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Traditional Marriage Is NOT Dead

by Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz

Traditional marriage is NOT dead and we know that for a fact.  We hear them all the time – those purveyors of half-truths, un-truths, and political agendas.  You know the ones – the ones who continually pronounce to the world that traditional marriage is dead.  Well, all we can say is – don’t believe it!

In the year just ended, there is substantial support for our point of view.  According to the best estimates we can find, there were some 43,500,000 marriages worldwide in 2007.  There were 8,750,000 divorces in the same year.  If you do the math you can see that worldwide, marriages outnumber divorces by a ratio of 5 to 1.  Stated clearly and succinctly, there were five marriages for every one divorce in the world last year.  Hardly sounds like the death of marriage to us.

The truth is – based on the facts – marriage is alive and well in the world today.  There is no disputing these facts.  So, why do the purveyors of negativism continue to distort the truth?  Why do certain members of the media and so many of those who write books about the demise of marriage continue to distort the reality of what is?

There are probably lots of reasons to explain this phenomenon.  Foremost among them are the polltakers.  Polltakers are notorious for asking the wrong questions or asking poorly phrased questions, and then reporting results that are, well, grossly out of touch with the reality they purport to represent.

A recent example is a Zogby Poll that got much national attention.  One of their so-called “findings” was the following:  “Issues related to trust in relationships vary significantly among different generations.  Younger respondents are more likely to want the truth from their partner, even if it hurts - more than 85% of respondents in their 20s said they always want the truth, compared to 79% of those in their 50s and 60s.” 

We wonder, did it ever occur to the pollsters that there is a “maturity factor” at work here?  Did they ever consider that younger respondents “want the truth” from their partner “even if it hurts” is simply the admonitions of naïve young people who don’t yet understand that “sometimes the truth hurts.”  Older folks have gained great wisdom over the years and they know that sometimes “words hurt.”  Words sometimes have unintended consequences.  Older and wiser people understand this.  Older folks tend to be more careful with what they express, especially if their words might have negative consequences.

And one more point about this poll – did anyone ask if the difference between 85% (the percentage of young people who want the truth) and 79% of older adults who always “want the truth” was statistically significant?  In every poll, there is an error of measurement.  True differences occur outside of this error range.  In other words, is the 6% difference reported by the pollster really meaningful?

We offer the aforementioned example to demonstrate that the questions asked and to whom, often determines the answer received.  But, the answer received is not always the answer that is the most honest portrayal of the truth or the reality of it all.

Here is another example.  A recent New York Times article reported that fewer than half of American women were now married.  Yet, they included in their population of “un-married women” girls who were 15, 16, and 17 years old and women whose husbands were diseased!  See our point?  Does anyone really believe that 15-year-old girls are “women?”  Of course not!   Does anyone really believe that a 70-year-old widow is “unmarried?”  Of course not!

So, here is where we are.  Marriage is alive and well in the world today.  It is still among the greatest structures for social order that exists in the world today.  Marriage is not in danger just because a pollster asks a question that suggests it is.  Marriage is not in danger just because people who report statistical data report it incorrectly or in a way that leads to a false conclusion about marriage.

The truth is, marriage is alive and well worldwide AND in the United States of America.  Marriage is still the greatest and most profound commitment to love that exists, irrespective of the so-called truths exposed by pollsters who might suggest something otherwise based on faulty or distorted polling data.

When you discount for the number of divorcees in America who get divorced multiple times, the “divorce rate” and its impact is much less than that reported by the popular media.  As we have said before, the “real” divorce rate in the USA in terms of its true societal impact is far less than the 50% rate reported.  When discounted for those who have multiple divorces, the “true” impact divorce rate is probably closer to 35% or 40%.

We have researched love and marriage for more than 25 years.  All we ask is that the good folks who read polls and crunch numbers do so very carefully.  The conclusions you draw will often be different from those concluded by the pollsters, the popular media, and the so-called experts.

Marriage is alive and well in the USA and around the world.  To suggest otherwise is to ignore the real facts.

Love well!