Two widely recognized trends in American society might have something to do with each other.
Divorce rates climbed to the highest levels ever in the 1980s, when about half of all marriages ended in divorce.
And in the present day, Americans are rapidly becoming less religious. Since 1972, the share of Americans who say they do not adhere to any particular religion has increased from 5 percent of the population to 25 percent.
Could those two trends be related? A new study from the Public Religion Research Institute says yes. The children of divorced parents have grown up to be adults of no religion.
People whose parents divorced when they were children are significantly more likely to grow up not to be religious as adults, the study found. Thirty-five percent of the children of divorced parents told pollsters they are now nonreligious, compared with 23 percent of people whose parents were married when they were children.
[…]Cox said his team found that even children of divorced parents who are religious are less religious than their peers. Thirty-one percent of them go to services every week, compared with 43 percent of religious people whose parents were married when they were growing up.
This part about Protestant pastors wimping out of thorny issues is very interesting:
Andrew Root, a professor at Luther Seminary who has written a book about the spiritual consequences of divorce for children, was not surprised to hear about the study’s findings.
“Everything in a divorce gets divided. Literally everything. Parents’ friends get divided. Relatives get divided. Everyone takes sides,” Root said. “Even religion takes sides. The church gets divided. Dad leaves Mom’s faith, or vice versa. Negotiating those worlds becomes difficult.”
Root said churches are not doing enough to speak directly to the concerns of children in those situations, so the kids lose faith in the ability of the church to help them. He said that when the divorce rate climbed in the 1980s, many members of the clergy, especially mainline Protestant pastors, stopped speaking out against divorce so as not to alienate struggling congregants. But by going silent on the subject, they didn’t offer any comfort to the kids.
As adults, Root said, those same people do not believe the church will respond to their adult problems. “They’re now thinking, ‘I’m dealing with depression.’ Or, ‘I’m dealing with my own marital troubles.’ The church must not have anything to say to me, because when I was 8 and dealing with divorce, my Sunday-school teacher didn’t even say, ‘Man, Amanda, that must be really complicated for you’,” Root said.
I get e-mails all the time from people who are suffering from the effects of the Sexual Revolution, which was put in place by selfish adults so they could do whatever they wanted. Children suffered a lot from this. Obviously, the painful of experience of their parents divorcing hurt their view of God. But divorce also hurts a child’s ability to know what a man loving a woman in a stable commitment looks like, and what a woman loving a man in a stable commitment looks like. I mean – what does love between sexes look like when the “in love” feeling has worn off, and all that remains is the commitment to build something together? I think that a lot is riding on the stability of the relationship between the child’s mother and father.
This article from Family Studies indicates four reasons why we should have expected Brad and Angelina to divorce.
The Brangelina break-up is like the big earthquake that seismologists missed. Angelina Jolie serving Brad Pitt with divorce papers just two years into their marriage has sent shock waves through the entertainment and parenting press, inspiring panicked headlines like, “If Brad Pitt And Angelina Jolie Can’t Make It, Who Can?”But should we be so surprised?
The unfortunate truth is that if fans of the A-list couple had consulted family and marriage experts, this real-life plot twist might have looked fairly likely, if not predictable. In other words, it was more a matter of when than if.
[…]For starters, Britain’s Marriage Foundation recently conducted a study of 488 A-list celebrities. They found “that celebrities divorce at roughly twice the rate of the rest of us. . . . In the early years of their marriages, divorce among celebs is a lot more than twice as commonplace. During the first three years—as with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie—some 7 percent of celebs had divorced compared to 2 percent for [the rest of] us.”
Jolie and Pitt also match at least three of the individual risk factors for divorce that University of Denver research professor Scott Stanley, Ph.D., lists on his blog, Sliding vs Deciding. These include: being a child of divorce (as in Jolie’s case), both stars having had “a prior marriage that ended” (this will be Brad’s second divorce, and Jolie’s third), and “[p]rior to marrying, having sex with or cohabiting with someone other than your mate,” which looks applicable to the couple as well. They also match two other divorce risk factors for couples, including “having a child together before marriage,” and cohabiting “before either being married or at least engaged.”
Now, I’ve talked to women about these studies, and I’ve got two different responses from two different groups.
