Archive for the ‘Divorce’ Category

The “Fix” that is Forgotten

In Cohabitation, Divorce, Domestic Violence on March 13, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Domestic ViolenceAnn Bailey

One third of all women living in the countries that comprise the European Union have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence since the age of 15.  This according to a new survey based on interviews with 42,000 women.  That’s a staggering number and the study attributes this scourge to “domestic violence.”  Yet there is a major “fix” for this appalling situation that is not even mentioned.

The study identifies “partner” violence as compared with “non-partner” violence, but no attention is given as to whether or not these “partners” were actually married.  That is a crucial distinction.  The empirical data is clear – the safest place for a woman and her children is in a stable married home.

As marriage rates fall, and divorce and cohabitation rates rise (living together without marriage), this becomes a consideration that we can no longer ignore.  It is interesting to note that the Scandinavian countries, countries that have been at the forefront of promoting alternative relationships, have the highest rate of violence against women and girls.

Take a look at the charts below and see it should quickly become clear that there is definitely a “fix” that is being forgotten.

Note:  These charts represent a small amount of the related research on this topic.

Violence against women chart

Harm from CohabitationCohab, quoteBritain, child abuseAbuse, school age children

Divorce Isn’t Declining; Marriages Are.

In Divorce, Marriage on March 3, 2014 at 6:05 pm

marriage not obsoleteMatt Carter

In our society we often follow what is going on in the lives of celebrities. From the fight that Justin Bieber had with a DJ to Miley Cyrus breaking up with Liam Hemsworth. There is something always happening with celebrities, and far too often it is celebrity couples getting divorced.  For example not too long ago we heard about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes ending their six year marriage. Who would have ever thought those two would ever end it all. Back in 2005, Tom Cruise was jumping on Oprah Winfrey’s coach declaring his love for Katie Holmes; it seemed as if they were a match made in heaven. What happened?  It seems that these celebrity couples are madly in love and within years they are divorced.

Even though we constantly hear about these famous split ups, do they reflect the trends in society and are they impacting society as a whole?

According to the national vital statistics system in 2011 the United States divorce rate per 1,000 people was 3.6 . In 2000, the divorce rate per 1,000 people was 4.0. That only a .4 per 1,000 people difference looking at this eleven year time period, looking at these statistics divorce is declining in the nation.  However, we also need to look at how many people are getting married back in 2000 there was 8.2 marriages per 1,000 people; in 2011 per 1,000 people it was 6.8 marriages. That is total decrease of 1.4 per 1000 people in this eleven year time frame.

Looking at these statistics we can conclude that marriages are on a down ward trend. However divorces are not they are staying about the same it looks like they are declining only because marriages are.

As we look at the trend of divorce in society we can then ask, what is the impact of divorce on society?  A study that was done by Mark Rengnerus, called “How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships?”  Findings from the New Family Structures Study. This study is important because it looks at same sex marriages but also single parent homes and stepfamilies.  As we look at stepfamilies and single parent homes, we can say that most of the time they are in those situations because of divorce.

The  Mark Rengnerus study looks at families receiving welfare while growing up. Traditional two-parent families that received welfare growing up were 17 percent. Stepfamilies were 53 percent, and single parent families were 48 percent.  That jump signifies something important.  Those who have been divorced use a lot more of the government welfare services than intact biological families. Mark Renguerus also looks at those who are currently on public assistance. The percentage of those who are currently on public assistance is 10 percent for intact, first marriages, with 30 percent for stepfamilies and single-parent home.  Divorce clearly has implications for broader society as others are force to pick up the tab for family breakdown or for the failure to form families at all.

How do we decrease the amount of divorces in the nation?  The answer to that question is highly complex, but first we need to look within ourselves and decide, unequivocally, that we will not allow ourselves or our children to be part of the divorce statistics.  Educate others as to the harms of divorce and make a commitment to not accept divorce as “just the way it is.”  However we do it, it is clear that children, adults and society will be better off.

Matt Carter



Matthew Carter is from Lund, Nevada.  He is a senior at BYU-Idaho studying Marriage and family studies. His goal is to be a marriage and family therapist.


