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Is the "American family" dying?


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Recently, my aunt called to get my opinion "as a young person.":lol: Her son, who is younger than I, is in the military serving in Iraq, and so her interest in the relations between the cultures has been piqued. In her research, she has begun corresponding with a gentleman who previously lived in Pakistan, and now lives in North America. Apparently, he has been telling her that he thinks the American family is self destructing and that in another generation or so, he thinks it will essentially cease to exist. He cites marriage and divorce rates, out of wedlock childbirth, and various gov't programs which reward immoral behavior. (Please remember that this is HIS assessment, not mine, so no flames please!) The arguement is that immorality is so rampant that the family cannot survive against it and that this will create a weak population which can be easily led, so long as the gov't benefits keep coming.

 

While I agree in part, I do see signs of a movement to strengthen the family--homeschooling for instance. (She is a public school teacher and didn't like that answer one bit!:D)

 

I have been turning her question over in my mind alot, and wonder what you all think. What says the Hive?

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I absolutely think the "American family" is dying. I'm a Christian and I believe that Satan's first plan of attack is the family. If you can tear up a family then that effects all sorts of other things and causes other bad things to happen as well. I believe it is all a sign of the times.

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I think, if I were a sixties housewife... I would've seen hippies as a sign of the end of the American family. If I had been a Puritan, I would have seen the less stringent communities as signs of the end of American morality.

 

In other words, I don't think the American family is going to die. I think that the definition has broadened, recently, to include more "families" than just those of two heterosexual parents with their biological children, and I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. Imo, it gives greater responsibility to those families that, having been denied "family" status in the past, may have been held to lower standards.

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I'd probably phrase it more like the American family is in critical condition.

 

I personally believe there will always be those who strive to keep alive the concept of family, but I believe they are already in the minority.

 

And I will admit that I do not hold to the elementary textbook definition of family as being any group of people who choose to live together. I have a conservative Christian definition for the word.

 

How we define "family" may play a big part in our feelings on this topic.

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From my very narrow experience, the families I know are far stronger than the families I knew growing up. Parents seem to be more involved with their kids, and more aware of what they're doing. I see lots more dads involved with their kids now than when I was growing up.

 

But I realize I have a bias. My family of origin was extremely dysfunctional.

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Well, I personally don't think the family is in decline. But, oddly enough, the area with the lowest divorce rate is the Northeast and the religious group with the lowest rate is Agnostic/Atheist. That may be counterintuitive if you feel that conservative religion and politics makes for family values, but not if you think that economic influences are the key to keeping families intact.

 

Here's a link to a long explanation of the Barna divorce survey:

 

http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm

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I am certainly willing to acknowledge the high numbers of divorce within the religious community. I'm going to be honest and say that just as I feel the American family is in critical condition, the same could be said of huge swaths of the religious community.

 

I do not think immorality is found in the secular community alone. Sadly, it has decimated the church.

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I think that the poster who said that the group of people who have the lowest divorce rate is the athiests/agnostics is probably right. I've found that Christians seem to hold their spouses to a certain level. The thinking that "Well, you are a Christian and you should be behaving on *this* level and you should not be doing A, B, and C." Holding people up like that is only going to lead to disappointment. People disappoint. And because Christians think that their spouse should "know better and act better because they are a Christian" leads to a lot of fights, disappointments, and eventually, divorces. I've heard a pastor preach on that subject one time and I think he was right on.

 

ETA: I also think that the poster who said that the definition of "family" is changing as well....and it all depends on what your definition of "family" is. My definition is one man, one woman, married, and children if they have any.

Edited by ChristusG
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I think the death of the nuclear family (which is what I interpret the 'American family' to be) has long been predicted...yet there's us weirdos that keep carrying on.

 

Then again, we're not a 'typical nuclear family' either. I was a single unmarried mom before I married Wolf. We've had two more children during our marriage...so we're considered 'blended' and therefore not the 'norm'.

 

I think a lot has to do with the examples set by parents. I come from a long line of divorce. My parents marriage is each their 2nd. All my grandparents divorced and remarried...sometimes several times. S*x was not something sacred. I was never taught that I could say no, let alone WHEN to say no.

 

Coming from my parents home, I was completely vulnerable, had no sense of self worth or self esteem. Anything I did for *me* was selfish...including trying to take time for homework, but then I was in trouble for bad grades.

