The notion that marriage is a temporary institution isn't new. Sociologist and futurist Alvin Toffler wrote the best-seller Future Shock in 1970, and with matter-of-fact conviction, he wrote of the rising trend of "trial" or "temporary marriages"—first marriages of young people, lasting three months to three years, and of "serial marriages" that would take place after the dissolution of the "trial marriage," happening at specific turning points in people's lives. Toffler's views hold true today. Having accurately predicted the coming trends, he could see how men and women would begin to view marriage as a temporary state of being, and today the divorce rate still hovers at just over 50 percent. But that "50%" data point is just common data point. Here's the truth (from the US Census and the Association of Divorce Reform):
• 19.5 million adults have been divorced at least once.
• 50% of all marriages end in divorce within five years.
• Of the couples that last five years, only 50% make it to their 10th wedding anniversary (That's a 75% divorce rate before the 10th anniversary)
• Over 80% of divorcees reference “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for separation.
Here's something to consider: If you've been married for a few years, you might have a child (or two). So, how the rising divorce rate affecting kids? Is it providing the quintessential example for children of just how temporary marriage—and all relationships—can be. Divorced) homes account for:
• 63% of youth suicides
• 90% of homeless/runaway children
• 85% of children with behavior problems
• 71% of high school dropouts
• 85% of youths in prison
• Over 50% of teen mothers
So, not only are the adults in these relationships causing themselves heartache and emotional turmoil, but they are potentially perpetuating the problem and showing their children—by example—precisely what a temporary relationship looks like. Not a pretty picture for our up-and-coming generations.
What Can Be Done
Obviously, there isn't a magic bullet to "cure" these relationships issues. There are, however, things that people might consider to avoid disconnecting and divorcing:
1. Be ready before tying the knot. Why get into a committed relationship unless you're ready? There is no Cardinal Rule stating that people must get married by X date—or at all! Before taking the leap, it's not only important to know your partner, it's perhaps even more important to know yourself—who you are, and where you're going. After you know those two things, who will go with you is a choice, not a forced decision. And don't let anyone pressure you into committing before you're ready... including yourself.
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