Work Cited

“National Marriage and Divorce Rate Trends.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 Feb. 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2013

 Renguerus, Mark. “How Different Are the Adult Children of Parents Who  Have Same-  sex Relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study.” Science Direct. Social Science Research, July 2012. Web. 11 Nov. 2013


Godlessness and Destroying Families: the Fertile Soil for Totalitarianism

In Abortion, Cohabitation, Constitution, Courts, Divorce, father, Government, Homosexuality, Marriage, Parental Rights, Pornography, Religious Freedom, Sexual Orientation, Single Mothers, The Family, Values on February 27, 2014 at 9:07 pm

shattered family-portraitMaddi Gillel

Why do weakened/destroyed families and the destruction of a belief in God allow a totalitarian government to flourish?  It tears down the walls of defense and strength that these institutions provide.   The following are some of the goals of Communism for the United States:

  • Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression.  An American Communist cell was told to ‘eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms’.  Control art critics and directors of art museums.  “Our plan is to promote ugly repulsive, meaningless art.”
  • Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio and TV.
  • Present homosexuality, degeneracy, and promiscuity as ‘normal, natural, healthy.’
  • Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of ‘separation of church and state.’
  • Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies.  Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand or treat.
  • Discredit the family as an institution.  Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.  Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents.  Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents. (The Naked Communist – W.C. Skousen)

Faith is a force from the heavens above, the belief that God’s word is more important than man’s.  Family is a force from the grass roots below, the belief that the fundamental unit of society is what makes up and controls all larger institutions.

When faith and family weaken, the middle institution of government swells – partly because of its inherent thirst for power, and partly to try to do the social jobs that family and religion are no longer doing.  If government is not balanced and held in check, it will expand and grow at the expense of individual freedom and independence.

The problem is that government, when compared to family or to religion, is horribly expensive and inefficient at handling social problems of welfare, justice and moral training.

This is why communist and socialist governments, and all totalitarian regimes, try to eliminate religion and undermine families.  Churches and synagogues are marginalized and eventually banned; and families are unfairly taxed or depleted.  The norms and personal priorities in such societies begin to shift away from responsibility and family focus and toward materialism and self-focus. People begin to abandon parenthood and family ideals in favor of more personal comfort and ‘freedom.’ Even in ‘free’ countries, the secular, materialistic abandonment of faith and family creates a ‘cult of the individual,’ where selfish options are valued more than commitment and sacrifice – and where we hear much about individual rights and individual freedom and being true to yourself but little about family rights and religious freedom.

This creates weaker rather than stronger people.  David Brooks of the New York Times put it this way: “People are not better off when they are given maximum personal freedom to do what they want.  They’re better off when they are enshrouded in commitments that transcend personal choice – commitments to family, God, craft and country.”

We seem to have a lot of things backwards. We think that poverty and crime and drugs and bad public policy are destroying families.  We even hear that a natural traditional family is now a luxury that only the rich or highly educated can afford.  In fact, it is the decline of families and of faith that is creating poverty, crime, abuse, addiction and bad politics.  Solid family life, far from being a luxury, is the only way to survive and to help society survive.  (Richard and Linda Eyre – New York Times best-selling authors)

There will be many who are stunned that what they thought was a decision that only affected them, is playing right into America’s deadliest enemy. Such choices as abortion, childlessness, divorce, playing into the ‘plot’ to get children away from their mothers, fathers, preoccupation with materialism, etc.

Next blog:  Death by EPA; hiding place for Communism.

Stable Marriages Make Stable Children

In Child Development, Cohabitation, Courts, Diane Robertson, Divorce, Families, father, Gender, Government, Grandparents, Homosexuality, Marriage, Parenting, Same-Sex Marriage, Sexual Orientation, The Family, Values on February 12, 2014 at 7:36 am

strong_family_bondsDiane Robertson

This happens to be National Marriage Week. February 7th to 14th each year has become a “collaborative campaign to strengthen individual marriages, reduce the divorce rate, and build a stronger marriage culture, which in turn helps curtail poverty and benefits children.” While many argue that their version of marriage cannot possibly affect others’ version of marriage, this is simply not true. We all live in a society and whether it is pleasant or not, we must as a society live with the choices of other people. The choice to marry profoundly affects society as does the choice to divorce or to redefine marriage and family.

In an article titled, “5 Reasons Marriage is Your Future,” Alliance Defending Freedom declares, “Whether you’re married or not – whether you have children or not- the marriages of those around you contribute to the society in which you live. They’re improving the economy and raising upstanding citizens. Since they’re healthier and happier, they’re great coworkers, bosses, and community members. Most importantly, they’re providing a safe, nurturing atmosphere while raising the next generation, and creating a better future for all of us.”

It behooves government to protect the marriages in which children will have the best chance of growing into contributing adults. This assures the best future for society. Decades of social research has shown that children from divorced and single parent homes do not fare as well as children from intact married couples. Yet the government has done little to discourage divorce or raising children in single parent homes. Society as a whole has become apathetic toward family structure. An “all choices are equal” or “whatever is in your heart is right” attitudes prevail regarding family. As a result, 40% of children are born to single mothers and the divorce rate sits around 50%. As marriages between a man and a woman have broken down, many want society to embrace a new form of marriage corruption and family definition—same sex marriage and same sex parenting. Will these help improve marriage and family life? Research suggests no.

