OH MY Goodness!! - Wedding Cake for the Soul - 10/25/00
cmfce at his.com
Wed Oct 25 14:13:40 EDT 2000
subject: OH MY Goodness!! - Wedding Cake for the Soul - 10/25/00
from: Smart Marriages
This is an amazing take on the Waite/Gallagher book,
"The Case for Marriage" in today's Washington Post - no less!!
The fact that the Washington Post presented "marriage as a trend"
on the front page of their Style Section with a photo!
is more compelling than all the evidence they point
to in the article! - diane
Order the book from amazon by clicking here:
Wedding Cake For the Soul
Waite and Gallagher's book sums up the recent trend in marriage as being
about health, finances, life spans, emotional well-being and less about
"traditional family values"
By Jennifer Frey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 25, 2000 ; Page C01
Look out, Singletons. Marriage is Back. Back, back, back.
Monica on "Friends" is doing it, to heck with all that sitcom symmetry.
Bridget Jones (from whom we have brazenly stolen the term "Singleton,"
thank you) may have fussed and fumed about the "Smug Marrieds," but you know
she really wanted to be one. "Seinfeld"--that bastion of hip
singleness that despised marriage so much the writers killed off George's
fiancee--is long gone.
Okay, okay, so the new hip comedy is "Will & Grace," about a gay man and his
best friend, who happens to be a woman. But have you been
paying attention? Even gay men and lesbians are dying to get married these
Here's more reality: Gloria Steinem did it. Gloria Steinem. Didn't she say,
"A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle?" In the June
issue of Cosmopolitan, the twenty-something woman longs not for a big-city
career outside the home but wedded bliss as happy homemaker;
she is--as described in one couple's case--in search of "a full-time stint
as his housefrau."
Remember these six words: Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?
And just in case you're still not clear on this issue, there's a new book
out, "The Case for Marriage," by Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher, that
will set everyone straight. Marrieds? Happy. Singles? Less happy, less
financially secure, less likely to have a fat retirement account and less
likely to have great sex (really, they swear!). Oh, and more likely to die
before getting to cash in their Social Security benefits. What further proof
do you need?
Waite and Gallagher's book addresses what they term the five "myths" of
marriage, including "Marriage is mostly about children" and "Divorce is
usually the best answer for kids when a marriage becomes unhappy."
(We're not even going to dip our toes into the divorce waters today. It's
just too distressing. Have you seen all the buzz about Judith
Wallerstein's new book, "The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce," which argues
that divorce has a hideous effect on children and is almost never
good? It's enough to make divorced parents want to hide under the couch.)
The most talked-about "myth" in the Waite-Gallagher book, however, is the
belief that marriage is bad for women. Not true, they say. Not true
"I would definitely say that the evidence shows that marriage is good for
women on lots of dimensions," Waite says. "And I think that flies in the
face of perceived feminist beliefs."
The book is based on 18 years of research by Waite, a professor of sociology
at the University of Chicago. Her co-author is director of the
Marriage Program at the Institute for American Values, a self-described
nonpartisan public policy think tank that specializes in family issues. But,
the authors are quick to say, their book is not about morals or religion or
that favorite catch-phrase: "traditional family values." No, this is about
social science: About health, about finances, about life spans, about
"Marriage is not just a label or a piece of paper, marriage is a creative
act," Gallagher says. "When people invest in a marriage, it changes the
way they look at the world and act--they're more willing to invest in their
future together--and it also changes the way people look at you. You do
get special status."
Among some of Waite and Gallagher's more eye-catching claims:
* Nine out of 10 married men will make it to age 65, but only six out of 10
single guys. (For women, the same ratios are nine out of 10 and eight
out of 10, reflecting a much smaller gap.)
* Only 5 percent of dating men who said they didn't expect their
relationship to last said they were extremely emotionally satisfied with
compared with 48 percent of married men. (Meanwhile, 7 percent of single
women in short-term relationships said they were extremely
satisfied physically with sex, compared with 41 percent of married women.)
* Married people--with or without children--are less depressed and more
emotionally healthy than comparable singles.
"Marriage gives us a starring role in someone else's life," Gallagher says.
"We talk about single people being free to do whatever they want.
People who matter a lot to others aren't free to do whatever they want. It's
And a lot of people seem to be making the trade. Just check out People
magazine: The celebrity-starting-over-after-divorce cover has given
way to Brad Pitt chucking his sexiest bachelor status to marry Jennifer
As for actual numbers, it's hard to tell, because statistics for recent
marriage trends are not yet available. But after dropping from 9.0 marriages
per 1,000 people in the United States in 1997 to 8.4 in 1998, the numbers
held steady in 1999--and the national divorce rate actually dropped
(from 4.3 per 1,000 people to 4.1).
"I think we are seeing this deep longing for stable love," Gallagher says.
But what's causing it? A conservative backlash against the high divorce
rate, and the growing numbers of single parents? A vast right-wing
conspiracy? Better china patterns at Bloomies? Or, as Gallagher argues, is
it just a renewed response to basic human emotion?
Maybe it's all about the money. Marriage rates tend to go up when the
economy is strong, according to Norval Glenn, a professor of sociology
and American studies at the University of Texas, though he notes that they
haven't risen much during the recent economic boom.
"The rate is not extremely high, but the interest in marriage seems to have
gone up," Glenn says, citing examples from both politics and
popular culture. "I can even see it among my students."
But why now? Even Glenn doesn't have a definitive answer.
"I think it's partly because people are getting a little bit disillusioned
with the single life," Glenn says. "People have experienced it, didn't like
and are turning to something else."
Still, look at Congress and the presidential campaign, and the repeal of the
"marriage penalty"--the higher tax burden on married couples,
versus singles--is one of the most attention-grabbing topics. Al Gore jumps
in the polls after he plants one on his wife at the Democratic
National Convention. Proof of a strong marriage! American hearts swell with
happiness! Newt Gingrich leaves his wife for some younger
honey? He sinks in popularity like a rat taped to a lead Barbie doll.
Even feminists don't seem to be arguing much against marriage of late. Asked
about Steinem's marriage this summer, author Susan
Brownmiller drew an immediate parallel between Steinem's decision and the
"Is this some sort of renegade position she's taken?" Brownmiller asked. "It
isn't. She's following a trend in society today."
A trend? Maybe. On "Sex and the City," where we learn that big-city single
girls get to wear fabulous Manolo Blahnik pumps and eat all their
meals in hip restaurants, Charlotte went off and married some rich guy with
a country home this season.
"The theory is, they're having a really great time," Gallagher says, "but
there are these enormous undercurrents of dissatisfaction, which is why I
think it's a hit."
So Charlotte, the most openly marriage-hungry of the four, found her man
this season. Of course, she then found out he was impotent, fell into
the arms of the gardener, and now has opted for a trial separation. But,
hey, we won't go there.
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