 

Its considered 'normal' for marriages to end in divorce. There's no longer much (if any) pressure to stay together, no stigma for getting a divorce. There's not much encouragement for married couples to work through the rough patches...unless it comes from within the couple themselves. Society simply doesn't value marriage and intact families the way it used to.

 

Of course, I'm not referring to abuse or cheating.

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I think, if I were a sixties housewife... I would've seen hippies as a sign of the end of the American family. If I had been a Puritan, I would have seen the less stringent communities as signs of the end of American morality.

 

In other words, I don't think the American family is going to die. I think that the definition has broadened, recently, to include more "families" than just those of two heterosexual parents with their biological children, and I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. Imo, it gives greater responsibility to those families that, having been denied "family" status in the past, may have been held to lower standards.

 

:iagree::iagree:

Although I do think that many people do not do enough soul searching prior to getting married so to speak. I believe that many couples do not voice their expectations of marriage, finances, children, raising of children, love, fidelity, etc. Then they are surprised when their partner loves to spend money recklessly;) I also believe that many could benefit from some sort of pre-marital counseling as a reality check. I also believe that many experience infatuation and when that dies out they want to bail:confused: I am fortunate in that my husband and I made it clear that we wanted to stick this out through thick and thin. Obviously, however, even with all of these measures, marriages will fail, but hopefully they will not fail as often.

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I don't know. I tend to think it's pendulum is swinging back towards the positive. I'm 42 and while my mom was a SAHM I rarely saw my dad. He worked second shift and weekends. Many of my friends were the same way. Then there was the shift when more Moms went to work.

 

Now there seems to be a balance where Dads are voicing their desires to spend more time with their children and taking it. I was at 4H meeting last night and the room was full of families, not just moms, not just dads.

 

I see IRL and online more families willing to do whatever it takes to spend quality time together. It may not always look like what the status quo family looks like, so maybe the American family is redefining itself and trying to find balance in the process.

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Those places with the lowest divorce rates are also the places with the lowest marriage rates. Ya gotta' get married to get divorced. More living to gether couples end in break ups than marriages.....

 

Also, consider this, Evangelical Christians and their ilk are more likely to divorce a spouse who is cheating and doing other nefarious things that more progressive marriages would think okay.

 

For instance "swingers" have a very low incidence of divorce. When nothing is a no-no, why get divorced? Heck, when you can get your spouse to agree to have your girlfriend move in....why bother spending the money on a lawyer? Also, I'm thinking their motivation is self preservation.... you and your spouse may deserve each other and it may be difficult to find someone else out there so willing.

 

 

Oh, and if you actually look at the stats, the different rates are very low 21% to 24% with a margin of error of probably 4%-6%.

 

remember there are lies

darn lies

and statistics

 

 

gotta love them statistics!

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Thank you all for your input!

 

My aunt was dumbfounded when she was told by the Pakistani gentleman the statistics on out-of-wedlock births. She thought that perhaps 15% or so of children might be born out of wedlock, and when he told her that 70% of African American children, 25% of white/european children, 40% Hispanic children and 10% Asian children are born out of wedlock, she just about keeled over. (I have heard these numbers before, but have no confirmation personally about them--these are the numbers he gave her.)

She also cited cases of people choosing to live together instead of marrying because the woman would lose child support and gov't assistance, even though they could live without it.

 

As far as a changing definition of family, although I undertand where people are coming from, if anything is a family then nothing is a family. I believe the definition she is thinking about is a married couple and their children, if any. This, of course, includes blended families, and remarried couples. (and so as not to hide behind my aunt, that is my definition as well...)

 

:bigear:

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Also, consider this, Evangelical Christians and their ilk are more likely to divorce a spouse who is cheating and doing other nefarious things that more progressive marriages would think okay.

 

For instance "swingers" have a very low incidence of divorce. When nothing is a no-no, why get divorced? Heck, when you can get your spouse to agree to have your girlfriend move in....why bother spending the money on a lawyer? Also, I'm thinking their motivation is self preservation.... you and your spouse may deserve each other and it may be difficult to find someone else out there so willing.

 

 

 

Are you saying that progressives do not have values and tolerate swinging and such:confused:I disagree. I tend to be a progressive but I also have many, many old fashioned values. I would tend to believe that swingers are a fringe element and a tiny percentage of people and do not represent "progressives" to say the least. Also, even though my husband and I strongly believe in fidelity and abhor cheating, we also believe that some marriages may experience an episode of cheating and still be saved. If I ever experienced cheating by my dh, then I would first want to "kill" him;) However, I would then hope that I could come to my senses and at least carefully examine the whole situation before throwing the baby out with the bath water so to speak. I believe that many marriages are worth saving even the case of cheating. Of course, that does not mean that I or my husband tolerate cheating at all. I just mean there may be circumstances where it is better to forgive and forget and save a marriage.