A recent Canadian study, on new family structure suggests that homosexual relationships, including married homosexual relationships are not nearly as stable as heterosexual married relationships. One of the arguments used to promote gay marriage is that it will provide a stable home for children growing up with homosexual parents. This study clarifies marriage does not stabilize homosexual households in the same way that it does heterosexual households.  From another study conducted by Mark Regnerus in 2012 we learn that:

“among the respondents who said their mother had a same-sex romantic relationship, 91% reported living with their mother while she was in the relationship, and fewer (57%) said they had lived with both their mother and her partner for at least four months at some point prior to age 18. An even smaller share (23%) said they had spent at least three years living in the same household with their mother’s romantic partner. This is to say that out of 2,988 respondents, only 40 children reported living with two lesbian women for three years or more, which is not a long time. Only 2 out of the 15,000 screened spent a span of 18 years with the same-sex relationship spent a span of 18 years with the same two mothers. Among those who said their father had had a same-sex relationship, 42% reported living with him while he was in the relationship, and only 24% reported living with him and his partner for at least four months. Only 1.1% of children whose father had a same-sex relationship spent at least three years together in the same household with both gay men.”

This strongly suggests that the parents’ same-sex relationships were often short-lived, a finding consistent with broader research on elevated levels of instability among same-sex romantic partners. For example, a recent study of same-sex couples in Great Britain found that gay and lesbian cohabiting couples are more likely to separate than heterosexual cohabitating couples. A 2006 study of same sex marriages in Norway and Sweden found that “divorce risk levels are considerably higher in same-sex marriages.” Such that Swedish lesbian couples are more than three times as likely to divorce as heterosexual couples, and Swedish gay couples are 1.35 times more likely to divorce. Out-spoken same sex marriage advocates and sociologists, Timothy Biblarz and Judith Stacey, acknowledge that “preliminary data hint that [lesbian] relationships may prove less durable.”

Although it would be helpful to compare the children of intact married heterosexual couples to the children of committed and intact gay or lesbian couples, this has been attempted, but is not feasible. There are not enough homosexual couples raising children that have stayed together long enough to make a serious comparison. The Canadian study, which draws from a large representative sample of the population, and despite using screening tactics designed to boost the number of respondents who reported having had a parent in a same-sex relationship, a very small segment reported to have been parented by the same two gay or lesbian parents for three years or more. This is an insufficient number to make reliable comparisons between the two groups. 

Although there is much speculation today that there are large numbers of same-sex couples in the U.S. who are providing a stable, long-term parenting relationship for their children, no one has been able to come up with a sample size large enough to provide any serious data on the matter. The above-cited studies of different nations suggest that on average, same-sex couple relationships are more short-lived than those of opposite-sex couples. We must conclude that homosexual relationships are unstable.

The instability in family life alone from same sex households should be enough to conclude that children do better with a married mother and father. Governmental recognition of same sex couples will not benefit society any more than governmental recognition of heterosexual co-habitating couples has benefitted society. If we want to assure the brightest future for our children and grandchildren, we must recognize that all relationships are not created equal. Children need both their mother and their father and they need them to be happily married. So during this week of celebrating marriage and love do what it takes to forgive, love, serve, and strengthen your marriage. And then support laws and policies that promote the best life for children—marriage between a man and a woman.



“Quitting” Your Marriage: Bad Idea

In Divorce on February 10, 2014 at 2:45 pm

marriage and collegeElisabeth Clonts & McKenzie Wallentine

Attending a university is a way for people to increase their knowledge and better their lives. Going to college for the first time can be scary because of the new experience, and the unknown reality of what the future holds. A person intends to use their knowledge gained for the rest of their life, not to forget all the information they learned. Money is also an investment when furthering your education. Like with college, a person does not enter into a marriage without desiring and hoping for the best out of the experience.

Generally, no one would think about divorce on the day they marry their spouse. Hopes and plans for the future flood their mind as they make the promise to spend the rest of their life with this individual. So why are nearly half of marriages in America ending in divorce?  Especially if one considers that the average cost of divorce in America is approximately $20,000.  Just like dropping out of college early, ending a marriage is financially costly. There are numerous expenses that are included in this high dollar amount that are such as: lawyer fees, child support, and alimony. When a student quits college, they’re aware of the negative consequences, but decide that for whatever reason, they are worth it. When people end their marriages, they are essentially saying that the negative repercussions are worth it for them to be single again.

Divorce costs can be through the roof. Lawyer fees on average range from 200-300 dollars an hour.  The average amount paid in child support per month can be anywhere from 20-40% of the net income. With that, the average amount paid in alimony per month can be as much as 20% of income. Are people thinking of all the expenses that will have to be made in order to be divorced from their spouse? Maybe people would re-think divorce if they knew what was really down the road for them.

Thinking back to a personal experience with divorce, I remember when my friend’s parents got divorced. They would fight more about the cost of the divorce than why they were actually getting divorced. It was recommended for them to go to divorce classes and talk about what should be included in their offers so they didn’t have to go back and forth through lawyers with counteroffers hiking up the price of the divorce. It’s interesting that divorce classes were considered easier than marriage counseling. No one would encourage someone thinking of quitting college to go to a class that teaches you how to do it in the most pain-free way possible.