One group of those women says that the research is entirely correct, and that their future decisions need to be guided by the best practices shown in the research. They like that there is some data there that will help them to act in line what the Bible says. One lady I mentored who had an abortion actually started to mistrust her emotions when it came to choosing men and making decisions about whether to commit. We talked through my objectives, then she evaluated men using the best practices from the research. She wanted to make better decisions, and she thought that the problem was her – specifically, her feelings ruining her decision-making. She’s married to a super guy now, and doing great. Her view on emotions now, and I’m quoting, is “emotions are data, but you shouldn’t let them influence your decision-making more than reason and evidence”. Also, her husband is totally spoiled.
Another group of women expressed support for the Bible teachings and but their response to the best practices contained in the research studies is that they are “too strict” and that they only work “within a narrow scope”. And their past usually shows evidence of this habit they have of dismissing moral rules and best practices. Note: converting to Christianity doesn’t automatically change reckless, self-centered behavior. The talk could improve, but the actions could still be irresponsible and narcissistic. The truth is that some women just love to let their emotions control them, and it’s going to cause problems in a marriage if they don’t have self-control. I see a lot of women like this delaying marriage into their early and mid-30s, with no idea about how this affects their value to men. (They seem not to care about what men want from them, or from the marriage, and don’t see investing early in marriage to be a good way to make a difference, because it’s not fun). Marriages are most stable when the marriage takes place in the late 20s – not the mid 30s.
One last point. I have a male friend who also dismisses all the studies, and defends irresponsible Christian women who break all the rules and delay marriage for fun and thrills and travel. “She’s a Christian” he says. “She’s much better than most women I know” he says. “What does it matter if she marries at 40? Maybe she doesn’t want to have kids?” I show him the study about marriages succeeding when the woman is in her mid to late 20s, and he says “Who cares?” I showed him the study about credit score being connected to marital stability, and he dismissed that one, too. “How many of those women in the study are Christians?” he said. And finally “you can’t apply studies to individuals”. I don’t think that he should dismiss the studies like this – I think it will hurt him. For every divorce that happens, and for every case of sex-withholding, there was a man who first said “the studies don’t apply to me”.
The rules really do matter. You can’t dismiss the research studies and escape the consequences of doing so. And don’t assume that a person has learned her lesson just because she has become a Christian – it’s very possible for her to be saying responsible things while doing the same wild, irresponsible decision-making that she was doing as a non-Christian. One woman I know who had plans to literally marry an unemployed, penniless graduate student in his late 20s, told me that “men do have a provider role, and women should prefer men who work and have savings”. She literally introduced him to her parents – that’s how serious she was. Not one dime in his bank account, not one job on his resume. Her words say complementarian, but her actions say radical feminist rebellion against traditional male roles.
So, don’t believe the words, believe the actions. Show the candidate the studies, and look for actions that are in line with the best practices in the studies.
1 Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.
2 But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.
3 The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.
4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
So with that in mind, I want to turn to a well-known Jewish talk show host named Dennis Prager, who is much loved and listened to by Christians. Dennis Prager features a lot of discussions about male-female relationships on his show, particularly during the male-female hour. In this two part series on male sexuality, he explains why women should not deprive their husbands of sex without a good reason.
It is an axiom of contemporary marital life that if a wife is not in the mood, she need not have sex with her husband. Here are some arguments why a woman who loves her husband might want to rethink this axiom.
First, women need to recognize how a man understands a wife’s refusal to have sex with him: A husband knows that his wife loves him first and foremost by her willingness to give her body to him. This is rarely the case for women. Few women know their husband loves them because he gives her his body (the idea sounds almost funny). This is, therefore, usually a revelation to a woman. Many women think men’s natures are similar to theirs, and this is so different from a woman’s nature, that few women know this about men unless told about it.
This is a major reason many husbands clam up. A man whose wife frequently denies him sex will first be hurt, then sad, then angry, then quiet. And most men will never tell their wives why they have become quiet and distant. They are afraid to tell their wives. They are often made to feel ashamed of their male sexual nature, and they are humiliated (indeed emasculated) by feeling that they are reduced to having to beg for sex.
When first told this about men, women generally react in one or more of five ways…
He then explains the 5 ways that women respond to this.
1. You have to be kidding. That certainly isn’t my way of knowing if he loves me. There have to be deeper ways than sex for me to show my husband that I love him.
