Poster Couples/Mating Behavior/Michigan Reaction/Teen

Smart Marriages ® cmfce
Thu Sep 30 12:39:23 EDT 2004

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subject: Poster Couples/Mating Behavior/Michigan Reaction/Teen Suicide-9/04


> Diane, Bill Seabrook and I are working with Julie Bumgardner to form a "First
> Things First of Gaston County". We are getting SOOOOOO MUCH GOOD STUFF from
> your web site. Abundant Blessings upon you!
> I would like to get 4 bumper stickers. One each for my wife and my car, and
> the same for Bill Seabrook.
> Rev John Weisenhorn
> Gastonia NC 28052

I've heard RAVE reviews from Julie Baumgardner about your efforts in
Gastonia. She seems to think you're the most promising community effort
she's seen - and she's seen most of them, so I'm impressed. Please keep me
informed. Are you creating a Community Web Resource Center? If so, hope
you'll get it listed on the Registry. I'll definitely be watching for a
great turn around in marriage in Gastonia. Maybe we can get the whole town
to sport these bumper stickers. It does seem to raise consciousness in more
ways than one - gets people to check out the site but couples also tell me
it raises their own consciousness to drive around as a 'poster couple' with
Smart Marriages plastered on the back of their car. One woman wrote this
week to say that she and her husband had an ugly tiff in a supermarket. As
they approached their car, her husband pointed to the bumper sticker and
said, "Guess we're not that smart...." and they both started laughing. She
said she immediately flashed to all the stuff she'd read on the web site and
the fight just evaporated. - diane

This article shows how tough it is to pass marriage legislation. The
Michigan folks have worked so hard and know they'll be discouraged if the
Gov doesn't sign, BUT, we this provides us with a good case study - we'll
learn from it. We're working on legislative templates and strategies. I
encourage all of you to listen to the Legislation tape from the Dallas
Conference - very good on strategies, perseverance.
#754 -515 - order at 800-241-7785
Talking with State Legislators and Officials about Marriage
Sheri Steisel, MPP, Jack Tweedie, JD, PhD, MN Sen Steve Dille, Bill Doherty,
PhD and a panel of legislators and officials
Learn to provide compelling information on the benefits and feasibility of
supporting marriage, what other states have accomplished and an array of
approaches and funding streams. - diane

Thursday, September 30, 2004
By Sharon Emery
Lansing Bureau

LANSING - The GOP-controlled Legislature is poised to send a wary Gov.
Jennifer Granholm a package of "marriage preservation" bills that most
Democrats and even some Republicans say constitutes marriage "invasion."

Backers of the bills say they are designed to strengthen marriage at the
beginning of relationships and minimize the impact of divorce on children
when those relationships end.

On a 23-14 vote Wednesday, the Senate passed a bill that would require
couples to complete four hours of premarital education if they want a
marriage license in the usual three days. Without the classes they'd have to
wait 28 days.

"We have a deep-seated desire to see the institution of marriage fortified
in our communities," Sen. Bill Hardiman, R-Kentwood, said in an impassioned
speech before the vote that touched on his personal experience with divorce
as a young man. He has been married to his second wife for 30 years, but his
son from a previous relationship is serving a life sentence for murder.

"We can't afford not to be involved in this," Hardiman said, reiterating
backers' claims that ultimately society pays for failed marriages when they
lead to poverty and crime.

But opponents were equally vehement. Sen. Liz Brater, D-Ann Arbor, said the
bills constituted "government invasion into the most private areas of our

And Republican Sen. Shirley Johnson of Troy was visibly indignant, calling
the counseling bill "the most offensive piece of legislation" she had seen
in 24 years in the Legislature.

Thrusting a pointed finger at her Senate colleagues, Johnson said, "The last
thing we want is for you, Mr. and Mrs. Legislature, to be intruding into our

The Senate voted largely along party lines, with Republicans voting for and
Democrats voting against.

Other bills approved by the Senate and sent to the House for expected
concurrence after the Nov. 2 election would require a divorce-effects class
for parents with minor children, and offer divorcing parents the option of
setting up their own parenting plan instead of having a court do it.

Others would establish a tax credit of up to $50 for couples who pay for
premarital education classes, and create a premarital-education check-off
box on marriage licenses, so the state could track whether the classes made
any difference in whether couples divorced.

The governor's office indicated serious reservations about the legislation
Wednesday, as it has all along, despite backers' attempts to mitigate

Granholm spokeswoman Mary Dettloff said the governor could support just two
minor provisions of the package -- one allowing retired clergy to provide
counseling to troubled families, and another on the role of prosecuting
attorneys and the Friend of the Court in divorce proceedings.

"It is far too invasive into the private lives of Michigan residents and
goes beyond the role of government," Dettloff said of the rest of the

Brad Snavely of Michigan Family Forum, a conservative advocacy group, said
the legislation was "a very positive, modest step toward affirming the
institution of marriage," and noted that the governor would be under
considerable pressure to sign it.

"It's the right thing to do," Snavely said.

Dear Diane
Here's an article from the current Newsweek that presents an extremely
dangerous situation - and terrible "preparation" for marriage (or even for
a serious relationship). And it's not some irresponsible musings; it's
based on serious research efforts to determine what's happening with young
people at colleges today.
Peggy Vaughan
We need to get courses like LoveU2 and How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk on
campus. - diane
- - - - -
Mating Behavior 101
Newsweek - Oct. 4, 2004
Social scientists have recently begun to study sex on campus, in search of
the truth about 'hooking up'
By Daniel McGinn

It was just after sunset on a warm day at the College of New Jersey. Under
a rising moon, the soccer team ran the field in the lighted stadium.
Outside the student union, a guitar duo played an acoustic set. And in a
dormitory lounge, 27 freshmen sprawled on couches as psychology professor
Elizabeth Paul quizzed them about their sex lives. There was hardly any
talk of "dating" or "boyfriends" or "girlfriends" this is 2004, not a rerun
of "Happy Days." Instead, the students and the professor talked about "beer
goggles" and what happens when partners "catch feelings." Even as freshmen
these students know enough about "hooking up" to hold forth for more than
an hour. As they dished, Paul scrawled in her notebook. Their musings may
contain the spark for her next big research project.