The cost of attending a divorce class in Utah is $35 per person, and the fee for the marriage orientation course is $20 per person. My friend’s parents were rather ruthless with each other and her mom refused to talk with her dad until she had permission from her lawyer. This really slowed down the process of the divorce. Whenever her dad would send an offer, she would send back a counteroffer changing miniscule things. When all was said and done, the divorce ended up costing them both much more than it should have. The aftermath of the divorce is still in effect as well. Her mom was a stay at home mom for 30 years and never got a college degree. Her father was the sole provider. This could have forced her mom to receive government aid, but instead she gets alimony and child support. This has a positive impact on her, but a negative impact on my friend’s dad. He now spends more money on alimony and child support than he needed to support an intact family before. He is supporting two households instead of one.

Not only does divorce affect the family, but the economy also suffers from the negative effects of divorce.  According to a 2010 study by the U.S. Census Bureau the percentage of married couple families living in poverty was 6.2%. For single-parent households in that same year, the poverty rate was 27.3%, and for single mother households, the poverty rate was 29.9%. Most of these people are on welfare because they are unable to provide for themselves and their families. American tax payers on average spend roughly nine cents of every dollar earned toward welfare.

In the U.S. there are many benefits to being married.  Because of the importance of married families the government provides special benefits and incentives. When you file your taxes together, several outcomes are available to you, H&R Block explains that if you file taxes jointly as a married couple, additional tax benefits might exist that you would not be eligible for if you and your spouse filed taxes as single individuals. Social Security benefits entitle you to half of a spouse’s social security benefits. Also, if your spouse has medical coverage you can participate in their coverage.

My dad is self-employed and my mother is a nurse-practitioner and they have benefited financially because they are married. Because of their career choices my dad does not have medical benefits and it would be very costly for him to purchase it on his own. My mom has very good insurance and because they are married, my dad is automatically covered on her plan if something should happen to him. When you end your marriage, you lose those benefits, just like you lose the benefits of university attendance when you leave (for example, society memberships, affiliations with certain organizations etc.)

Getting a degree from a college is a financially smarter decision than not getting an education.  Similarly the costs of quitting a marriage (divorce) compared to staying married are far higher.  There are circumstances where divorce is necessary, but the vast majority (two-thirds) divorce originates from low-conflict, supposedly unhappy marriages. In the midst of divorce, it would be wise for other options to be encouraged and considered. Many programs, books, and counselors are available for resources, and as a society, we should encourage couples to repair their marriages rather than to end them.

Elisabeth Clonts is a senior at BYU-Idaho majoring in Marriage and Family Studies rooted from the wild rose country of Ontario Canada. Her interest vary from taking luxurious baths to brutal games of water polo. After her time at BYUI she hopes to attend graduate school in Student Affairs. This was quoted from her recently, ” I want to do all I can to make a difference in the world.” 

 McKenzie Wallentine is a senior at BYU-Idaho majoring in Marriage and Family Studies. She enjoys almost anything outdoors and loves new adventures. She believes that the family is the most fundamental unit of society. One day she hopes to be a wonderful mother and an advocate of the traditional family.


Finn, A. (2013). Government benefits of marriage. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/info_7749110_government-benefits-marriage.html#ixzz2i0V8INEG

Matthews, R. (2012). 27.3% of Single Parent households live in poverty. Retrieved from http://www.policymic.com/articles/11316/27-3-of-single-parent-households-live-in-poverty

McDonald, K. (2001). The cost of divorce. Retrieved from http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/advice/19990903a.asp


The Marriage Debate…More than just Gay Marriage

In Courts, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Families, Marriage, Same-Sex Marriage, The Family, UFI, Values on February 7, 2014 at 9:32 am

Divorce, broken egg shellThere is much discussion as to whether or not the gay community should be able to marry.  It’s one of the hottest debates of the day, and has given all involved in the deliberation opportunity to take a good look at marriage; what it represents, its significance in society, its merits and how it should be identified to preserve the character, strength and wisdom of our society’s mores.

In our desperation to “define,” “preservation” has taken a back seat position.

Matt Walsh has addressed the issue as only Matt Walsh can.  His take on this matter of marriage preservation is filled with a straight-talking perspective that should be examined.

We quote bits and pieces from his blog

“Divorces are as common as flat tires, and they often happen for reasons nearly as frivolous.”

“The institution of marriage is crumbling beneath us; it’s under attack, it’s mortally wounded, it’s sprawled out on the pavement with bullet wounds in its back, coughing up blood and gasping for breath. And guess who did this? It wasn’t Perez Hilton or Elton John, I can tell you that.  This is the work of divorce.”