I think that this is a common mistake that liberal women make because they think that men are just hairy women. But men are not women, we are different and sex means something different to men than it does to women. In the past, most women understood how men are different than women, but younger women have been taught that there are no differences between the sexes. To think any different is “sexism”.
Here’s another from the list:
4. You have it backwards. If he truly loved me, he wouldn’t expect sex when I’m not in the mood.
Again, this is the common mistake that many younger women today make in thinking that love is a one-way street – flowing from men and children to the woman. If men and children DON’T do what the woman wants, or if they make demands on her, then they don’t “love” her and she is justified in ignoring them.
Liberal women have been taught to believe that they are always victims or some group of oppressors, such as men and children or corporations. It makes them rebel against having to do anything for anyone else, because they don’t want to be “oppressed”. That makes them unable to accept that relationships are give-and-take, Once a commitment to love another person permanently has been made, then each person has responsibilities to provide for the needs of the other.
I actually had a conversation with a Christian woman once who said that women should not be obligated to do things that they didn’t feel like doing. I asked her if men were obligated to go to work when they didn’t feel like going. She said yes, and acted as though I were crazy for asking. I just laughed, because she didn’t even see the inconsistency. The truth is that men often don’t feel like working, but they get up and go to work anyway, whether they like it or not (in most cases). Similarly, a women should feel obligated to have sex with her husband, even if she is not in a perfect mood for it (in most cases). Sometimes, a man stays home from work, and it’s OK. And sometimes a woman says no to sex, and it’s OK. But it’s not OK to stop doing it for months and months with no good reason.
Here are eight reasons for a woman not to allow not being in the mood for sex to determine whether she denies her husband sex.
He then explains the eight reasons.
Here’s one of them:
7. Many contemporary women have an almost exclusively romantic notion of sex: It should always be mutually desired and equally satisfying or one should not engage in it. Therefore, if a couple engages in sexual relations when he wants it and she does not, the act is “dehumanizing” and “mechanical.” Now, ideally, every time a husband and wife have sex, they would equally desire it and equally enjoy it. But, given the different sexual natures of men and women, this cannot always be the case. If it is romance a woman seeks — and she has every reason to seek it — it would help her to realize how much more romantic her husband and her marriage are likely to be if he is not regularly denied sex, even of the non-romantic variety.
Women have to engage their husbands if they expect their husbands to engage in the marriage as a husband and father. Men can’t do their protector, provider and spiritual leader roles forever unless their needs are met at some point. Performance of these male duties is not free. Wives have to love their husbands in the way that men expect to be loved. That’s what they vowed to do in the wedding, isn’t it?
At the end of the article, Prager makes a general point about women that I think needs to be emphasized over and over and over:
That solution is for a wife who loves her husband — if she doesn’t love him, mood is not the problem — to be guided by her mind, not her mood, in deciding whether to deny her husband sex.
This problem of sex-withholding is so widespread, that it really makes me (although I am a virgin) wonder what women think that marriage is about anyway. When a woman vows to love her husband, what do they think that word really means? Why do women think that men marry? What do men want that marriage provides for them? Which of those needs are the women’s responsibility to provide for? I think these are questions that men should ask women. I think women should be prepared to answer them. Men should expect that women be reading books on men and marriage, and that she has relationships with men where she is giving support, respect, affirmation, affection and approval. You can learn a lot about a woman by how she treats her father, for example.
Unfortunately, many men today haven’t thought through what they need from wives in a marriage. They spend their young years chasing women who are fun and sexually permissive. Every husband I asked about what they need has told me that respect, affirmation, affection and regular sex are more important than appearance and fun. Pre-marital sex, having fun, getting drunk, and going out, etc. are not the right foundation for marriage – which requires mutual self-sacrifice in order to work.
Another point: I have a friend who is very concerned that men are breaking sexual rules, but he seems oblivious to 1 Corinthians 7:1-5. I asked him privately what he thought about sex-withholding, and whether this might cause husbands to turn to pornography and even affairs, and I mentioned 1 Corinthians 7:1-5. He said: “no, it’s not something I take much interest in”. I was tempted to ask him if the Bible was something that he does not take much interest in.
I think he misreads 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 so that it could only be used to condemn men. If that were his view, then it actually worries me if well-meaning men are actually undermining marriage, by teaching women that they have no responsibilities to keep the marriage going, and helping them to feel like victims when their marriages fall apart. Sometimes even people who claim to be pro-marriage can undermine marriage practically-speaking, because of their unBiblical belief that women are “naturally good” and should not have any responsibilities in a marriage.
