We all know divorce is a common occurrence in Hollywood. We see it in the tabloids whenever we’re in line at local grocery stores or other places with magazine stands. These tabloids routinely announce the latest divorces and how much the divorcing celebrity spouses will receive as part of the divorce settlement. A few years ago we thought it was common knowledge that in America one in every two marriages end in divorce. A rate of 50%. But it may not be accurate that America is in the midst of a divorce crisis. Instead of a divorce crisis, it might actually be a marriage crises, as in a crisis about getting married to begin with. Tons of people, young and old, have been questioning whether “wedded bliss” is really blissful.
SOME MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE STATISTICS TO THINK ABOUT
Over time there appears to have been in shift in our thoughts about marriage and divorce. We may not even have been aware of this shift. But think about the following statistics:
- According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Census, while the overall divorce rate has been slightly dropping nationwide, it’s rising among 25-29-year olds.
- One in 10 first-time marriages fail in the first five years.
- According to the analysis of Pew Research Center, 51% of today’s adults are married compared to 72% in 1960. This means between 2009 and 2010, new marriages fell by 5%.
- Government data indicates that over half of births to women under 30 occur out of wedlock. “This is quite amazing,” biological anthropologist Helen Fishis, Ph.D., of Rutgers University says. “A hundred years ago, if you had a child out of marriage, you’d be a social disgrace. Today women feel comfortable enough economically and culturally to bring up a child without a recognized commitment from a man.”
CONCLUSIONS ABOUT MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE PROBLEMS
Based on this compelling data, instead of a divorce problem, we may be having a marriage problem. It might make sense to say that marriage is becoming a failing trend that we could refer to as something some people “used to do”!
A SURVEY – IS MARRIAGE A THING OF THE PAST?
Glamour magazine did a recent survey of over 2100 woman and 1000 men between 18 and 40 about how they felt about marriage today in America. Did they think it could become a part of history. According to their answers, this is still a debatable question.
MARRIAGE? MAYBE NOT SOMEDAY!
Out of the people asked, 92% said they still want to get married. Someday! Most people still dream of that big, white, wedding day! Women are more skeptical of marriage. Approximately 51% of surveyed women under 30 felt the institution of marriage has become outdated. “This is really a breathtaking statistic,” Marriage Confidential author Pamela Haag, Ph.D., said. “If you’d asked this 60 years ago, a lot of women would have been too busy making dinner for their husband or running after their children to even take the survey, and they couldn’t afford to not be married. Today there are so many other options. Marriage might still be the preferred dream. But it’s not the exclusive dream.” Many women feel the same way. According to 26-year old Washington, D.C., resident Melody Wilson, “At some point I would like to be able to say ‘my husband’ instead of ‘my boyfriend.’” He and his boyfriend have been together for four years. “But if I never got married, I wouldn’t feel shunned or inept at relationships, which I might have if I lived decades ago.” Reno, NV, resident Vanessa Vancour, 27, explains this idea furthis, “Having a ring and legal documentation does not guarantee commitment, devotion, or happiness. Weddings can be beautiful, but beyond the pretty dress and a few legal rights, I don’t see the point.” These two women obviously don’t speak for all, especially since 49% surveyed still consider marriage to still be a timeless institution. “I think it’s the ultimate sign of commitment,” 22-year old Nashville resident Megan Brames says. “I want to know my partner is serious about spending his life with me.”
MEN’S THOUGHTS ABOUT MARRIAGE
It’s surprising to learn that men tend to be more traditional than women. Of the men surveyed, 55% don’t intend on giving up when it comes to saying “I do!” According to Fishis, “Despite the myth that men are less committed, they are predisposed to desire marriage.” Apparently this may have something to do with evolution, as she explains, “He wants to keep the mother of his children around to ensure his DNA lives on.”
WHY MARRIAGE IS LOSING FAITH!
So why are young women seeminly losing faith in marriage? Could all those Hollywood tabloid stories be the reason? Apparently it’s definitely a factor. According to the survey, 44% of women say all that Hollywood drama fuels the divorce rate. Furthis research might explain furthis. A controversial 2010 study by Harvard University, University of California San Diego, and Brown University, made the suggestion that divorce was catching. For example, if your friends ends his marriage, your risk of getting a divorce increases by 14%. If it’s a sibling that decides “I’m done,” the risk of your following suit increases to 22%. In this digital and TMZ-obsessed world, viewing stars as “Just Like Us” affects our view of marriage as well as divorce. “I think of Heidi Klum as a friend,” says 25-year old Orlando, FL, resident Ashley Spencer. “I follow his on Twitter and love all his projects. I really thought she and Seal were going to go the distance. So when I heard she was getting a divorce, it was like hearing an actual friend was ending his marriage.” Caitlin Brody, a 25-year old from New York City took the breakup of Klum-Seal really hard. “They seemed in love beyond belief. He freakin’ had an igloo made for the proposal! It can be hard to believe in happily ever after if even supermodels and award-winning musicians can’t make it.” In other words, if celebrities can’t make it work in their dream-world bubble, how can the rest of us? Is this really realistic?
ARE CELEBRITY COUPLES LIKE US, OR NOT?
While we all have challenges, celebrity couples have additional, unique challenges the average person doesn’t. These include long days, months, and sometimes years on location with their sexy co-stars, and being bombarded with droves of fans who are love-struck trying to get close to them 24-hours every day. Los Angeles resident Laura Jansen, 24, sums it this way, “I am just not on the same planet as Demi and Ashton.” In spite of this, the survey indicates that women tended to be affected more when couples they know personally break up. The survey indicates 63% of these women get upset when their friend or somebody they know gets divorced. “It’s depressing,” Wilson says. “And sometimes I find myself hoping it doesn’t happen to me.” According to Haag, that feeling “gets at the ripple effect of anxiety and fear that one divorce can have among friends. While divorce might not be, strictly speaking, a viral phenomenon, I’ve seen how catalyzing one breakup can be within a small community.”
HOW CELEBRITY DIVORCES MIGHT HELP
Celebrity divorces may actually be helpful though. Many times divorce, whether it’s you, your parents, or you or your family’s friends, is kept hush-hush because nobody is supposed to talk about it. New York University sociology professor and the author of “Going Solo” says, “While it can be difficult to speak our mind when someone close to us divorces, riffing on Heidi and Seal helps us to process it. We’re interested in celebrities’ revolving-door marriages because so many of us have experienced the same thing among our circle.”
THE UPSIDE IN VIEWS OF MARRIAGE
Another upside to this view of marriage is the pressure that’s taken off women when it comes to getting married. The survey revealed that approximately 33% of women would feel fine checking the “single” box for the rest of their life. And 59% felt divorce was healthy, especially if the couple fell out of love with each other. Klinenberg says, “Thirty years ago people in a bad marriage felt they had to justify getting divorced—to themselves and to their friends and family. Today they have to justify staying together. Very few think that if they get divorced, their life will be over. The country is full of single people living big lives.”
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