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Posts Tagged ‘Marriage’

Healthy Choices Include Marriage

In Cohabitation, Marriage on March 31, 2014 at 3:35 pm

marriage and ringsStephanie Hubbard

Over the past four years I have lived the typical college lifestyle. I thrived on ramen and macaroni, pulled several all-nighters and amazingly functioned on little sleep. Not only did I endure the physical deprivations to my health, but also withstood the psychological stress associated with college life. Anyone who has gone to college understands the unhealthy lifestyle students embrace and the sacrifices made to gain an education.

So now I’m free. I’m free to develop the habits and skills needed to live a long and happy life. So where does one begin? Of course it is important to exercise, eat right, and develop healthy habits, but something that is important for our physical and psychological health is relationships. The quality of our relationships has a tremendous effect on our physical and psychological health; especially romantic ones. The path that most college graduates are following is the path of cohabitation. Almost half of college graduates cohabitate­­­­­­­­. You graduate from college, get your career, and want to settle down with somebody. Unfortunately a lot of young adults aren’t settling down the traditional way; they cohabitate rather than get married.

Research is now showing that marriage may be the answer to healthy living, as opposed to cohabitation. One study showed that married couples are healthier than cohabitating couples. These couples spent less time in the hospital, had better sleep patterns, a healthier BMI, and less psychological distress. Another study showed that when couples either divorced or became widowed, they had a decline in physical health. When we compare that to statistics showing that cohabitating couples have a 46 percent higher divorce risk than those that don’t, we find that cohabitation has a greater effect on heath than most realize.

When you graduate and start working in your dream job, you land on working there for a while; retire when you’re 65 and enjoy the next 20 years basking in the sun. Many college grads, and first-time business workers envy the elderly in their freedom and ability to relax. But maybe if we marry, we would actually extend our lives. Research has also shown that mortality rate is drastically affected by marriage. Single men have a 250 percent higher mortality rate than married men. Other facts show us that:

  • A married man who smokes more than a pack a day can expect to live as long as a divorced man who doesn’t smoke.
  • Unmarried people spend twice as much time in hospitals as married people.
  • Cancer cures are 8 to 17 percent more successful when a patient is married; research showed being married was comparable to being in an age category 10 years younger.

*Retrieved from: http://www.everydayhealth.com/family-health/understanding/benefits-of-tying-the-knot.aspx

We’re living in a world where people are overwhelmingly consumed with their appearance and the individual happiness. We want to pursue love, but not commit to love. Societal trends are teaching us that we can have the romantic benefits without the financial and emotional tie down if we just live together rather than say “I do.” But it seems that many people are avoiding the answer that may be the unexpected answer to our problems. We can’t ignore that the decline in health could be related to the lack of marriages in today’s country, nor the decline in overall happiness. When we tell our young people how to be successful and live a healthy life, instead of just focusing on the exercise and the eating right (which is important) maybe we need to emphasize the importance of pursuing and committing to healthy relationships.

Marriage certainly has its emotional and physical benefits, but that doesn’t mean marriage isn’t difficult and stressful. I, myself am not married, and I haven’t experienced the benefits marriage can have and how hard it can be. But when looking at the long-term benefits it seems to be worth it. College was hard, it was stressful, and I definitely wanted to give up a time or two, but the career will be worth it. Accomplishing and achieving hard things brings satisfaction. Taking the easy way doesn’t get you anywhere. Think about how hard it is to lose weight. I’ve never heard anyone say that losing weight was easy. Being and staying healthy isn’t easy! The things we do that are right and good are difficult, but when we develop the habits to do those things it gets easier. Instead of just living my life and taking the route of cohabitation (like most post-grads do), we might be better off making that commitment.

Good habits need to be developed when we are young. Just like eating right and obeying all the healthy living guidelines, I want to get married. Developing a good relationship is important with someone is important, but it is a better choice to marry them rather than just test the waters. We should encourage our youth to do the same. They are emerging from their adolescence with this idea that being self-centered is OK and that they should do the things that they want to do; that is what will make them happy. But maybe we need to point them in the direction of marriage, to look for a satisfying relationship that will enable them to be happier, live longer, and be more successful.

