Posts Tagged ‘Marriage’

The Power of Date nights

In Divorce, Families, Marriage, Values on March 8, 2016 at 6:37 am

married couple eating popcornby Jackie Bowles

Being a mother of young children, I know how hard it is to squeeze in that weekly date night. I definitely could use one every week, but the logistics of actually putting the plan into action is hard. It can be difficult to find a babysitter or figure out a cheap activity when money is tight or maybe you are just too tired. Multiple studies have demonstrated the importance of this weekly ritual as a commitment to one another.

According to the Date Night Opportunity by W. Bradford Wilcox and Jeffrey Dew, date nights strengthen your marriage in several ways. First, it improves your communication. Putting aside the things in your life, your phones, your job, the kids, gives you devoted time to find out how each other are doing. Another benefit is novelty dating; make it fun! You can do more than just dinner and movie. Be creative, try something new; as couples are engaged in fun activities they develop a stronger bond together. Adding in a regular date night can also rekindle that romantic spark again. Date nights also create a stronger commitment to one another. It helps create a feeling of “we-ness.” And finally date nights help you to de-stress. Our lives are all stressful. It is soothing to be able to put all that stress aside and be able to enjoy an evening with your spouse.

Quoting one of her patients, Winifred M. Reilly, said, “Date night is cheaper than therapy, much cheaper than divorce, and a whole lot more fun.” She confirms that date nights are essential! There are many fun ways that we can stay connected through date nights. Sometimes you might have to do dates at home after the kids are in bed, sometimes it is just a quick walk around the block, or a trip to the store together to get needed groceries. Here is a website that offers lots of fun date nights of every kind For Your Marriage. Pinterest is another great source for date night ideas or even a Google search. Personally, I have found success in having a date night jar stuffed with ideas that can be randomly pulled out each week.

If you haven’t already, make the commitment now! No matter how hard, broke, tired, bored, stressed or busy you are put your marriage first. Show your spouse how important they are. HAVE A WEEKLY DATE NIGHT!

Pornography: Endangering Matrimony

In Uncategorized on August 25, 2015 at 2:22 pm

pornBy Tashara Carnahan

The Story Has Become Commonplace

I couldn’t breathe. My world started to spin around me, frantically, closing me in at all sides. No, I thought, this can’t be happening. This can’t be real. My eyes burned from holding back the salty tears that threatened to fall at any second. How did I not know? How could I have been so blind? How could he do this to me? To our marriage? To our family? Fear and anger swelled within my being. I’ve been betrayed, I thought, bitterly, he cheated on me. He cheated on me without even leaving the house.

The façade had gone on long enough. I was tired of pretending that everything was fine, when it obviously was not. I was tired of feeling broken, not good enough, and unappealing. I was going to confront my husband about his addiction to pornography, and we were going to make things right. We were going to salvage our marriage.

My experience of having a husband with a pornography addiction isn’t uncommon. As much as I would love to say that it is, in reality, it’s getting more and more common everyday. The average age that a child is first exposed to pornography is age 11.[1] That’s a child who hasn’t even entered middle school! In addition to the shockingly low age, there are also a shockingly high number of viewers. There were roughly 14.7 billion visitors to Pornhub, the most popular pornography website, in 2013.2 With that kind of popularity two years ago, imagine where those numbers are at today! And that’s not even counting all the other pornography websites available!

Face the Facts

In 2000, a study was done to address the problem of compulsive internet pornography use, and to bring to light how that behavior affected the partner and children of the user. A survey was sent out to the partners of the addicts asking about the effects of pornography on their partners and their efforts in fixing the problems, either by themselves or as a couple. It also asked about the effects that they personally felt by the addict’s use of pornography.

17.6% of survey respondents reported that their partner’s pornography use had progressed to live encounters with other people, such as chat rooms, visits with prostitutes, and affairs. Many spouses said that their partners did not believe they had a problem or weren’t motivated to do anything about it if they did recognize it as a problem. Because of this refusal to recognize the problem or go to counseling, many spouses separated, divorced or were planning to leave. Many significant others described “some combinations of devastation, hurt, betrayal, loss of self-esteem, mistrust, suspicion, fear, and a lack of intimacy in their relationship…feeling sexually inadequate or feeling unattractive and even ugly, doubt one’s judgment and even sanity, severe depression, and, in two cases, hospitalization for suicidality.”