I thought this attitude was so interesting in view of what I read in the Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands. In that book, Dr. Laura urges women to be sensitive to their husbands’ different male natures in order to avoid them looking at pornography and having affairs. Withholding sex from a man is the equivalent of a man withholding conversation to a woman. Sex is how a man feels loved! What’s remarkable is how female callers on her show are shocked that men react badly to being deprived of sex.
I do think that some men will look at porn and cheat regardless of what their wife does sexually, but then it again falls to the woman to choose a man who has demonstrated that he has self-control – i.e., a virgin who has remained chaste with her throughout the courtship and protected her from doing sexual things outside of the covenant context. Chastity is hard, but it is how a man loves his wife self-sacrificially, before he even meets her. It should be a trait much sought after and respected by women. Basically, women need to be led by their minds, not by their feelings, when choosing a husband.
A man has to get up and go to work every day for his family, regardless of whether he feels like it or not. In fact, the many decisions he has made before getting married are also made not because they make him happy, but because he needs to be responsible to his future wife and children. The decision to study science? Loving obligation. The decision to go to grad school in science? Loving obligation. The decision to work in a demanding, risky career? Loving obligation. The decision to save money and eat instant oatmeal for dinner? Loving obligation. Men don’t do these things because we enjoy them. We do it because we love our wives and children self-sacrificially, before we ever even meet them. I think that women need to do the same.
If the underperformance of blacks and Hispanics in America were caused by racism by whites, then it follows that Asian-Americans would be underperforming as well. But Asian-Americans are outperforming whites. Let’s look at three reasons why, and see if blacks and Hispanics can learn how to succeed by looking at the Asian example.
Here is the summary of this post:
Asian Americans marry before they have children
Asian Americans save more of what they earn
Asian Americans monitor their children’s educational progress
Now let’s take a look at each of these in order.
1. Asian Americans marry before they have children
Eight in ten Asian-American kids live with married birth parents, compared with about seven in ten European-American kids, five in ten Hispanic-American kids, and only about three in ten African-American kids. Half of black children live with their mothers only, compared to three in ten Hispanic children, less than two in ten white children and less than one in ten Asian children.
Naturally, children who have two parents to look after them do better, because one parent alone cannot work and do household chores and monitor the children as easily as two parents can. The decision about whether to have sex before marriage is entirely under the control of the grown-ups. It cannot be blamed on racism, poverty and other non-moral pre-occupations of the secular left. Marriage is a moral issue, and Asian-Americans do the moral thing, and marry before they have children.
Asians have had higher median incomes than their white counterparts, according to a new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The typical Asian family has brought home more money for most of the past two decades.
[…][Asians] will surpass whites in net worth in the next decade or two, Fed researchers said.
[…]In 1989, the median Asian family had about half the net worth of its white peer. By 2013, they had more than two-thirds.
The gap between whites and blacks and Hispanics, meanwhile, remained little changed over that time period.
Asians have similar financial habits to whites, in terms of investing and borrowing. Both groups are more likely than blacks and Hispanics to invest in stocks and privately-owned businesses and to have more liquid assets, which serves as a buffer against financial shocks. And, on average, the former have about half as much debt as the later.
As a result, Asians and whites have more financial stability than blacks and Hispanics, which also allows the former to build more wealth.
Everyone has to earn and save money, but in some cultures, it becomes normal to not save part of what you earn. That needs to stop. But it has nothing to do with discrimination due to skin color. In Asian culture, there is no glorification of consumer spending on sparkles, bling and other ostentatious wealth. Asians don’t want to appear to be wealthy, they want to actually be wealthy – by saving money.
3. Asian Americans monitor their children’s educational progress
This article from Investors Business Daily explains how Asian parents don’t just make demands on their kids to learn, they actively monitor their progress and talk to their kids’ teachers:
Asian-American parents tend to oversee their children’s homework, hold them accountable for grades and demand hard work as the ticket to a better life. And it pays off: Their children are soaring academically.
[…]As a group, Americans need to take a page from the Asian parents’ playbook. American teens rank a dismal 28th in math and science knowledge, compared with teens in other countries, even poor countries.
Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan are at the top. We’ve slumped. For the first time in 25 years, U.S. scores on the main test for elementary and middle school education (NAEP) fell. And SAT scores for college-bound students dropped significantly.