Stephanie Hubbard

 

Stephanie Hubbard is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University-Idaho receiving her undergraduate degree in Marriage and Family Studies with an emphasis in Child Development. She recently worked with United Families as an intern and hopes to make a difference in awareness and exposure to family life issues.

Fighting for “Happily Ever After”

In Families, Homosexuality, Marriage, Same-Sex Marriage on May 29, 2013 at 6:48 am

Snow WhiteAnnalise Harker

Once upon a time, in a land not far away, a young girl worked on washing a sink full of dirty dishes while singing “Someday My Prince Will Come” from the movie Snow White that she had just finished watching. As she scrubbed and sang, this young girl’s father came up behind her and said, “You know, it’s true. Someday your Prince will come. The important thing is that you make sure to become the Princess that he is looking for.”

That young girl was me, and this story marked the beginning of my conscious preparation for marriage. As I have looked forward to and prepared for that time, marriage has become very important to me. I now realize that marriage is not just a nice ending to a fairy tale, but the institution of marriage is critical to the well-being of all society.

The Threat to “Happily Ever After

As a young girl it made sense to me that princes married princesses and then they lived happily ever after. However, in our society today, there are those who would argue that princesses ought to be meeting princesses once upon a time, and that fairy tales should include princes living happily ever with other princes. This basic and fundamental idea that marriage is between one man and one woman is being challenged in the highest Court in the nation. The U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering arguments that Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act discriminate against gay and lesbian couples. Prop. 8 resulted in a state constitutional amendment that defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The Defense of Marriage Act currently defines the word marriage to mean a legal union between one man and one woman and reserves the power of defining marriage to the states.

Why Marriage Matters

Marriage is not just a nice idea that has been passed along through fairy tales. It is an institution that gives our society strength and stability. Research reports have found a “fundamental incapacity for the faithfulness and commitment that is axiomatic to the institution of marriage” in the same gender relationships. This lack of strength and stability in such a fundamental building block of society can significantly weaken societies. In general, we find that even the act of redefining marriage undermines support for marriage in society. In the six years following Spain’s redefinition of marriage, the overall rate of marriages fell a staggering twenty percent.

Looking further back into history, Arnold Toynbee wrote a twelve volume study on the rise and fall of civilizations, remarked:

“In human records there is no instance of a society retaining its energy after a complete new generation has inherited a tradition which does not insist on prenuptial and postnuptial continence.”

This observation makes the point that the success of society does rest upon its adherence to definitions of marriage.

Marriage defined as between one man and one woman is not just a nice idea that society came up with. There are simply some rules that are not up to us to make. Joseph Backholm wrote:


“We could pass a law banning gravity because it discriminates against wingless creatures, but the moment we launched ourselves off a building to celebrate our independence from it we would simply reinforce the limits of our legislative authority.

Natural marriage flows from the laws of nature. It is not a uniquely valuable relationship because people gathered in their caves eons ago and launched a campaign to stigmatize people attracted to the same sex. Marriage between a man and a woman is uniquely valuable because we are a gendered species. It is a biological reality that every child has a mom and dad. The fact that it is ideal for children to have both parents in their lives flows from nature, not from hatred of non-parents.  For those who are offended by this reality, their issue is not with you.

The ideas that parents are interchangeable will not survive because it cannot survive.  It cannot survive because it is inconsistent with reality. Fathers cannot mother, and mothers cannot father.”


family, extendedFighting for “Happily Ever After

If the definition of marriage is so basic and essential, why are there voices still crying for same gender relationships to become legally sanctioned? The traditional form of marriage is portrayed in many instances as a form of discrimination or intolerance. While it is true that there are unjust cases of discrimination against and intolerance of those with same gender attraction, that does not constitute a need for a redefinition of marriage.