“I am an opponent of gay marriage, but we here in the “sanctity of marriage” camp are tragically too afraid to approach the thing that is destroying marriage faster than anything else ever could. Gay marriage removes from marriage its procreative characteristic, but rampant divorce takes away its permanent characteristic. It makes no sense to concentrate all of our energy on the former while all but ignoring the latter.”

“So whose fault is it that the institution of marriage is beaten and broken? I don’t think we want to contemplate that question, for fear that we might see ourselves in the answer.”

“Should laws be written to “defend marriage”? Sure, and let’s start with legislation to make divorces at least somewhat harder to obtain than a magazine subscription. How serious are we about this? Anyone up for a law to criminalize adultery? What about putting some restrictions on re-marriage?”

“There are certainly times when a couple has no choice but to go their separate ways. What else can you do in cases of serial abuse or serial adultery, or when one party simply abandons the other? But infidelity and abuse do not explain the majority of divorces in this country, and they are not the leading causes of break-ups. According to these “experts,” the top causes of divorce are a lack of individual identity, “getting into it for the wrong reasons,” and “becoming lost in the roles.” A survey done by the National Fatherhood Institute found lack of communication, and finances to be the leading culprits. An article in The Examiner also cites finances as the most potent divorce-fuel.”

“In other words, these days marriages can be blown apart by the slightest gust of wind, coming from any direction, and for any reason. Noticeably absent from all of these polls about the reasons for divorce: gay marriage. That’s because gay marriage is not the biggest threat to marriage. We are.”

“We are, when we vow on our very souls to stand by someone for the rest of our lives, until death do us part, only to let financial troubles and communication difficulties dissolve that union we forged before God.”

“When we marry, we die. Our old selves die, and we are born anew into each other; into the unbreakable marital bond.”

“We are a threat to the sanctity of marriage when we let our selfishness fool us into thinking that our wedding vows weren’t that serious. Indeed, despite popular sentiment, they were serious. They are serious. They’re as serious as death. The struggle to protect marriage is also serious. It’s an important battle.”

“So maybe it’s time we actually start fighting it.”

For more Matt Walsh go to http://themattwalshblog.com

Be sure to check out United Families International’s newest publication:   Divorce: 100 Reasons Not To…

The Ashes of Divorce

In Divorce on January 13, 2014 at 2:51 pm

fireAerial Owen

Divorce is like a fire that burns through a family destroying it, leaving only ashes behind when the flames die out. It probably isn’t hard for you to picture someone in your life that has been affected in some way by the fire of divorce.  They could have gone through a divorce themselves, are a child of divorce, or have friends and family members that have had to sweep up their lives in the ashes of divorce. In the ashes of a divorce, a family must find hope to create something new, looking toward the future instead of the destruction of the past. Parents might want to ask themselves if they are willing to subject their children to that level of destruction.

The fire of divorce affects the community, including extended family members, employers, a child’s school, and friends/neighbors.   Few emerge from a divorce un-scorched.  It is not the divorced couple who is the most affected by it; it is the children of that now broken family. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fifty percent of all first marriages end in divorce and every remarriage after the first one only increases the odds of the likelihood of that marriage ending in divorce. Children of divorce are fifty percent more likely to get a divorce themselves because they see divorce as an acceptable option of ending a marriage. The rates of divorce have dropped over the years since around 1970 when the rates sky rocketed to a new high because of No-Fault Divorce allowing people to, unilaterally, get a divorce without a reason. But in spite of that drop, divorce rates still remain high compared to other nations around the world. The United States has the most broken and restricted families than any other country in the world.

Over twenty years ago a young mother made a decision that would affect her and her new daughter’s lives by getting a divorce. She wanted to raise her baby girl in a loving and nurturing environment where she could grow and develop into strong and bright young women and that would only happen if she left their current home situation. That courageous young woman was my mother. Therefore, my life has been greatly impacted by divorce since I am a child of it. I have seen divorce touch many families that I know in both a destructive manner that scatters the ashes left over from a divorce and also the hopeful manner where family members work to rise above it.

The Circle of Divorce

In a divorce the children are the ones who are the most affected and not the parents who initiated in the divorce and fractured the family. The fire of divorce scorches the children differently and can have life-long scars. Children experience both immediate short-term effects and long-term effects that develop later on in their life after a divorce. Also, children are affected differently because every child react differently to their parents’ divorce. Every family has a different situation.  Short-term effects are things like acting out and doing poorly in school and can be noticed almost immediately. But, there are many hidden long-term effects that do not appear until later in the child’s life.

One of these long-term effects is problems with all of their romantic relationships they later on in their life. A 2011 study found that the perception of divorce a child has of divorce is linked to relationship dissolution and attitudes of divorce are linked to the commitment they have in a romantic relationship.  Children of divorce have a hard time committing to someone in a romantic relationship if their parents’ divorce ended very badly. However, if the child views the divorce as a good thing this is an effect that may not have a huge effect on their lives. Another study found that those who have a personal experience with divorce have a different view towards the possibility of a happy marriage and the option of divorce.

