on the answers, the group was divided into three: those with none of the positive markers, those with one, and those with two or more. Then at ages 36, 43, and 53, researchers went back to the same people to measure their incidence of mental disorder, life satisfaction (participants rated themselves), and social lives.

Teens in one of the positive categories grew up to have more social contact and higher life satisfaction. Perhaps most pressingly, those with one positive rating were 21 percent less likely to have mental health problems in their adult life, and those with two positive ratings were 60 percent less likely.

But teens who received two positive ratings were also significantly more likely to divorce than those with one or no positive ratings. While 20.4 percent of this happiest group had divorced at some point (of those who had been married), 16.5 and 16.3 percent of those with one or no positive ratings divorced, respectively.

On the other hand, there was no link between being a happy child and having an increased likelihood of getting married.  In fact, “happy” children were more likely to get divorced. Researchers hypothesize that perhaps happier people have stronger self-esteem or self-efficacy and are therefore more willing and able to leave a bad marriage.

“The benefits to individuals, families and to society of good mental health, positive relationships and satisfying work are likely to be substantial,” said Dr. Felicia Huppert, one of the authors of the paper and director of the Well-being Institute at the University of Cambridge.

Researchers expressed surprise that happy children divorced because prior research did not point to that. Happy children are much more likely to get married, Dr. Huppert said.

Dr. Huppert speculates that positive kids are more likely to eventually divorce because happy children are likely to be more confident and have more friends and family and are more likely to be supported. If they find themselves in a sad position where their marriage has broken down, they might be able to leave it.

Happiness is based on teacher rating when the cohort members were aged 13 and 15. It rated many things–conduct, behavior–and a handful of questions.

Typical outcomes for happy kids are up to their mid-fifties, and they were 60 percent less likely to have any mental disorder at all. And given the devastating effect of mental disorder on people, their families, and society, it’s a huge difference. It supports the idea that we need to put effort to the early years to make sure all children have the best start they can.

Researchers only looked at the childrens’ happiness based on those teacher ratings, not any other factors in the kids’ lives–whether their parents had divorced, for example–or just whether or not they themselves were happy.

The kids who were happy when they were young may have come from happier homes and know what a good relationship is like and maybe they were more likely to recognize when they didn’t have one.

Dr. Huppert expressed interest in knowing whether the kinds of divorces they had were different–whether they ended up in more amicable divorces.

Marriage, Divorce and the Working Class Blues

Friday, November 18th, 2016

Of all the milestones on the road to adulthood, poorer and less well-educated Americans are taking a pass at one of the important — marriage.
The trend began four decades ago, but has become more pronounced as it has become more visible. Since 1970, each cohort of young adults has been less likely to marry than the previous generation. The trend can be attributed to the fact that people marry when they are older, and Pew projects that a quarter of young adults will remain unmarried by 2030 — the highest share in modern history.

Amid ever widening economic inequalities, poorer and less educated Americans no longer marry and build up a nest egg as a but rather build up their household prior to marriage. This appears to be a return to a time when people believed they needed a measure of establishment before walking down the aisle. In other words, marriage has gone from being a way that people pulled their lives together to something they agree to once they have already done that independently.

Commentators at both ends of the political spectrum debate the relationship among marriage, parenthood and poverty, but young people seem to believe marriage is not necessary. This shift could reshape not just American families, but also policies like those around taxes, children and entitlements.

In many ways, the retreat from marriage is the result of evolving gender roles, but the decline in marriage is also a result of the country’s deepening socioeconomic divide. Until a few decades ago, marriage was mostly an economic equation, according to Nobel Prize winning economist Gary Becker. Husbands earned money to support a family; wives ran the household.

The rise of birth control, household technology and women in the work force made marriage became less about economics and more about love, according to historian Stephanie Coontz, the author of Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage.

Educated, high-income people still marry at high rates and stay married, according to economists and demographers who study the issue. Remaining unmarried is more common among the less educated, blacks and the young, Pew found, and so is divorce.

Men remain unmarried more frequently than women — 23 percent to 17 percent. Part of that is linked to the fact that the share of men aged 25 to 54 who are not working has been increasing for 50 years. At the same time, 78 percent of never-married women say that a mate with a steady job is more important than any other quality in a spouse. Pew analyzed the pool of employed, unmarried men, compared with all unmarried women. There are 65 employed men for every 100 women.

The job market is not friendly to men who do not have a college degree and this man doesn’t appear to be a good prospect for women said Isabel Sawhill, co-director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution and the author of Generation Unbound: Drifting Into Sex and Parenthood Without Marriage.

Yet she said it‘s not entirely an economic phenomenon; it’s also one about shifting social roles. Professional men are not threatened by women who do well for herself professionally she said. On the other hand, the working class man is a little threatened or intimidated by a woman who makes more money than he does and as a result makes more demands.

And as modern marriages have become more about love than about survival, it has become an indulgence that is easier for well-off people to take advantage of, said Justin Wolfers, an economist who has studied marriage and divorce. The benefits of sharing passions are more likely to accrue to people who have the time and money to invest in them, he said.

Remarriage after Divorce

Friday, February 20th, 2015

According to statistics, some 80% of divorcees marry again; however, the numbers for divorces from the second and, even third, marriage get worse and worse. Very often when a marriage flounders, one or both partners blame the other. “Because, they do not see themselves as responsible for the previous marriage ending. Generally, they are more likely to believe their partner’s behaviors caused the divorce, and minimize the influence of their own actions.”