[…]Many [Asian students]from poor or immigrant families, but they outscore all other students by large margins on both tests, and their lead keeps widening.
In New York City, where Asian-Americans make up 13% of overall students, they win more than 50% of the coveted places each year at the city’s eight selective public high schools, such as Bronx Science and Stuyvesant.
What’s at work here? It’s not a difference in IQ. It’s parenting. That’s confirmed by sociologists from City University of New York and the University of Michigan. Their study showed that parental oversight enabled Asian-American students to far outperform the others.
No wonder many successful charter schools require parents to sign a contract that they will supervise their children’s homework and inculcate a work ethic.
It’s not enough to just outsource the education of your children to a bunch of non-STEM education-degree-holding teachers. Teachers can be good, and some work very hard. But the Democrat teacher unions prevent the firing of teachers who underperform. This is especially true in non-right-to-work states (Democrat states). So, you cannot depend on teachers to educate your children, and Asian parents don’t. That’s why their kids learn. Performance of children in school is not affected by discrimination against skin color, it’s affected by the level of involvement of parents.
We have learned that the success of Asian-Americans in America is all earned. And this proves that there is no such thing as “racism” that holds back non-whites. If blacks and Hispanics imitated the behaviors of Asians (not whites, but Asians), then they would achieve just as well as Asians do. It’s not a race problem, it’s a behavior problem. It’s not a “racism” problem, it’s a behavior problem. It’s an us problem, it’s not a them problem.
In a recent study published this July in American Sociological Review, Harvard sociology professor Alexandra Killewald, Ph.D., analyzed data on 6,309 heterosexual married couples from the 1968 to 2013 waves of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). She looked specifically at the potential effects on marital stability of “spouses’ division of labor, overall financial resources, and wives’ economic prospects following divorce,” comparing couples married before 1975 to those married in 1975 or later (through 2011).
[…]Killewald found that for couples married in 1975 or later, marriages in which the husband was not employed full-time were one-third more likely to divorce. Specifically, a husband who was not employed full-time experienced a “3.3 percent predicted probability of divorce the following year, compared to 2.5 percent if he is employed full-time.”
[…]Killewald is certainly not the first to find an association between men’s employment and marital stability. A study conducted by three economists and published in 2015 found that “In couples where the wife earns more than the husband, the wife spends more time on household chores; moreover, those couples are less satisfied with their marriage and are more likely to divorce.”
And an earlier study by Liana C. Sayer, Paula England, Paul Allison and Nicole Kangas found that when a husband is “nonemployed” (defined as not working at all), both the husband and the wife are more likely to end a marriage. In an email interview with IFS, one of the study’s co-authors, New York University sociology professor Paula England, explained her findings.
“The innovation of our study was to look separately at what predicts a divorce wanted more by the woman versus a divorce wanted more by the man,” England wrote. “We found that a nonemployed man predicts either the woman leaving the man or the man leaving the woman.”
She continued, “Killewald’s data just show her if they got divorced, not who left. We found that women’s employment doesn’t make men leave more, and it only makes women leave more when they are unhappy in the marriage.”
People sometimes ask me why I have all these rules and best practices when it comes to relationships and marriage plans. You know: men must have STEM degrees, no sex before marriage, men have to approach women by speaking to fathers first, etc. Well, why have all these rules? Why not just do what feels good? Why not just do what my peers will approve of?
The answer is this:
I didn’t get my idea of how courting and marriage works from a culture that dismisses all of the ancient wisdom about love and marriage in favor of the trends of a culture dominated by ideologies that emphasize pleasure over wisdom. The right way to learn about romance, love, marriage and parenting is to go the classics, and then to the scientific studies. We have to learn how the world really works, and abide by the best practices that we find in the classics and in the peer-reviewed publications. And we have to be willing to say no to feelings and friends and even family, when the classics and the peer-reviewed literature say something different.
I’m really not sure where people get this idea that peer-reviewed literature “works within a narrow scope”, but you can just do anything you want. No, your radical feminist emotion-fueled craziness works in a narrow scope: in your dreams. In the real world, we do things by the book, and that’s how we get results. Children deserve to have parents who are wise and self-controlled, willing to do things the right way. You can’t break all the rules and then expect things to somehow magically work out because you feel that they will somehow. The rules are there for a reason.