 

I am fortunate that I have never experienced cheating:) However, I am glad that some public figures have managed to save their marriages and I could not understand the criticism of those who felt they should have just divorced. I believe that divorce is not always the answer.

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I live in the northeast, and if the families I know are any indication, the family is alive and well, close and thriving, but without the fire & brimstone of fundamentalism. Of course you will find the occasional gay couple raising a lovely family, so if you think that means the demise of the 'American family' let me be among the first to throw some dirt on *that* coffin.

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Isn't there a quote somewhere from Aristotle lamenting how disrespectful teenagers were?

 

No, I really doubt the American family will be "extinct" any time soon. I would agree that the "typical" family might not be common as it once was, but that doesn't mean that different families are bad, leading to extinction, immoral, or any other negative. It just means that there are always people who don't like change.

Michelle T

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Thank you all for your input!

 

My aunt was dumbfounded when she was told by the Pakistani gentleman the statistics on out-of-wedlock births. She thought that perhaps 15% or so of children might be born out of wedlock, and when he told her that 70% of African American children, 25% of white/european children, 40% Hispanic children and 10% Asian children are born out of wedlock, she just about keeled over. (I have heard these numbers before, but have no confirmation personally about them--these are the numbers he gave her.)

She also cited cases of people choosing to live together instead of marrying because the woman would lose child support and gov't assistance, even though they could live without it.

 

As far as a changing definition of family, although I undertand where people are coming from, if anything is a family then nothing is a family. I believe the definition she is thinking about is a married couple and their children, if any. This, of course, includes blended families, and remarried couples. (and so as not to hide behind my aunt, that is my definition as well...)

 

:bigear:

I dare say, a family would HAVE to involve more than one person ;) Although, there are those that would include themselves and their dogs as a family, in which case, I guess all bets are off.

 

American families, as defined by various social studies books I've glanced at recently, include same sex couples, single parents, grandparents raising grandchildren, foster families, etc. The definition of family, in America, has changed. A gay couple with children is a family unit. A single parent with children is a family unit. Whether or not that definition is wanted, whether or not some choose to acknowledge it, it's still a family. As long as there are kids being born, and raised, there will be families. Those families may look different, but they're still families.

 

I'm not sure that anything is worse or better, just different. Dh was born to a teenage mother in 1975. His grandfather was born to an unmarried woman in the 1920s. There's tons of unwed mothers and their illigetimate children on our family trees, and not all those women stayed single (iow, they weren't destined for lonliness, they did marry other men, later). I think people have been hand wringing over the end of morality since Plato... I used to have a quote attributed to him that said something along the lines of, 'the kids are sending us all to hell in a handbasket.' It's not new.

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I think, if I were a sixties housewife... I would've seen hippies as a sign of the end of the American family. If I had been a Puritan, I would have seen the less stringent communities as signs of the end of American morality.

 

In other words, I don't think the American family is going to die. I think that the definition has broadened, recently, to include more "families" than just those of two heterosexual parents with their biological children, and I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. Imo, it gives greater responsibility to those families that, having been denied "family" status in the past, may have been held to lower standards.

 

 

:iagree:

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and it all depends on what your definition of "family" is. My definition is one man, one woman, married, and children if they have any.

__________________

 

I assure you that we were more of a *family* during my single motherhood times than the years before.

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Well, I personally don't think the family is in decline. But, oddly enough, the area with the lowest divorce rate is the Northeast and the religious group with the lowest rate is Agnostic/Atheist. That may be counterintuitive if you feel that conservative religion and politics makes for family values, but not if you think that economic influences are the key to keeping families intact.

 

Here's a link to a long explanation of the Barna divorce survey:

 

http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm

 

 

Thanks for sharing that! Great stuff there! :001_smile:

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my paternal grandmother was married 9 times to 8 different men.

 

my maternal grandmother was married 6 times to 3 different men.

 

i don't know anyone in my generation who has been married and divorced so many times...so i'm voting for no.

 

it's based only on my experience, but my family is much closer and more functional than anything in the past two generations of my family or my husband's family.