People who can accept their part of the responsibility for the marital failure of the first marriage have a better chance making the second marriage work. Before a second trip to the altar, a person should take a look – a hard look — at his or her behavior in the last marriage. It doesn’t matter what the former spouse did; no doubt he or she played a part. By facing the faults of the face in the mirror, however, a person who can do this can be a part of the group whose remarriage is successful.

Some of the faults may have been a reaction to a spouse’s personality; some faults are going to stress a marriage no matter what the other person’s personality might be.

Many people believe that divorce is too easy and the ease of divorce reflects “a disposable culture where everything from water bottles to cars gets thrown away.” The culture of extreme individualism encourages the cult of self. “Individualists promote the exercise of one’s goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance while opposing most external interference upon one’s own interests, whether by society, family or any other group or institution, according to the dictionary. ” Individualism says “It’s all about me”; a successful marriage says “It’s all about us.”

Marriage Counseling Can Help

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Marriage counseling helps couples experiencing marital difficulties understand and resolve their problems. With the help of licensed therapist, couples communicate more effectively with each other so that they negotiate their differences and take the edge off their conflicts. Couples improve their relationships, particularly during crisis situations.

Depending on the troubles of the marriage, counseling may require only a few sessions, or sessions of at least once each week for several months of counseling.

Each partner analyzes the relationship in an attempt to identify the origin of conflicts.

The marriage counselor is a trained therapist who acts as a mediator guiding the partners who come to understand their differences. The spouses learn to compromise and solve their problems in a practical manner.

Couples normally talk about their problems with some difficulty. The marriage counselor improves communication between the spouses, encouraging them to discuss their differences with each other honestly and rationally. The counselor never takes sides in couples’ disputes but he or she may referee.

Finding the right therapist is central to effective marriage counseling. Both partners need to work with someone whom they are at ease. Even the best therapist cannot cure the ills of the marriage, so spouses must explore issues they might have been avoiding. No matter how serious the problems, marriage counseling means the partners still prize their marriage and are seeking help.

During counseling, couples often get along better because they know that they will have an opportunity to air their grievances. In counseling couples examine the bad aspects of their relationship and rediscover the good ones.

A marriage counselor is a licensed mental health professional that specializes in marriage and/or family counseling. Licensing requirements vary by state, but a couple should look for a marriage counselor or family therapist credentialed by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). In most jurisdictions, therapists must have a master’s or doctoral degree and advanced training under experts in the field.

… And They Lived Happily Ever After

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

“All you need is love” goes the refrain of the popular song by the Beatles, but when it comes to marriage it appears that much less romantic considerations determine the success or failure of a relationship. Yes, couples do live happily after going down the aisle, but whether both or one or neither of them smoke cigarettes may be more of a factor in the long-term success than their love.

A couple’s age, previous relationships and even whether they smoke or not are factors that influence whether their marriage is going to last, according to a study by researchers from the Australian National University.

The study — “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” — tracked nearly 2,500 couples from 2001 to 2007 to identify factors associated with those who remained together compared with those who divorced or separated.

The study says “‘good’ marriages – those at lower risk of dissolution” can be identified in “‘laundry’ list [that] might read”:

> husband 1 year to 3 years older than wife

> husband and wife have similar preference for a(nother) child

> husband and wife have same level of education

> Both consume 0-2 standard drinks per day

> Both do not smoke

> Equivalized income of $30,000 to 39,000

> Husband work 35 or more hours per week

> Husband perceives the family as comfortable to prosperous

> Both sets of parents did not separate/divorce

> Husband’s age at marriage is 30-34

> No children born before marriage

> The wife would like another child

Among other conclusions, the study stated that

> a husband who is nine or more years older than his wife is twice as likely to get divorced, as are husbands who get married before they turn 25;

> one-fifth of couples who have kids before marriage — either from a previous relationship or in the same relationship — having separated compared to just nine percent of couples without children born before marriage;

> women who want children much more than their partners are also more likely to get a divorce;

> some 16 percent of men and women whose parents ever separated or divorced experienced marital separation themselves compared to 10 percent for those whose parents did not separate;

> partners on their second or third marriage are 90 percent more likely to separate than spouses who are both in their first marriage;

> up to 16 percent of respondents who indicated they were poor or where the husband — not the wife — was unemployed saying they had separated, compared with only nine percent of couples with healthy finances;

> couples where one partner, and not the other, smokes are also more likely to have a relationship that ends in failure.

Woman and Marriage after 40

Friday, November 11th, 2011

In the mid-1980s, an infamous story in Newsweek infuriated feminists by asserting that a single, college-educated 40-year old woman was more likely to die in a terrorist attack that walk down the aisle as a bride. The claim, which worked its way into movies and sitcoms, suggests that these educated women faced the fate of ending their lives as unmarried women.

A recent briefing paper from the Council on Contemporary Families states that historically woman with a college degree have been the “least likely” group to ever marry, these numbers are changing with every decade.

The report, by economists Betsey Stevenson and student Adam Isen of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, analyzes the data on marriage, education and women and suggest that for college-educated woman who hope to marry, the news is good.

In 1950, 90 percent of the white female high school graduates had married by the age of 40, compared to 85 percent of the college-educated women. Thirty years later, educated women began closing the gap. In 1980, 92 percent of the 40-year old white college graduates had married, compared with 96 percent of the high school graduates. Since then, marriage rates have fallen for all groups, but the chance of a woman marrying by 40 with or without a degree is about the same.

The paper illuminates the marriage over 40 question. College-educated woman who are unmarried at 40 are twice as likely to marry in the next 10 years as unmarried woman who have only high school educations.