Is the U.S. Facing a Marriage Crisis?

by Norris Law Group on May 30, 2014

Is the U.S. Facing a Marriage Crisis?A National Marriage Project report titled Facilitating Forever states that “More than 40 percent of first marriages and 60 percent of second marriages are ending in divorce, with lower income and less educated couples especially at risk,” according to an article in the May 6, 2014 edition of the Deseret News. Journalist Emily Hales compiles more information to try to find out more about why this may be the case.

This report chronicles work done by writer Michael Potemra, who decided to explore poverty in the United States by taking a cross-country bus trip. On his journey, Potemra witnessed the effects of failed relationships and divorce among the nation’s poorest citizens, and concluded that the negative effects were simply too powerful to overcome through marriage counseling or other therapeutic intervention.

But others disagree, including experts involved with the National Marriage Project, saying that strengthening marriages should be a priority throughout American communities, as “strong marriages and families are essential for creating a safe and happy society.” Ideas of how to accomplish this, however, vary widely. Sue Johnson, a clinical psychologist, says in an interview with the Toronto Globe and Mail promoting and maintaining traditional, monogamous marriages will help: “We are supposed to live in a rich social environment, and part of it is long-term bonds with special people. It sometimes feels like modern society is just determined to forget this…We don’t live in little villages any more. People now often depend on romantic love as their main source of social support.”

Conversely, life coach Lisa Haisha writes in the Huffington Post that monogamy may be unrealistic and actually lead to divorce and adultery: “Maybe the tenets of a successful marriage should not be whether the couple stays monogamous for decades, but rather whether the couple openly communicates about what their unique marriage will look like, what will be deemed acceptable and what will not, and then honoring that joint decision.”

Although they take opposite views, Haisha and Johnson agree in the value of strengthening marriages. The National Marriage Project promotes programs taught by professional counselors funded by federal grants that contribute to the Healthy Marriages and Relationship Initiative. The Facilitating Forever report includes data that show that these programs do have a positive impact, although results could be better: “While Healthy Marriages and Relationships Initiatives cannot mend all the broken hearts and make up for all the unfortunate choices [Michael Potemra] encountered on his journey across America, they can improve many at-risk Americans’ prospects for healthier family formation…The progress is slow, plodding and prosaic, but state-based relationship literacy education can help sustain one of the most fundamental institutions in our society.”

Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County and throughout Utah in the area of divorce and family law. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.

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