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Are you saying that progressives do not have values and tolerate swinging and such:confused:I disagree. I tend to be a progressive but I also have many, many old fashioned values. I would tend to believe that swingers are a fringe element and a tiny percentage of people and do not represent "progressives" to say the least. Also, even though my husband and I strongly believe in fidelity and abhor cheating, we also believe that some marriages may experience an episode of cheating and still be saved. If I ever experienced cheating by my dh, then I would first want to "kill" him;) However, I would then hope that I could come to my senses and at least carefully examine the whole situation before throwing the baby out with the bath water so to speak. I believe that many marriages are worth saving even the case of cheating. Of course, that does not mean that I or my husband tolerate cheating at all. I just mean there may be circumstances where it is better to forgive and forget and save a marriage.

 

I am fortunate that I have never experienced cheating:) However, I am glad that some public figures have managed to save their marriages and I could not understand the criticism of those who felt they should have just divorced. I believe that divorce is not always the answer.

 

 

Agreeing with what you're saying here (for the most part).

 

Personally, I do not believe in divorce as an option in my marriage -- it goes against my (atheist, unbeliever, witchly) ethics. I believe when you make poor choices you are destined to get poor results. Also, I don't think people should feel entitled to keep repeating the same poor choices over and over again when children are involved in the equation.

 

A previous poster mentioned how some christians hold their spouses to a lofty standard and this creates disappointment. I think people, of all walks, do that all the time. I think, as a society, we have a warped sense of what a spouse is, and what a marriage is. Certainly, two people entering a marriage have the right to define how they want that marriage to be, but most people, IME, don't ever really discuss these things. They just assume their spouse is on the same page as they are, all the time, from beginning to sad end. They also don't entertain the possibility that, over time, people's thoughts, feelings and ideas change. They don't keep the communication in the marriage open enough to be able to discuss these changes either.

 

Love alone cannot sustain a marriage. Lack of communication, however, seems to be a killer every time.

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She thought that perhaps 15% or so of children might be born out of wedlock, and when he told her that 70% of African American children, 25% of white/european children, 40% Hispanic children and 10% Asian children are born out of wedlock, she just about keeled over. (I have heard these numbers before, but have no confirmation personally about them--these are the numbers he gave her.)

 

I think this is a misreading of birth rate statistics. The numbers I see from the CDC give similar numbers but they are *per 1,000* and *not* a percentage.

 

The definition of family may be changing but it is hardly the first time in history that the definition of family has changed. The "nuclear family," as we know it, is an extremely recent development. I don't think these changes will result in the downfall of society.

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I believe the definition she is thinking about is a married couple and their children, if any. This, of course, includes blended families, and remarried couples. (and so as not to hide behind my aunt, that is my definition as well...)

 

:bigear:

 

At various times it was:

 

Married parents with three children

Separated parents - mother living with children; father living in basement with his girlfriend

Separated parents - father living with his girlfriend and children; mother living in basement with her girlfriend

Divorced parents - mother living with youngest child; other grown children living in attic; mother's girlfriend living in basement; father living nearby with new wife (previous girlfriend)

Divorced parents - mother living with youngest child; mother's girlfriend departed; older children living independently; father living nearby with wife and two small daughters.

 

Out of all that, the first stage felt most like family, but only because it went on for longest. I firmly believe that it is stability that creates a family, not the particular set up. Hobbes' friend, who is the adopted child of two mothers, is just as much part of a stable family as I was in my younger years, when we had a traditional family arrangement.

 

Laura

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Agreeing with what you're saying here (for the most part).

 

Personally, I do not believe in divorce as an option in my marriage -- it goes against my (atheist, unbeliever, witchly) ethics. I believe when you make poor choices you are destined to get poor results. Also, I don't think people should feel entitled to keep repeating the same poor choices over and over again when children are involved in the equation.

 

A previous poster mentioned how some christians hold their spouses to a lofty standard and this creates disappointment. I think people, of all walks, do that all the time. I think, as a society, we have a warped sense of what a spouse is, and what a marriage is. Certainly, two people entering a marriage have the right to define how they want that marriage to be, but most people, IME, don't ever really discuss these things. They just assume their spouse is on the same page as they are, all the time, from beginning to sad end. They also don't entertain the possibility that, over time, people's thoughts, feelings and ideas change. They don't keep the communication in the marriage open enough to be able to discuss these changes either.