A family changes after a divorce from being one whole family unit to a family with two parts: the mom part and the dad part. Those two parts have the possibility to change over time as parents remarry and create new families all together. In 2007 a study found that children are affected by how their parents interact together after the divorce and the child’s individual relationships with each of the parents after the divorce is finalized. Children cannot change the fact their parents are divorce; but, they can change their relationship with each parent after the divorce. It affects a child when they see their parents fighting every time they see each other after the divorce is finalized.  Children are often placed in the position of being forced to pick sides.  Children are the ones required to make the major transition as they are shuffled around between the parents. The children see the destruction of divorce long after the initial flames have burned out.

There is Hope

Just like a fire can burn away the rock in ore and refining metal left over; a divorce can strengthen a family by taking away parts that are slowing destroying it from within. Sometimes a divorce is the only way to solve problems that plague a family. After going through a divorce, there can be doors to hope and windows of opportunities that did not exist before. I know this happened for my mother after her divorce; she is happily remarried and has two more children and thus created a new family.  There can be hope in the ashes that are left over from the destructive fire of divorce, but it must never be forgotten that all involved will continue to carry the scars.

Ariel OwensAriel Owen is a recent graduate of BYU-I  with a Bachelor’s degree in Marriage & Family Science.  She is originally from Orlando, Florida.  Ariel hopes to be able to educate and help families avoid the whirlwinds of family breakdown. 

The TV is Teaching My Children What!?

In Abstinence, Cohabitation, Divorce, Families, Marriage, Media on December 23, 2013 at 6:46 pm

BacheloretteAlicia Johnson and Hailey Welch

Over the past 85 years, millions of individuals and families have had the opportunity to watch shows on television and have experienced the rapid growth of many forms of media. Many individuals have experienced the excitement of watching a favorite TV show throughout childhood while developing fond memories of characters and values instilled within the shows viewed. When we look back at the shows viewed in the 80s and 90s, we see shows such as Full House and The Cosby Show which instill high moral values and the importance of the family. It was easy to sit down during the evening with family members and watch a show that everyone in the family was comfortable watching. As we think back on some of our favorite childhood shows and the values of the traditional family instilled in the shows, were we exposed to the threats that can now be seen on TV with the flick of a remote?

The media content that we now are so easily exposed to is posing a serious threat to the family with 84.7% of all households in the United States having at least one TV in their homes. From our own personal experiences, it can be very difficult at times to find TV shows and movies that promote the importance of families and living high moral standards. With the traditional family being mocked and alternative lifestyles becoming the popular norm, it is important to understand the impact that the media can have on our society. You may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? These are just shows.” However contrary to these thoughts, there is strong evidence that what we watch influences how we act. If we are supporting shows that degrade the family or depict such issues as cohabitation, divorce, or that are down playing the importance of marriage, this can have a serious impact on not only our own relationships but society as a whole.

The Bachelor/Bachelorette

This show has a bachelor or a bachelorette and they have to choose from 25 men or women in which they will propose to at the end of the show. The concept of finding true love through these dates is blissful and romantic, catching most eyes in America to believe these couples are meant for each other. Nearing the end dates (around 5 weeks after meeting each other) the different couples are asked if they wish to stay overnight in the “Fantasy Suite”. Most of the couples take the offer and have the next scene of them closing the doors to the bedroom. Are these the values we wish to instill in our children, especially our teenage girls? Does one need to “stay in the Fantasy Suite” to see if they are fit to marry each other? Marriage here is based upon temporal beauty and sexual needs. The traditional view of marriage is a love in which you serve one another and work hard to keep the relationship alive within the marriage.

The Fosters

This new ABC Family premiered on June 3, 2013. The Fosters are also foster parents to multiple children that are going through the system. The controversial value in this show is the definition of marriage and family because the heads of this family are both females. Lena and Stef are raising Stef’s biological son from a previous marriage, adopted twins, and multiple foster children. Within the first few minutes of the show, Callie, an abusive close minded girl, calls Stef and Lena a derogatory word used as a description for a lesbian relationship. This girl is meant to represent the traditional view of family and what is believed to be rude and unloving towards those with alternative lifestyles. We wish that they may understand the love and compassion we have with those struggling with same-sex attraction, but still believe that the best place for a child is in a home with a mother and a father.


Friends premiered in 1994 and had a very successful career that lasted ten years. About 51.1 Million American viewers watched the season finale in 2004. What made this show about six unique friends and their lives in Manhattan so popular? The light hearted comedy brought entertainment to the hardship that people are faced with in life. What kinds of family values are placed in the show though? All three girls, Rachel, Phoebe, and Monica, had babies with only one of them having children within the protective frame of marriage. Cohabitation was born through this show watching the different friends live together while dating. It was glamorized and accepted by American culture as a good option instead of the bad connotations as it has had before.