Another study was done to measure the correlation between pornography exposure and family values. By the end of the study, the researchers concluded that exposure to pornography made the subjects “more accepting of premarital, extramarital, and extracohabitational sexual engagements” compared to the controlled group. The exposed group also accepted the idea of nonexclusivity more than the control group, and compared to perceived notions regarding married couples held by the control group, the exposed group believed that married couples were less faithful and engaged in more affairs. After the consumption of pornography, “fewer persons considered marriage an essential institution” and 36% considered marriage to be obsolete and abandoned eventually compared to the 15% of participants in the control group. The desire to have children was also decreased after exposure to pornography (65% compared to 77.7% in the control group).4

Why Does It Matter?

family on hikeIf this is the kind of reaction pornography use is having on marriages (emotionally abusing partners, accepting the practices of marital affairs and premarital sex, as well as having a lesser desire to get married and have children because users don’t view it as important), then pornography is a huge threat to children and families. Marriage will become just a piece of paper instead of an institution based on love, mutual respect, and commitment, making it so children won’t be born into a home with married parents, if they’re even born at all.

What’s even more of a threat are those who speak up about the “good” effects that pornography can have for your relationships. These are they who claim pornography leaves couples happier and in better relationships with higher levels of satisfaction and lower levels of distress when their partner is honest about their pornography use and they view it together. They say that “couples who engage in watching porn together and have a mutual agreement on what’s considered to be acceptable pornography are more likely to have thriving relationships because of their level of honesty and communication.”5

Now What?

So, what can we do? How can we combat a $13.3 billion industry6 that continues to make the very videos that are sucking people into their addictive vices? How can we combat the claims that say pornography is actually healthy for marriages and relationships?

We can fight for policies that crack down on explicit websites. We can fight for policies that will help addicts receive the necessary help to recovery. We can fight for policies that educate the public on the destructive nature of pornography from actual studies that have been done.

We can keep raising our voices for change. Because if we don’t, who will?

My husband and I ended up going through the process of recovery from his pornography addiction. It was hard and taxing, but so worth it. Are there still times when I feel those same hurt emotions I had after discovering my husband’s addiction? Yes, there are. But it’s not nearly as often as the relief and grateful feelings I feel for getting the help that we both needed in order to heal and rebuild our marriage. Recovery is possible for anyone and everyone, not just me.

Tashara CarnahanTashara Carnahan is a wife and mother of one, as well as a student at Brigham Young University-Idaho with a passion for family advocacy. She started to become more aware of family matters that are happening in our world once her own daughter was born and felt inspired to share her findings with others. She enjoys reading, writing, and defending the family, as well as encouraging those around her to do the same.

[1] http://unitedfamilies.org/default.asp?contentID=34

2 http://www.pornhub.com/insights/pornhub-2013-year-in-review

3 Schneider, J. P. (2000). Effects of cybersex addiction on the family: Results of a survey. Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention, 7(1-2): 31-58. doi: 10.1080/10720160008400206

4 http://search.proquest.com.byui.idm.oclc.org/docview/1300082250/citation/AF3F04FF735F4CFBPQ/1?accountid =9817

5 http://www.medicaldaily.com/why-couples-who-confess-watching-porn-are-happier-and-have-better-relationships-266505

6 http://www.covenanteyes.com/2012/06/01/how-big-is-the-pornography-industry-in-the-united-states/


Married To Your Phone

In Marriage, Technology on August 21, 2015 at 5:20 pm

Facebook, updateThe addicting power of Facebook, togetherness not tech-etherness, and putting up safeguards for your marriage

By Jackie Bowles

Social media helps people stay connected with family and friends all over the world. It also helps in spreading the word of current events such as the Boston marathon, or the capture of bin Laden. Social networking is a great tool in searching for a job for both you and your next employer. Missing children can be found more quikly through social media. Social Media can be helpful in so many ways but it can also take over our lives if we aren’t careful.

Facebook Fever

Facebook and other social networking sites are increasing their traffic every year. In 2008, in the early years of Facebook it had 100 monthly users. Fast forward to 2015, Facebook currently has 1.44 billion active monthly users all over the world.   Studies have shown that people spend an average of 7 hours a month connecting on Facebook. Fifty-three percent of people check their Facebook profile before even getting out of bed. A survey of 1000 people across the United States has shown some startling statistics. Of the 1000 people, 56% of Facebook users checked their account at least once a day. Only 29% of those people could only go a few hours before they had to check their Facebook account. And 63% users are checking their Facebook on the toilet.

Is Facebook becoming a trend? Or would we go so far as to say that we as a people are becoming addicted to being connected? Are we spending more time in a virtual world than in the real world? Psychologist Michael Fenichel calls it Facebook Addiction Disorder. Facebook can take over our normal daily activities and is mind numbing. There are a few questions you can ask yourself to see if you really have a problem.

  • Are you losing sleep over Facebook and then that effects your day?
  • Do you spend more than one hour on Facebook?
  • Have you become obsessed with past relationships and start visiting their profiles? Does it gradually start to affect your current relationship status?
  • Is your work being ignored because you are using Facebook during office hours?
  • Does even the thought of going a day without Facebook cause you stress and anxiety?