 

Love alone cannot sustain a marriage. Lack of communication, however, seems to be a killer every time.

 

:iagree: I am agreeing 100% here since I think many let heady romance get to them and do not have those conversations about their expectations and ideas about marriage and life together. I was fortunate that I had a clear head when I met my husband and knew clearly what I wanted at the age of 37;) We had many very specific conversations about our expectations and ideas before we got married. We also knew that marriage is not always a walk in the park and that we believe in staying through thick and thin. I think many do not have these conversations and end up making poor choices which happens to the best us, including me;)

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It sounds like the American family might be on its way out, if you define family as a unit involving a married couple with their children. My definition of family would include single mothers with children, unmarried couples or same sex couples with their children, grandparents bringing up children, groups of close friends living together and feeling like a family, and so on (not sure about the person-and-her-dog family though!). Just because I happen to live with my husband and our children, I don't think that our family shape is the only model, or even the best one for everybody.

 

Regarding the idea of a 'weak population' that is 'easily led', I would think that the less conventional somebody is, the less easily they will be led. After all, the reason why lesbian couples are having babies is because they could not be led to follow the rules about who should and shouldn't raise children. The 'easily led' people are those who don't think for themselves, but instead do what society/government/church/etc tells them to! (Of course, that is completely different from people who have decided on a conservative/traditional path after due consideration, of which I am one.)

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I think it is seriously in trouble especially in certain groups. The illegitemacy rate is astronomical. The neighborhood that I live in, on the other hand, has very stable, very long married people and even the parents of the younger children are all married, presumably to the parents of the children since the large group of divers and swimmers didn't have rotating sets of parents at the meets which occured on both weekdays and weekends like you would expect with divorced parents. On talking with those parents, I would find that most had been married for quite a while. But then it probably has a lot to do with the economics of my neighborhood. Since it is a neighborhood within 11 miles of DC and the houses are big and have nice yards (most), it means this is an area of means though not one of the superrich areas. These people can live here because they didn't divide assetts or have alimonies or child support payments. DIvorce is one of the leading causes of poverty and staying married is one of the best ways to assure preservation of any wealth you may have.

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I think that the poster who said that the group of people who have the lowest divorce rate is the athiests/agnostics is probably right. I've found that Christians seem to hold their spouses to a certain level. The thinking that "Well, you are a Christian and you should be behaving on *this* level and you should not be doing A, B, and C." Holding people up like that is only going to lead to disappointment. People disappoint. And because Christians think that their spouse should "know better and act better because they are a Christian" leads to a lot of fights, disappointments, and eventually, divorces. I've heard a pastor preach on that subject one time and I think he was right on.

 

ETA: I also think that the poster who said that the definition of "family" is changing as well....and it all depends on what your definition of "family" is. My definition is one man, one woman, married, and children if they have any.

 

I suspect that you will also find a lot of people in the "Christian" category who are not practicing Christians (ie rarely make it to church on Sunday, if ever), but would not call themselves atheist or agnostic. That would skew the results a bit.

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I know I post in these threads defensively and through the biased and hurt lens of my own experience.

 

I've decided, though, that the *real* threat to families isn't whether there are 2 adults, married and living together involved. The real threat is in the quality of relationships.

 

I don't know if I agree with the challenge of "Christian" standards making things harder. I know I don't agree that "falling out of love" represents a significant percentage of divorce - I think most people are indeed mature enough and sophisticated enough to expect the new-relationship energy to dissipate.

 

What I think of in this thread are the numbers of medicocre or worse "marriages" that some would from the outside consider a "stable", "traditional" American family and have no knowledge of the lack of joy, intimacy and playfullness.

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Well, I read about this all the time but I rarely see evidence of it. My definition of family is very elastic though. I currently have someone living in my household who is not related to us but he is definitely family. I consider my SIL's brothers and their wives family. Where I am from everyone is kin even if you are not exactly sure how. In my neighborhood everyone still watches out for and helps each other. My kid's friend's parents are involved in they children's lives. People still wave to strangers here. Maybe I am just lucky to live in the right family, in the right neighborhood, in the right county, in the right state but somehow, I just don't think that my luck is that good. :tongue_smilie:

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I know I post in these threads defensively and through the biased and hurt lens of my own experience.

 

I've decided, though, that the *real* threat to families isn't whether there are 2 adults, married and living together involved. The real threat is in the quality of relationships.