The red headed country icon showed Americans that being divorced was freeing and does not have a huge impact on the individuals involved (children, parents, friends, etc.). Reba has three kids, two girls and one boy, which have relationships not only with their mom but a close relationship with their dad as well. With constant visits from the father and step mom it eludes that divorce will not change the relationships between family members. Another controversial idea would be that having a baby during high school with your high school sweetheart will all work out with marriage, healthy baby, and a high school diploma. About 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by 22 years of age, versus approximately 90 percent of women who had not given birth during adolescence. This show is a great example of the changing ideals, expectations, and acceptance of alternative “family” views.

These are only a few examples of what television has to offer the traditional family views. The more we support these shows with nontraditional views of the family, the more our society will grow to accept such views as norms. Without the consequences of those actions shown, those actions will ultimately disintegrate the traditional family.  Please carefully review the media that is being watched in your home and look for what kind of standards are being taught to you and your family. It is important that we not only look after what our family is watching but share with our extended family and community members the lack of values that are being instilled within the viewers.

Hailey WelchHailey Welch is a senior at Brigham Young University- Idaho studying Marriage and Family Studies. She understands the importance of families and hopes to help others strengthen their relationships.

Alicia JohnsonAlicia Johnson is a senior at Brigham Young University-Idaho studying Marriage and Family Studies.  Alicia is originally from El Dorado Hills, CA and married her sweetheart, Garett Johnson, on August 19, 2011.

An Easy way to Mess up your Life: Become a Single Parent

In Abstinence, Child Development, Divorce, Marriage on November 26, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Single momMonica Nicholas & Taylor Evans

“Living apart from natural fathers can be associated with poverty and negative outcomes for children.”  Lisa Calderwood, London University, Institute of Education

Scotty was a happy little four year old boy when his parents were divorced.  He stayed with his mom in Arizona while his father became a part of the Navy.   Scotty’s dad was on ships and overseas for a long time, missing so much of his son’s life.  Overtime, Scotty had behavioral problems at home and at school, his grades were slipping, and his once stable environment was taken away and replaced many times.  Through the years, his mom was married and divorced numerous times.  As Scotty got older, he became the father figure to his younger siblings.  Throughout all this time, Scotty’s mom started breaking down emotionally and he was in the middle.    His mom married again and again to fill a void.  There were men who abused Scotty and threw him down flights of stairs and there were men who also took him in and loved him like he was their own.

When he was getting to his sophomore year in high school, he decided that he had had enough and he moved to Utah to live with Grandma and Grandpa Pulham.   Scotty now had a blank slate to start again.  He started his new high school, made new friends, was going to church services, and seemed to find some of the structure he was missing in his life.  However, soon after he started school his grades were drastically dropping.  He was failing every class, he was having behavioral problems like he had before, as well as having problems at home.  Grandma and Grandpa as well as two of his aunts who live there did everything that they could think of to help him and to deal with his behavioral problems and emotional distress.  It eventually led to him dropping out of school.  He recently moved back to Arizona and is living with his other grandparents and working.

In respect to the family you will notice that all too often this is the life of children born to broken and single-parent homes. All too often you will find that the child suffers much like Scotty, and can sometimes have his or hers development dramatically hindered. The Telegraph reported that, “12% of children brought up by one parent displayed a series of behavioral problems by the age of seven whereas  six percent when you are raised by both parents.”  These statistics show the crucial importance of children being raised in a two-parent household.

Throughout school, Scotty had several behavioral problems.  He was disruptive during class, got in fights, sloughed class, as well as multiple other behavioral issues, not only in school but also with family.   A mother’s role is very important when it comes to raising a child, as is a fathers, but it needs to be done together.  Whether you are a father or mother, being a single parent will put a strain on a child’s development; cognitively, physically, emotionally, and socially.

Factors that play a role in single-parent homes

Single-parent households are often compromised in the area of economic well-being. McLanahan states, “Indicators of economic conditions account for as much as one-half of the single mother ‘effect’ on children’s educational  performance.”    Single mothers often reside, of necessity, in lower income neighborhoods. When the family lives in these lower socioeconomic neighborhoods, it results in the child experiencing higher rates of crime and violence and having to go to a lower income school.   This can affect their future by lowering their chance at receiving a good secondary education, and their future in gaining post-high school education, and thus receiving good employment and becoming a highly functioning and contributing member of society.

Another factor that comes into play from low economic status  is families  do not have the means to provide for their children with many of life’s basic necessities let alone books, classes, tutors, computers and other important aids to help them grow and develop.