Many would argue that an issue like this ought not to be tampered with by law because you cannot legislate morality. However, we do legislate morality, and it can even be said that law is an expression of a society’s morality. Others would say that love in and of itself ought to be a license to marry. Yet marriage is much more than a statement of love. It creates a framework upon which a society can be established and maintained and children can be successfully socialized.

Another often heard argument is that same gender relationships and marriages are a private thing, and would not influence those who chose not to participate. However, we have seen that these relationships do have a ripple effect that carries to children, violence and abuse rates, and the overall health and success of society.

The truth is that a homosexual marriage will impact my heterosexual one. According to Family Research Council, “Our public policy affects marriages and family formation, and because marriage is so foundational to a civil society, it is not just a private matter but affects entire communities and cultures.” If same-sex marriages are legalized, in the long run fewer people would marry, fewer people would remain monogamous and sexually faithful, fewer people would remain married for a lifetime, fewer children would be raised by a married mother and father, more children would grow up fatherless, and birth rates would fall. Yes, a homosexual marriage will impact my heterosexual one.

The truth is that no union other than that between one man and one woman will result in a happily ever after for our society.

So what can we do to protect a fairy tale ending? The fight to redefine marriage has been taken to the courts because it has not had success through the legislative process. This makes it critical for us to give support for constitutional amendments both at the state and federal levels. You can start by looking to see what measures your state has in place. The threat to our definition of happily ever after and the reality of that in society is real, but so are our opportunities to let our voice be heard.

Annalise  HarkerAnnalise Harker is a senior studying Marriage and Family at Brigham Young University-Idaho.  Through her studies, Annalise has developed a passion for educating others about healthy family practices.

Epidemic of Suicide on its way?

In Elder Care, Sanctity of Life on June 6, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Ann Bailey

Much is written and discussed about the youth suicide rate – be it from bullying or from the general stress of being young in today’s society.  But little attention is given to individuals on the other end of the spectrum – the age 60+ crowd.  More than 7,000 Americans age 60 or older commit suicide each year.  “As the population continues to age, the number of suicides by older adults is expected to climb as the ‘baby boomers’ reach older adulthood,” warns researcher Debra Karch.

What else factors into such a warning?  Karch has parsed the suicide data from 17 U.S. states during the years 2007 to 2009.  She found that the characteristic of “unmarried’ was over-represented in the numbers of seniors who commit suicide.  Of those who committed suicide during the years studied, almost two-thirds of women (63 percent) and almost half of men (47 percent) were single, divorced or widowed.   Marital status reveals itself as a highly significant predictor of suicide among older Americans. (p<0.001)

As the number of individuals who never marry or are divorced continues to rise, it is not a stretch to extrapolate that the relative number of seniors who commit suicide will also rise.  Is an epidemic of suicide on its way?  The sheer number of baby boomers who are rapidly turning gray tells us that this is a distinct possibility.  A crucial preventative measure appears to be the need to re-instill into society the importance of getting married and staying married.  The biological clock is definitely ticking.

Debra Karch, “Sex Differences in Suicide Incident Characteristics and Circumstances among Older Adults:  Surveillance Data from the National Violent Death Reporting System:  17 U.S. States, 2007-2009,” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 8.8 (August 23, 2011):  3470-3495. 

What Feminists Aren’t Telling You

In Feminism, Marriage, motherhood on April 2, 2012 at 8:22 am

For about 50 years radical feminists have been telling women that they don’t need men – let alone marry one – and the motherhood thing?  “Well, you’ll be healthier and happier with a high-powered career.”  Every dedicated feminist would probably tell you: “If in the end you decide you just have to have a family, make sure you think long and hard because bearing and rearing children is one of the main reasons why, over the centuries, women have been oppressed.”

Demographers at the Centres for Population Studies, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine* are telling a different story, however.  It turns out that if a woman wants to live a long and healthy life there are three things that she will want to consider.