 

I don't know if I agree with the challenge of "Christian" standards making things harder. I know I don't agree that "falling out of love" represents a significant percentage of divorce - I think most people are indeed mature enough and sophisticated enough to expect the new-relationship energy to dissipate.

 

What I think of in this thread are the numbers of medicocre or worse "marriages" that some would from the outside consider a "stable", "traditional" American family and have no knowledge of the lack of joy, intimacy and playfullness.

 

 

Interesting.

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I think that the poster who said that the group of people who have the lowest divorce rate is the athiests/agnostics is probably right. I've found that Christians seem to hold their spouses to a certain level. The thinking that "Well, you are a Christian and you should be behaving on *this* level and you should not be doing A, B, and C." Holding people up like that is only going to lead to disappointment. People disappoint. And because Christians think that their spouse should "know better and act better because they are a Christian" leads to a lot of fights, disappointments, and eventually, divorces. I've heard a pastor preach on that subject one time and I think he was right on.

 

ETA: I also think that the poster who said that the definition of "family" is changing as well....and it all depends on what your definition of "family" is. My definition is one man, one woman, married, and children if they have any.

 

Are you saying that because Christians have higher standards, their divorce rate is higher? Maybe I'm misreading your post, but I sure am not following the logic on this one. :confused:

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I'm skeptical about the claim that atheists and agnostics have a lower divorce rate. Firstly, what are the stats and how were they calculated? Secondly, it's hard to generalise meaningfully about a group as diverse as that, because atheists and agnostics can come from many diverse backgrounds, cultures and philosophies. Thirdly, have they taken into account that a lower rate of divorce could simply be reflecting a lower rate of marriage? (Ie, two young couples fall in love and decide to move in together. Couple A, being atheists who either don't approve of marriage or would rather live together before marrying, simply find a place and move in. Couple B, being Christians, are committed to avoiding sex/co-habitation before marriage, so they get married first. Five years later, all four people have grown and changed, and both couples find that they are now incompatible. However, couple A only has to decide about who gets the furniture and CD collection, while couple B now have a difficult choice to make about whether divorce is an acceptable outcome.)

Edited by Hotdrink
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:iagree::iagree::iagree:

 

 

Bzzt! I'm sorry. That answer is incorrect. ;) To be considered not 'dying' a family must meet certain criteria. The first acceptable American Family is Ozzie & Harriet Go To Church, (can also be Beaver Cleaver's family, provided they start properly disciplining the Beeve) or, in the event Eddie Haskell continues to be a bad influence, The Duggars. Another American Family that might be considered acceptable in the future is The Huxtables. (Provided they stop talking about slavery, the need for inner city youth to have free Help Centers, and jazz).

 

And no, gay people married and parenting, not acceptable, plus anyone who believes in Evolution. That's the kiss of death. You might get away with having once been gay and then repented, but don't think that fish Evolve sticker on your car is going unnoticed. :tongue_smilie:

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I think, if I were a sixties housewife... I would've seen hippies as a sign of the end of the American family. If I had been a Puritan, I would have seen the less stringent communities as signs of the end of American morality.

 

In other words, I don't think the American family is going to die. I think that the definition has broadened, recently, to include more "families" than just those of two heterosexual parents with their biological children, and I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. Imo, it gives greater responsibility to those families that, having been denied "family" status in the past, may have been held to lower standards.

 

I agree 100%. I think that the "death" of a way of life that excludes a wide variety of families is a GOOD thing.

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Bzzt! I'm sorry. That answer is incorrect. ;) To be considered not 'dying' a family must meet certain criteria. The first acceptable American Family is Ozzie & Harriet Go To Church, (can also be Beaver Cleaver's family, provided they start properly disciplining the Beeve) or, in the event Eddie Haskell continues to be a bad influence, The Duggars. Another American Family that might be considered acceptable in the future is The Huxtables. (Provided they stop talking about slavery, the need for inner city youth to have free Help Centers, and jazz).

 

And no, gay people married and parenting, not acceptable, plus anyone who believes in Evolution. That's the kiss of death. You might get away with having once been gay and then repented, but don't think that fish Evolve sticker on your car is going unnoticed. :tongue_smilie:

 

 

:lol::lol::lol:

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I think it is seriously in trouble especially in certain groups. The illegitemacy rate is astronomical.

I think the illegitamacy rate is misleading. By illegitimate people assume single unmarried mother, there are many children these days born out of wedlock but inside very committed relationships.