Couple riding  bikesMarriages declining due to social media

As we can see Facebook and other social network sites are becoming addicting. It’s interfering in marriages today. In fact one third of divorces today end because of Facebook.

Let’s imagine for a moment, that we have a busy mom of six very active children. She, like everyone else, likes to have some down time to just sit and relax after a bustling day of children. She becomes involved in her Facebook updates. Online friendships start developing. These online friends soon become very important to her. And life starts revolving around these new friends that she has made. She even goes as far as having social activities with them in person. This mom quickly starts to love the idea of just having fun, forgetting her duties as a mother, and letting her marriage take a back seat.   There is so much responsibility in being a wife and mother that it is very easy to become absorbed in these new friendships that come with no responsibility and are just so fun and carefree.

Tech-etherness Time

How do you as couple spend your time together?   On a device, or do you have real quality time with one another? Do you have to quickly check your Facebook before you can go out? Are you updating your status instead of communicating with your spouse? Are you tempted to revisit past relationships? Have you ever asked yourself some of these questions?

Facebook and other social network sites are taking away our “together time” and creating “tech-ether time.” We need to put away our phones every once in a while. Christian Lous Lange has said, “Technology is a useful servant, but a dangerous master.” Our phones can become our task masters, if we don’t put up safeguards and boundaries.

Putting up social media safeguards

There are many things that we can do in our online community to safeguard our marriage relationships. Research has shown that there are higher levels of trust within a marriage when passwords are shared with your spouse.   Others things that we can use to protect our marriage are: Watch the clock, don’t spend excessive amounts of time on social media; Don’t put your dirty laundry out for the whole public to see; Be selective in what you are sharing; Talk about what your online rules before they become a problem; Make sure that you are choosing wisely those you associate with online.   Make a rule that you don’t add past boyfriends or girlfriends. As a couple you need to find more time to spend with each other. That might even mean that you turn off your phone so that you won’t have any distractions. We need to focus on what matters most. Spend time with “real” people in “real” time, which will be more fulfilling than connecting with people through a computer or device.

It has become easier and easier to do one more thing on a phone, or make one more connection with someone, or “like” one more thing. I have chosen not to have a Facebook account because my time is needed in raising my family, going to school, and serving those around me. Even though I don’t have a Facebook account, I’ve found that I’m grabbing my phone more and more all the time. I could be better at putting the phone away and using that time to spend nurturing and building my own marriage. I can find better things to do with my time so that I’m actually connecting with my husband and deepening the bond that we share. I would hope that each of us could beware of the time we spend, the friends we have or make, and the things we are doing on social media that could destroy our marriages. We need to protect that which is dear to us. We need to protect those that we love.

Jackie BowlesJackie Bowles is a student at BYU-Idaho. She has been married for 12 years. She just had her 4th child (1 girl and 3 boys). Jackie enjoys playing at the park with her children and gardening with her husband. If there is any free time she also like crafting, reading, and cooking.

Words from the Recently Engaged

In Uncategorized on May 20, 2015 at 8:18 am

happy couple 3by Tashica Jacobson

Two months ago I said “yes” to the biggest decisions of my life, and now both my fiancé and I are extremely happy. But with this one “yes” the wedding planning piñata blew up in my face, and now I’m wading through endless wedding planning, coordinating around everyone’s schedules, and counting down the days. There are many times, amid the stress, I have to stop and remind myself that this “yes” was also the start of us building our future family together and me personally living the things for which I’ve been advocating.

I’ve been told the benefits of marriage over and over again, and could list several of them, but as I look towards my own marriage things take on a different meaning. It’s not an accumulation of research papers any more, it’s life. I will be the one exemplifying what a marriage looks like for my friends and family, and what I accomplish with my marriage will influence many of them more than what anyone else will say.

When I review the progression of our relationship a study from the National Marriage Project comes to mind. They reported that premarital relationships influence marriage quality. In other words the patterns that a couple sets before marriage will continue to affect their relationship once married. One of the items listed is “sliding vs. deciding.” Sliding is when the development of a relationship happens without any real definite decisions. It may seem old fashion, but our relationship progressed with definite decisions. We have clear dates for the stages of our relationship. He announced his interest, we started officially dating, and we got engaged. Each step happened because we both decided to move to the next, the lines were not blurred.

All this has allowed me to look at the patterns that we have set for ourselves and what it is I hope to accomplish with our marriage. As we have started to make our plans I am realizing how important it is to be upfront with each other and create a strong foundation for the family we are going to have in the future.