Whether you’re male or female, your family structure is more prone to suffer if you are a single parent.  Your child’s emotional and social needs might not be met due to lack of consistency in the home because of work or other circumstances. A fluctuating work schedule and other reasons may cause the parent to be absent while the child is home and that can result in rules to be broken, grades to drop and supervision to be left to the child. This can in turn cause emotional stress on your child and take a toll on their development and education achievements.

Many educators can see the type of stress that single parent households are under, not only from the child’s standpoint but also from the parent’s stand point. Often the community is able to help the single parents by creating opportunities for the child to spend their time while their parent is away at work. If a single mom or dad is having a hard time trying to find a safe place for their child to go they should look into their local schools to find different aids that are there for them. There are opportunities for your child to continue to grow developmentally be means of after school programs along with clubs and sports, provided for your child to make sure they have a safe place to go to after school and can continue to excel in every way developmentally.

How do we avoid these problems for ourselves and our children?

Researchers tell us that it is really quite simple and if you do these three things your chances of having a successful marriage and life are dramatically increased:

1.  Finish High School

2.  Marry BEFORE having children

3.  Marry after age 20

Only eight percent of people who do all three are poor, while 79 percent  who fail to do so are impoverished.   Seems pretty simple and you owe it to yourself, and most importantly, to your children.

MoMonica Nicholasnica Nicholas attends Brigham Young University-Idaho and is majoring in child development.  She is from Preston, Idaho.




Taylor Evans is a recent graduate of BYU-Idaho Taylor Evanswith a bachelors in Child Development.  She plans to go on to receive a master’s degree in social work.  She grew up in Henderson Nevada.

“Get Me to the Church on Time:” Does waiting to marry make us any happier?

In Abstinence, Divorce, Families, Marriage, Research on November 13, 2013 at 9:59 am

Get me to the churchElise Ellsworth

When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke at a college commencement this past year he chose an interesting topic to address – marriage.  He urged young people to actively pursue marriage: “Combining your life with another person … is tremendously challenging and enormously rewarding … Some people could get married but choose to take more time, they say, for themselves.  Others plan to wait until they’re well into their 30s or 40s before they think about getting married. They’re going to miss so much of living, I’m afraid.”  Romney’s interesting advice to marry younger may sound foreign to twenty-somethings – increasing numbers of whom are no longer actively pursuing marriage as a life goal, and many of whose parents, according to a recent study conducted at Brigham Young University are also showering them with anti-marriage advice.  However, recent research indicates that Romney’s advice may not be too far from the mark:

I.             Later marriages appear to have a bit better survival rates but “The greatest indicated likelihood of being in an intact marriage of the highest quality is among those who marry from ages 22-25.”  This is the conclusion from a study by sociologists Norval Glenn, Robert Love and Jeremy Uecker of Baylor University who found that those who marry later have poorer quality marriages than those who marry earlier in their twenties.    The study also suggests that couples who marry in their twenties have more frequent sex and are more likely to hold a common faith and traditions than those who marry later.

II.            Unmarried twenty-somethings reported higher rates of depression and drinking, and lower life satisfaction than their married peers.  This information is from the “Knot Yet” report  released earlier this year by the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Council.

III.           Men who marry in their mid-twenties make more money.  This statistic also comes from the “Knot Yet” marriage report issued by the University of Virginia.  Interestingly, the report shows that men who never marry make the least amount of money, in most cases even less than men who marry in their teens.

IV.          Although women who marry in their mid-twenties do make less money, they are actually happier than women who marry later in life. Married women often have the financial freedom to make other valuable contributions in nurturing children and in community service and volunteer work which are also very beneficial to society and to their own personal well-being.

V.            Those who don’t marry by their mid-twenties are often now choosing to engage in premarital relationships that research has identified will put them and their children at risk for a plethora of other problems.  It seems pretty evident that with the U.S. marriage rate for adults at a record low 51% and cohabitation rates on the rise that more and more young adults are choosing pre-marital sexual relations and are often foregoing marriage altogether.  A recent Wall Street Journal essay points out that this is a losing situation for both adults and children.  The adults miss out on the financial and emotional benefits of marriage and often get trapped in a cycle of unstable relationships and multiple partners.  As a great deal of research has shown, such instability is one of the greatest risks to children’s well-being – greatly increasing the likelihood that they will experience academic, social and emotional problems like poor grades, drug abuse and (perpetuating the cycle) unmarried childbearing.

Given the foregoing data it appears that Romney may be right on target.  The rewards and challenges of marriage may be the very thing that young adults need to lead fulfilling lives.  As he put it, “When you are living to the fullest, beyond yourself, beyond comfort, life is most full and exhilarating.” Perhaps forthright parents’ best advice could be to encourage youth to follow the path that has been proven to lead to happiness and well-being since the beginning of civilization – “get married, stay married” – four simple words of advice that could become extremely meaningful to the quality of their lives.


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