 

I don't think the family is dying, I do think that

 

1/ some people are less willing now to continue to live in a bad relationship situation, whether that be violence or just complete lack of love. I see this as a GOOD thing.

 

2/ people are less willing to do the work required for a happy marriage. Many years ago my Mum told me that marriages take WORK and she is so right. When you marry, in my opinion you marry "for better or worse, richer or poorer" some people forget that and as soon as the "worse" or "poorer" comes along they are outta there. People walk away from marriages way too quickly these days and that's a BAD thing.

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It is almost impossible to marry and assume that you will stay that way anymore in this country. That causes a lot of distortions that we probably aren't even all that conscious of in the way that we treat each other and the way that we plan our lives--some good and some bad, but many of them caused by the need for a fallback if a marriage doesn't work out. Marriages are not legally secure, and not socially secure.

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I live in the northeast, and if the families I know are any indication, the family is alive and well, close and thriving, but without the fire & brimstone of fundamentalism. Of course you will find the occasional gay couple raising a lovely family, so if you think that means the demise of the 'American family' let me be among the first to throw some dirt on *that* coffin.

 

:iagree:

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Are you saying that because Christians have higher standards, their divorce rate is higher? Maybe I'm misreading your post, but I sure am not following the logic on this one. :confused:

Well, as an atheist I can assure you that I'm perfectly happy in my marriage precisely because I have low standards and don't care where my spouse stands morally or ethically on any and all issues. Morality is a subject we have steadfastly refused to discuss during all stages of our relationship because to seek to know would imply that we care. I guess you could say we turn the blind eye here, rather than the other cheek. We do, however, hold "opinions" on select fashionable progressive topics: e.g. evolution, gay marriage, healthcare, and RS4K... but just to fit in, really.

 

:tongue_smilie:

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Bzzt! I'm sorry. That answer is incorrect. ;) To be considered not 'dying' a family must meet certain criteria. The first acceptable American Family is Ozzie & Harriet Go To Church, (can also be Beaver Cleaver's family, provided they start properly disciplining the Beeve) or, in the event Eddie Haskell continues to be a bad influence, The Duggars. Another American Family that might be considered acceptable in the future is The Huxtables. (Provided they stop talking about slavery, the need for inner city youth to have free Help Centers, and jazz).

 

And no, gay people married and parenting, not acceptable, plus anyone who believes in Evolution. That's the kiss of death. You might get away with having once been gay and then repented, but don't think that fish Evolve sticker on your car is going unnoticed. :tongue_smilie:

 

Oh, you gave me a good giggle before going to bed. Thank you. :)

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Well, as an atheist I can assure you that I'm perfectly happy in my marriage precisely because I have low standards and don't care where my spouse stands morally or ethically on any and all issues. Morality is a subject we have steadfastly refused to discuss during all stages of our relationship because to seek to know would imply that we care. I guess you could say we turn the blind eye here, rather than the other cheek. We do, however, hold "opinions" on select fashionable progressive topics: e.g. evolution, gay marriage, healthcare, and RS4K... but just to fit in, really.

 

:tongue_smilie:

 

:smilielol5::smilielol5::smilielol5:

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It's not religion that keeps marriages together. It's society. If you read the linked commentary about the Barna study, one tidbit that they don't comment on at all is the fact that 18% of people over age 72 divorce, compared to 37% in a younger age group. Less than half!! such a huge difference is telling, and I think it relates to a married couple's sense of needing each other as much as anything. Societies in which there is less prosperity, where married couples genuinely need each other, probably have lower rates of divorce. Here in the US, people have fewer and fewer incentives to stay married if there are significant problems. In the days when women were divested of all property and their children if there was a divorce, you can bet they stayed married-yet, was that better? I would argue that marrriage as an institution is still catching up with society-some of us have learned the communication skills that are the glue of good marriages, some haven't.

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My aunt was dumbfounded when she was told by the Pakistani gentleman the statistics on out-of-wedlock births.

 

I'll take the American family over the Pakistani family every day. You will be despised and ridiculed if you leave your Muslim faith. If you are a young girl who is raped you may be either forced to marry your rapist or killed by an older brother, cousin, uncle, or father for dishonoring the family. In some parts of Pakistan, girls are taken by their mothers to have their external genitals cut off so they won't grow up to have loose morals. If someone dishonors your family in a traditional part of the country you should take vengeance not only against them but against their whole family.

 

Thanks Pakistan, but you can keep your family values.

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