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Americans' laziness apparent in divorce rate

Date: 2006-11-23

What do Mike Meyers, Eddie Van Halen, David Hasselhoff and Reese Witherspoon have in common? Besides being celebrities, all have gotten divorced in the past year.

Celebrities are notorious examples of the problem, as it∙s not uncommon for them to have had more spouses than fingers, but divorce is definitely a problem that needs our attention in the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2005 the marriage rate was 7.5 per 1,000 people. The divorce rate was 3.6 per 1,000 ∓ representing almost half of all new marriages.

These numbers are not nearly as bad as their peak in 1980, but they are still dismal.

From what we know regarding Victorian and colonial times, marriage was most commonly based on convenience. There were also many marriages that were arranged. Divorce, at that time, was almost nonexistent.

And look at us now.

While the divorce rate is declining, so is the marriage rate. There has been a 50 percent drop in marriages since 1970, according to a report titled ∜The State of Our Union 2005,∝ published by the National Marriage Project. The reason for the decline: cohabitation.

There is a difference between living together before marriage, and living together and never getting married. This difference could affect how long the relationship lasts and how close the family is for those that have kids.

According to the marriage study, ∜cohabitating couples have twice the breakup rate of married couples.∝

David Popenoe, a Rutgers University sociology professor and the report∙s coauthor, thinks cohabitation is actually detrimental to a cohesive family unit, because it increases instability.

About 8 percent of homes in the United States are made up of unmarried, heterosexual partners, according to the same study.

I grew up in a very unique household for the times. In fact, I consider myself one of the few that can actually say that I have had a supportive and stable two-parent upbringing. Sadly, these ideals are shifting.

We now have kids raising kids, women who don∙t know who their baby∙s father is, families giving up and using divorce as their first option, and parents living together who have no intention of ever being married. It sounds like the Jerry Springer Show is moving into our everyday lives.

What kinds of examples are we teaching the next generation? Are we saying that it is all right to live together for years without being married; that it is all right to distrust your partner to the point that you won∙t share a bank account; that is it all right to run away from problems through divorce?

Give me a break.

Relationships are hard work. Anyone who has been in a real relationship knows this. In fact, I think it might be one of the toughest jobs out there. But here is the thing ∓ it is worth it, or at least it should be.The second that times get difficult, people run for the hills. If I had run every time that my fiance and I had a problem, we wouldn∙t have lasted two months.

So here∙s what we need to do: If you are not ready for commitment, don∙t be in a relationship. If you are not capable of working through difficult times, don∙t be in a relationship. For those that are tough and ready for a challenge, let the real dating begin

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