A commitment to the community

One study discussed the importance of the wedding. Those with a larger public wedding report higher levels of marriage quality. While many factors play into this, one being that a public marriage shows a clear public commitment to one another. In The Case for Marriage, Maggie Gallagher argues that marriage is more than a private decision. She states “when you marry, the public commitment you make changes the way you think about yourself and your beloved; it changes the way you act and think about the future; and it changes how other people and other institutions treat you as well” (p. 43)

John Gottman’s quote “happy marriages are based on a deep friendship,” (p 19), makes me realize the foundation couples need to be developing. Friendship is what keeps couples together as they deal with the stress of daily challenges, and I like to think that this is what we have for each other and what we will continue to develop.  For example, he is the first person I want to tell when something silly happens at work. I find myself caring about things I never thought I would, simply because he cares about them. We were friends before we even started dating, and he’s someone I have always thought the world of.

The thing that I’m most in awe about is that this is the start of our own family. The other day I brought up a fear of having a child, and my concern that we get pregnant before we were planning for it. His response to this was, “That wouldn’t be a bad thing. I’m marrying you because I want to someday have a family with you, and if that happens sooner rather than later we will survive and it will be a good thing.” It is marvelous to see that as much as I love him now, I know that part of the love for him comes because I know we are going to grow together. Marriage is more than just the couple, it will extend for generations and the pattern that we establish now, will influence them.

It was once told to me that marriage was just doubling all of your problems, and that may be true. We are going to have to deal with my stubbornness and his forgetfulness; the fact I typically can’t stand movies, but he can name all the new releases for the year; his spending habits and my being a tight wad. We’re going to have to deal with groceries, insurance, children, health care, extended family, pets, dental visits, employment, and the lists goes on and on. But I wouldn’t want it any other way. I want to plan my life with someone who has just as much invested in those plans as I do.

Marriage is the basis for everything that I care about and advocate for, and now it’s becoming real for me. While I realize that I’m naive when it comes to the challenges and problems that we are going to face, I know that it is all going to be worth it; and that marriage will make us better, just as it makes society better.


Gallagher, M., & Waite, L. J. (2000). The case for marriage. New York, NY: Broadway Books.

Gottman, J. M., & Silver, N. (1999). The seven principles for making marriage work. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.

Rhoades, G. K., & Stanley, S. M. (2014) Before I do: what do premarital experiences have to do with marital quality among today’s young adults. The National Marriage Project.

Free Speech no More

In Uncategorized on May 13, 2015 at 6:20 am

First Amendment on Trialby Diane Robertson

Two hundred forty years ago, there were tens of thousands ready to give their very lives for freedom. With God on their side, and a sacrifice of blood, they were able to bring freedom to the world. Today on the very land hallowed by their sacrifice, millions upon millions of people cower at being called names, and those freedoms that men bled and died for will be taken away without a single shot fired.

On May 9th, Alliance Defending Freedom, posted a warning to the American people on their Facebook page. They wrote:

“Americans need to prepare for the same sort of surveillance-society if the Supreme Court rules to ban marriage as a male-female institution. It means that no matter what you believe, the government will be free to regulate your speech, your writing, your associations, and whether or not you may express your conscience.

Americans also need to understand that the endgame for some in the LGBT rights movement involves centralized state power—and the end of First Amendment freedoms.”

This prefaced an article making its way around the web. Canadian citizen, Dawn Stefanowicz, wrote about the changes gay marriage has initially made in the Canadian government and society. She wrote it as a warning to the American people who may be facing a sweeping ruling from the US Supreme Court ordering the nation to legalize gay marriage. I summarized this in an earlier article titled: 3 Ways Gay Marriage Has Changed Canada. Since gay marriage became legalized in Canada, the citizens can no longer speak freely about homosexuality without legal consequences. They may no longer write blogs, newspaper articles, or anything that speaks against gay marriage, homosexuality, or the laws governing marriage and family. Parental rights are trampled upon and the government justifies intervening in how parents teach their children about religion and sexuality. Churches are loosely monitored for any public teachings that include the common religious beliefs on homosexuality and marriage. Canada is now under a surveillance-society. There is no right to conscience and there is no freedom that allows Canadian citizens to disagree with gay marriage or homosexuality.

To keep the United States government from ever making laws that would trample upon the natural rights of the people and destroy all that the soldiers fought for in the Revelutionary War, James Madison penned these words:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

After more than two hundred years of freedoms guaranteed by the sacrifice of blood given freely by our founding fathers, we have come to a point where these freedoms may be done away. And why? Because too many people, too many American citizens, cowered and watched silently, as they eroded. Guns did not need to be pointed, too many have given up their freedom simply because they could not stand up against words.

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.”


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