1.  Get Married.

2.  Bear at least one child.      

3.  Stay married.

 “Women divorced within the last ten years had the highest mortality relative to women in long-term first marriages. Mortality was also raised among other divorced women, all widows, the never-married and the currently remarried who had previously been divorced…”

The researchers also identified “evidence for both protection and selection effects” of marriage.  Yes, those who would be most inclined to marry are more likely to have developed longevity-fostering habits and traits, but there is evidence that marriage itself bestows a protective effect upon men and women.  The combination of marital protection and marital selection bestows a huge advantage in terms of longevity.

In addition, childbearing emerges as a significant predictor of longevity for women, but it appears that there may be a “sweet spot” in terms of number of children.  Given the physiological strain of childbearing, it not entirely surprising that “women who had had five or more births had raised risks of mortality and of long-term illness in 1991 and 2001.”   Yet, women who have never given birth “had raised mortality risks and women who had only one birth had raised odds of long-term illness in 1991.”

When you add this study to an already existing large body of research that points to the importance of marriage for women, it makes you wonder how the feminist’s distortions about what is good for women continue to make the rounds.

*Data collected in 1991 and 2001 for approximately 75,000 English and Welsh men and women ages 69 to 71.

Emily M. D. Grundy and Cecilia Tomassini, “Marital History, Health and Mortality among Older Men and Women in England and Wales,” BMC Public Health 10 (September 15, 201): Pg. 554)

“If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it.”

In Abstinence, Cohabitation, Marriage on November 29, 2011 at 6:31 pm

By Danny Quinney

As you may or may not know, I’m not a professional writer.  I often think I should be.  If the truth be told, I’m just keeping my amateur status so I can write in the Olympics.  There are a few things I never do when writing.  The first is I never utilize gargantuan idioms to fabricate intelligence (use big words to sound smart).  The second is I never write unless I have had a few Diet Cokes.  I don’t like it when I have too much blood in my caffeine stream.  So, let me take a sip of Diet Coke and get started.

Earlier this week I read an article by Kate Bolick entitled “All the Single Ladies”. Let me tell you, it was a LOOOOONG article.  It went on and on and on and on and on and on AND ON.   Did I say it was long?  I believe it was just four paragraphs away from being  considered a novel.  Ms Bolick, in addition to being long winded, is also in the habit of utilizing gargantuan idioms, but in her case, she ain’t faking it.  It was a (long) veeeeerrrrrrry thorough article (long) covering many aspects of modern life, and was a (long) personal story of her decision process on putting off marriage.  It was long, but interesting and worth the read.

Ms. Bolick begins the article by recounting a story of a break-up that happened ten years ago.  She admits she was (and is) still fond of the man. Her friends were shocked at the break up.  She admits not being sure why they broke up.  She says, “To account for my behavior, all I had were two intangible yet undeniable convictions: something was missing; I wasn’t ready to settle down.”  She continued, “The decision to end a stable relationship for abstract rather than concrete reasons (“something was missing”), I see now, is in keeping with a post-Boomer ideology that values emotional fulfillment above all else. And the elevation of independence over coupling (“I wasn’t ready to settle down”) is a second-wave feminist idea I’d acquired from my mother, who had embraced it, in part, I suspect, to correct for her own choices.” She then described herself as a third grader marching into school wearing a  feminist inspired T-shirt with the slogan:  “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.”

Later, she continues, “But what transpired next lay well beyond the powers of everybody’s imagination: as women have climbed ever higher, men have been falling behind. We’ve arrived at the top of the staircase, finally ready to start our lives, only to discover a cavernous room at the tail end of a party, most of the men gone already, some having never shown up—and those who remain are leering by the cheese table, or are, you know, the ones you don’t want to go out with.”

People are putting marriage off later and later, “In 1960, the median age of first marriage in the U.S. was 23 for men and 20 for women; today it is 28 and 26…. According to the Pew Research Center, a full 44 percent of Millennials and 43 percent of Gen Xers think that marriage is becoming obsolete.”

Why is that?        