Since the late 1990s the media has been filled with accounts of adolescent
hookups. The phrase describes one-time sexual encounters--anything from
kissing to intercourse--between acquaintances who've no plans to even talk
afterward, let alone repeat the experience. As alarming as this sounds to
parents, journalistic accounts of this behavior seem sketchy and anecdotal,
filled with boasts by kids who won't give their last names. Now that's
starting to change. In the past few years social scientists like Paul, the
41-year-old chair of the College of New Jersey's psychology department,
have started aiming their microscopes at hookups. The result is a growing
body of peer-reviewed research that feels like a cross between the
Discovery Channel and MTV's "Real World." The researchers' aim: to find out
how and why kids hook up, and how it affects them emotionally.

The early research confirms just how widespread the behavior has become. In
2000 Paul published what colleagues credit as the first academic article
that explored college hookups in depth. Her survey of 555 undergrads found
that 78 percent of students had hooked up, that they usually did so after
consuming alcohol and that the average student had accumulated 10.8 hookup
partners during college. Studies on other campuses produced similar
numbers. Researchers at James Madison University found that 77.7 percent of
women and 84.2 percent of men had hooked up, a process they said routinely
involving "petting below the waist, oral sex or intercourse." At the
University of Michigan, more than 60 percent of students reported hooking
up; they said that a typical hookup more often included "genital touching"
than "a meaningful conversation."

Skeptics ask whether hooking up is really any different than the
one-night-stands college students have had for decades. Most researchers
believe it is, but it's hard to prove. The difficulty stems from the fact
that older research focused on "casual sex," usually defined as an
encounter that includes intercourse. Since many modern hookups stop short
of all-the-way sex, it's hard to make apples-to-apples comparisons. But the
academics say they're convinced the phenomenon has changed. "It's
generalized ... now it's the campus norm," Paul says. "If you're a normal
college student, you do it." While it's impossible to say exactly why
students would rather hook up than seek traditional boyfriends or
girlfriends, students say that greater competitive pressures--to build a
resume, position themselves for grad school and chart a career
trajectory--leaves them little time for romance. Says Michigan professor
Monique Ward: "[They say] 'College is just a layover--I don't want to be
tied down and committed'."

Those sentiments weren't apparent in Paul's focus group last week, probably
because the students had just arrived at college. The group's more vocal
participants happily discussed their motivations and the emotional fallout
of their high-school hookups. Some said hookups often left them feeling
lousy--especially if they'd suffered beer goggles (in which drunkenness led
them to a substandard partner) or if one hookee caught feelings (meaning
they became emotionally involved). When Paul asked how they defined a "good
hookup," one young woman quickly answered: "When no one finds out about it
or talks about it later."

Now that early studies have quantified the frequency of and sex practices
that take place during hookups, researchers are becoming more interested in
the emotional aftereffects. Some researchers are doing longitudinal studies
that follow the same students from freshman year onward, to see how their
attitudes change. For her current research Paul is asking more questions
like "Do you think your hookup experiences are going to help you be a good
relationship partner someday?" The students don't really have an answer.
Some researchers worry that hooking up gives students sexual experience but
no real relationship experience, which could affect their ability to segue
into more adult, committed relationships. But Allison Caruthers, a Michigan
Ph.D. student who's doing her dissertation on hooking up, cites research
showing that people who've experimented with alcohol or marijuana are often
psychologically healthier than people who abstained entirely. She believes
there's a similarity in hookups. "People are looking at hooking up as this
horrible, wretched thing, but some experimentation may actually be positive
in terms of the way you think about sex and relationships," she says. For
the freshmen gathered in the lounge last week, the next four years offer
plenty of chances to learn those lessons.

x 2004 Newsweek, Inc.
News 6 - Sep 29, 2004

(And if the above article weren't depressing enough....- diane)

A new study shows that suicide is a growing problem in Idaho. The state is
ranked 7th in the nation for the number of suicides per capita, and
specifically for teens, Idaho is ranked second in the nation. Senior
reporter Suzanne Hobbs has more on the reasons.

>From the high divorce rate that creates instability in the home, to the
difficulty people have in talking about it, suicide among teens is at an
epidemic level in Idaho. The survey was conducted for the 2004 Kids Count
survey by Boise State University Professor Peter Wollheim. He found that
suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people. Traffic
accidents are the leading cause of death.

Wollheim says the blame for one of the highest suicide rates in the nation
lies with this being a rural state, financial insecurity with a boom and
bust economy, and a reluctance people have to talk about their issues.
Wollheim says that although Idaho has a high marriage rate, it also has a
high divorce rate - higher than the national average - and that can cause
greater instability in children and teens. We spoke to the professor by
phone earlier today about possible solutions.

"I think we need to address the issue of public education, knowing some of
the warning signs, taking the warning signs seriously, alerting people to
some of the resources that are out there and what resources could be created
for relatively little cost. And above all, lifting the stigma - talking
about mental illness and talking about depression and suicide as well."

Idaho does have a statewide suicide prevention plan that focuses on
education because it's important to know what the warning signs are - and
act when you see them.

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