Remarriage rates plunge as divorced Americans have doubts
(Xtianity = Christianity)
There are definitely some segments of Christian culture that are irrationally hateful of divorce, divorced people, and who treat divorced people like scum o’ the earth.
However, I see another side to other segments of Xtianity where divorce is not really frowned on.
Yes, Christians sigh and complain about the divorce rates being so high, even among Christians, and say “Oh isn’t it sad,” but divorce, like pre- marital sex, is just sort of… accepted in Christian culture as being the norm, or as being inevitable.
In reading the book “Singled Out,” by never-married adult Christian authors Field and Colon, they noticed in their study of Christian books about divorce that all the divorce books by Christian authors assumed that the divorced reader would want to get married again; all these authors assumed getting paired up again after a divorce was the norm.
Staying single until death after a divorce was not presented as an option by any of the Christian authors of the divorce books.
All authors of the divorce books, said Field and Colon, assumed if you cannot get another spouse after being divorced you are some kind of loser – you must have flaws that need to be worked on to attract another mate.
I’ve said it before but will say it again here:
I am pissed off at a Christian culture that treats virginal/ never married adults post age 30 as though they are freaky losers, but they tend to be more accepting of Christians who have had multiple divorces. (Yes, some churches treat the divorced like trash, but a lot are pretty accepting of divorced people and divorce itself.)
Never-married adults are assumed to have “too much baggage,” but I contend a never married adult has less; we certainly do not carry scars of former failed marriages. I have attended adult singles church classes where the divorced people use the class time to bitch and moan about their ex spouses.
I further contend most divorced people have more baggage than a never-married person. They cannot make a relationship work, they have issues from their ex.
And yet, some of these divorced people keep re-marrying – Christians never want to examine this. Many Christians actually think it’s normal or acceptable to divorce a few times, than it is to always stay single over one’s life time.
By the way, as to the Christian stereotype that unmarried adults are not as mature, selfless, responsible, and godly as their married counterparts:
If married people were so gosh darned mature, godly, giving, and mature, why do so many of them divorce? Hmmmm?
Should not two fully (supposedly) godly and pure adults be able to make their marriage work? Hmmmmm? But yet they fail at their marriage, and we have buttloads of divorces among Christians.
I guess marriage does not automatically confer maturity, lovingness, responsibility, and Christ-likeness on to a person, now does it?
- Sep 16, 2013 by Sharon Jayson
… A new analysis of federal data provided exclusively to USA TODAY shows the USA’s remarriage rate has dropped 40 percent over the past 20 years.
“Pretty much everyone, regardless of age, is less likely to get remarried than in the past,” said sociologist Susan Brown, lead author of the analysis, by the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.
The analysis of data comparing 2011 with 1990 shows that in 2011, just 29 of every 1,000 divorced or widowed Americans remarried, down from 50 per 1,000 in 1990; 2011 was the most recent year available for the review.
The remarriage rate has dipped for all ages, with the greatest drops among those younger than 35: a 54 percent decline among ages 20-24, and 40 percent for ages 25-34. Much of the drop is due to the rise of cohabitation and older ages for first marriage — almost age 27 for women and almost 29 for men.
“Cohabitation has opened up options for people that weren’t there 20 years ago,” Brown said. “It affords the benefits of marriage without the legal constraints.”
A generation ago, cohabitation was often called “living in sin,” but that social taboo has faded. Unmarried couples of all ages are moving in together — 7.8 million, according to 2012 Census data. And 37 percent of cohabiters have been married before. Between 1990 and 2012, the percentage of unmarried couples living together more than doubled, from 5.1 percent to 11.3 percent.
Even so, it’s not as if everyone previously married is forgoing the institution; almost one-third of all marriages in 2010 were remarriages, according to an earlier analysis by the Bowling Green center.
Many divorced people are hesitant to risk tying another knot.
“Marriage wasn’t even in the discussion,” said David Smith, 58, who works in Internet marketing and Web design. He and partner Sue Stebbins, a business consultant, have lived together in Norwalk, Conn., for five years. Both are divorced; he has three grown kids.
“We really wanted to be liberated from anything that reminded us of our past,” she said. “Rather than something outside of you giving you that commitment, it’s a choice daily to form that commitment.”
… Some couples worry about the odds of a successful remarriage, but long-term data is relatively non-existent because of federal cutbacks that stopped data collection. “There is no good, recent data on divorce among remarried couples that I know of,” said marriage researcher Andrew Cherlin of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
However, new research does suggest those who have been divorced once are less likely to stay in an unsatisfying marriage a second time.
“It’s not that the couples are less happy with each other and it’s not that they’re fighting more than first-married couples,” said psychologist Sarah Whitton of the University of Cincinnati. “It seems that if a relationship starts deteriorating, they’re quicker to move towards divorce.”
Her study of 1,931 married individuals was published this spring in the Journal of Marriage and Family.
… Remarriage is “difficult and different” from first marriage, said relationship expert Maggie Scarf, a Yale University fellow who outlines the hazards in her new book, “The Remarriage Blueprint.” Scarf conducted lengthy, face-to-face interviews with 80 remarried individuals to see how their marriages fared.
… Experts say the two biggest factors complicating remarriage are money and children – even if the kids are adults.
“It’s much, much harder than a first marriage,” said David Olson of Minneapolis, a professor emeritus of family social science at the University of Minnesota. “You see this cobweb of relationships. Just one little decision impacts that whole system. It’s not only more people, but it’s more decisions, and they’re more difficult. People are bringing a lot of bad history with them.”
Olson is co-author of the 2011 book “The Remarriage Checkup,” which surveyed 50,000 couples taking a class to prepare for remarriage. Two-thirds were age 41 and older, and half said they were living together.
“Cohabiting isn’t going to make it easier,” Olson says. “In many ways, it makes it more complicated. … It doesn’t signal to the kids ‘this is permanent.’ ”
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