Not wanting to turn this into the eternal article, I’m going to concentrate on what I think the problem is.  I think she unwittingly nailed it when she said, “I see now, is in keeping with a post-Boomer ideology that values emotional fulfillment above all else. And the elevation of independence over coupling”.  To me that’s the underlying problem.  Selfishness.

I can tell you from personal experience marriage is hard.  My wife and I have been happily married for seven years now (we got married twenty years ago).  She will be the first to tell you the seven happy years are accumulative.  NOT in row.  It’s work.  My mother said it best when she told me, as a recently engaged boy, marriages based on the 50/50% principle fail.  You have to be 100/100% or you won’t make it.  Luckily I found a woman who has been willing to put up with my shenanigans and tomfoolery.

I’m smiling right now because I just realized the chorus to Beyonce’s song “All the single ladies” (the title of Ms. Bolick’s article) goes “If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it.”  Beyonce did just that.  She has a successful career, got married, and is now pregnant.

The perfect marriage partner doesn’t exist

Of course you don’t want to lower your standards to raise someone else’s.  But be realistic.  The perfect man doesn’t exist, of course neither does the perfect woman (and that includes you).

So ladies, what do you do if your “Knight in Shining Armor”, turns out to be an idiot in aluminum foil?  Well, as an aluminum clad man I can tell you personally the best thing you can do is love us.  Men are gross, I know it, you know it, everyone knows it.  Left to our own devises we would still be huddled in a cave somewhere. Not to get all “Tom Cruisey” on you but, “You (sniff, sniff)….(sob) complete me”.  Love us, I’m not necessarily talking in a carnal way (although I’m big fan of the carnal way), Love us.  But don’t get “love” and “mother” us mixed up.  There is a HUGE difference.  Find a man you can be compatible with, someone who you can work out your problems, and can share your successes with and take the plunge.

The newspaper columnists Jenkins Lloyd Jones once said, “Anyone who imagines bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise.”

“Life is like an old time rail journey…delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts: interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”

Myth Buster Monday: Is the best way to decrease the number of abortions to increase the availability of contraception?

In Abortion, Abstinence, Cohabitation, Marriage, Myth Buster on September 12, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Ask any pro-abortion individual how to best reduce the abortion rate.  Almost without exception, they will say, “increase the availability of contraception.”   Well, there’s a new analysis out that lays waste to that notion.  It sure appears that the best way to reduce the rate of abortion is to encourage and promote marriage.

Take a look at this chart:

 

Over the decades, as contraception technology and availability have improved, the abortion rate in most countries of the world has climbed higher and higher. 

If the analysis done for this chart is correct, here are a few thoughts:

  • Is there an inverse correlation between the decrease in marriage and the increasing abortion rate?
  • To those who say cohabiting relationships are the same as married relationships, why such a staggering abortion rate?
  • Wouldn’t you think that the rate of abortion for non-cohabiting women would be higher than the rate for women in cohabiting relationships?  Could it be that a cohabiting woman is just trying to “keep her man” and thus is willing to abort their child?
  • What is the reason for abortion among the married?   Of the 7.7 married women (per thousand) who have abortions, how many are done because of assumed developmental problems of the unborn child?

What are your thoughts?

Chart by David Schmidt of Live Action based upon data from a recent study: Unintended pregnancy in the United States: incidence and disparities, 2006

Marriage vs “Shacking up”: How do kids take it?

In Child Development, Cohabitation, Divorce, Marriage, Parenting on September 9, 2011 at 1:30 pm

By Danny Quinney

First,  I think it is important to tell you, I consider myself an expert on marriage.  Not that I’m educated in, received any awards, accolades, or even an “atta boy” on the subject.  Next month (October 2011) my wife and I will have been married 20 years.  TWENTY YEARS!!!  Honestly.  Take the fact I was able to fool this woman, who is my superior in EVERY way, into marrying me in the first place, and just put that on the back burner.  The fact I have sweet talked her into STAYING with me all these years proves I’m an expert on marriage.  Now if you want to send a gift (and I understand the desire) I think cash is the best gift.  Yes….cash.

