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No Marriage Crisis: Divorce Rates Down, Despite Fundies’ Worst Efforts

Last Saturday was the 13th anniversary of my wife and I's engagement. We got married five months later, but from the moment I took the knee, we viewed our engagement as the point of no return. And we haven't returned. We married later, wiser, and forged a pretty stable relationship...

...just like lots of other people our age and younger who are getting married and staying that way. The New York Times reports that midst all the Sodom and Gomorrah, divorce rates have been declining since the early 1980s. Lots of stable marriages like ours throw spokes in the wheel of fundie arguments that delayed marriage is a problem, that folks waiting until their late twenties or early thirties are most likely to divorce, and even that religious commitment wards off divorce.

Conservative Christian culture correlates with a higher rate of failed marriages. But I'm not circulating petitions to ban marriages between eighteen-year-old fundamentalists in order to protect the institution of marriage. My marriage hasn't been shaken one micron by all those fundies breaking up any more than it has by all those homosexuals getting hitched. Experience tells me the key to driving that divorce rate further down is minding your own marriage.


  1. Tim 2014.12.09

    Coming up on my 23rd year, we don't do the god thing, funny how fundamentalists are the people with all the problems.

  2. JeniW 2014.12.09

    My niece married her high school sweetheart, they have been married 26 years, and they did the "god thing."

    I think it all depends on the couple, and how they deal with things they do not agree upon, and how they handle the crisis that come up during their life.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.09

    My wife's parents got married early, too—no problems. Hard to generalize.

  4. lee schoenbeck 2014.12.09

    I think the statistic you need to set along side the dropping divorce rate, is the number of couples who get married. I think the answer to your discussion lies there.

  5. Nick Nemec 2014.12.09

    One thing to remember when discussing divorce rates is that you can't compare the number of marriages in any given year to the number of divorces in that year. People who get divorced come from the set of all those people who have ever been married and both spouses are still alive, not the subset of those who got married last year.

  6. Dan Daily 2014.12.09

    The stats are distorted because couples live together without marrying. Not as true in the 80's. Now, there's no data for couples together long term who later separate. I lived with someone 23 years and we separated amicably.

  7. Roger Elgersma 2014.12.09

    I read in a national magazine a few years ago that those who marry at age 28 have the best chance of finding their soul-mate.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.09

    Age 28? We were right in that area!

  9. bearcreekbat 2014.12.09

    My spouse and I took the leap at age 19. We knew it all then, but 46 years later we are still together but know not much at all anymore.

  10. Tim 2014.12.09

    BCB, isn't it amazing the older we get the dumber we get, now our kids know it all...or so they think. Hahaha

  11. Donald Pay 2014.12.09

    "of my wife and I's engagement...."

    I love it. You were being funny here, weren't you?

    One of my vices is watching "The Bachelor." I've noticed on that show of generally college educated hunks and babes that the use of "I's" in place of "my" has become an idiom. Generally it's in this form: "These are the highlights of Jen and I's journey on the way to Jen and I's engagement."

    I understand when you first say, "my wife," that another "my" feels redundant or wrong coming off the tongue or keyboard. How and when did "I's" get started, I wonder?

  12. Bill Fleming 2014.12.10

    Don, I was thinking about jumping on that myself, but decided it was none of I's business. ;-)

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.10

    Donald—yes, I use the phrase intentionally, much as I use "a whole nother." I have no idea when it arose, but I can understand the psychic pressure that creates it. "My wife and I" are an inseparable unit. Changing "I" into "my" seems to break up the union. Changing us to "our" doesn't work in my first sentence, because it has no clear antecedent. The proper grammatical response is to reword the entire statement to avoid the trouble, perhaps "My wife and I celebrated our 13th engagement anniversary."

    But I find it fascinating that we can apply an apostrophe+s to an entire phrase and be understood. :-)

  14. mike from iowa 2014.12.10

    Using my instead of I's might be cricket,but in the overall scheme of things,does it really,truly matter?

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.10

    (Not nearly as much as maintaining a healthy marriage, Mike... but, like verb conjugation, the quadratic equation, and other things I get to talk about in my classroom, I find such grammar questions fascinating!)

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.10

    Iyaric! Groovy stuff, Bill. I see the Rastas also foreswear swine as scavengers. Aren't we having a conversation on that topic elsewhere?

  17. Bill Fleming 2014.12.10

    Ya, mon.

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.11

    I second Mr. Wiken's motion.

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