Now, some would argue that cohabiting parents are just as effective as married parents.  Oh no, no, no, dear reader. Not according to a recent report from the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project and the Institute for American Values, entitled “Why Marriage Matters”.  According to the report, which pools together findings from 18 scholars, children living in cohabiting homes do not do as well educationally, socially, or emotionally as children living in intact married households.  In fact the study says, “Today, the rise of cohabiting households with children is the largest unrecognized threat to the quality and stability of children’s family lives”.

WHY?

According to the study, cohabiting relationships are more prone to be unstable, with “multiple transitions” and breakups; children are less likely to thrive in such homes.

Recent federal data indicates children who are in cohabitation households with mom and mom’s boyfriend are much more likely to be sexually, emotionally, and psychically abused then those who live in both intact and single parent homes

Does this mean that EVERY cohabiting family has doomed their children to a life of woe and misery?    

Of course not.  For instance, one national study of 6 to 11-year-olds found that only 16 percent of children from cohabiting families experience serious emotional problems.  By way of comparison, the same study showed only four percent of children from families headed my married biological or adoptive parents had serious emotional problems.

According to the report there are twelve times the number of cohabiting families now then there was in the 1970.  Statistics show 42 percent of kids have lived in a cohabiting home by the age of twelve (only 24 percent of kids have experienced divorce by that age).  I’m no mathematician, but I do own a calculator, I came up with twice as many kids have LIVED in a cohabiting household (I really didn’t need the calculator for that, I was able to do it in my head).

It is interesting to note that married couples are about four times more likely to remain faithful to one another then their cohabiting counterparts.  Obviously, not all marriages are good, and there are cohabiting couples that have perfectly healthy families, but the authors of the study say marriage is the “gold standard for stability” and that marriage will ensure kids have the best shot at succeeding in life.

To view the complete report on “Marriage Matters:  Thirty Conclusions from Social Science,” go here.

UFI Reader Poll Response: “Has the recession hurt or helped your marriage?”

In Families, Marriage, Polls on June 2, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Here’s the question we asked our UFI readers:

“Has the recession strengthened or strained your marriage?”

Here’s how our readers responded:

40 Percent           Strained my marriage

33 Percent           Strengthened my marriage

27 Percent           No impact

There has been a rash of studies and articles these past few months with “experts” giving their opinion about the impact of the recession on divorce and marriage.  We thought we’d see how the recession had impacted you.

You can check out some of the articles below:

Recession puts brakes on divorce

For some, a recession proof marriage

Do Tight Times Make Close Marriages

Startling Statistics about On-line Dating

In Divorce, Marriage on May 30, 2011 at 7:12 pm

If as an organization UFI is going to promote marriage, it makes sense to pay attention to dating.  And you can’t talk about dating now without the discussion including on-line or internet dating.  So here’s an interesting infographic  from online schools that will both encourage you and scare you.

UFI Reader Poll Results: “If your spouse committed adultery…

In Divorce, Marriage, Polls on May 26, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Here’s the question we asked our UFI readers:

If your spouse committed adultery, would you be willing to consider keeping the marriage intact?”

Here is the response:

73 Percent                   Yes, if my spouse was truly willing to change

16 Percent                   No, that’s it for me

11 Percent                   I’d stay married no matter what

We came to ask this question because of the high pro-file ending of the Shriver-Schwarzenegger marriage.  We really had no idea how our readers would respond to the question.  It appears that the vast majority of the readers are willing to give the marriage a chance.

We acknowledge the wisdom and the sacrifice of the wronged spouse who understands the critical importance of marriage and recognizes the great harm that is inflicted by divorce – and is willing to dig deep and give the marriage a second chance.

The number that said they’d stay “no matter what” was probably the most interesting response.  We’d be interested to hear what the thought process is that leads to that decision.  Anyone want to give input?

 

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