Meant to Be

TSTOne of the reasons I don’t use Yahoo as my home page is that clicking news links leads me deeper into the morass of Yahoo subpages and I end up on something like Yahoo – OMG where everything sounds as if it was written by a fifteen year old in heat.  Still, in search of news to stimulate a blog post, I sometimes wander down the Yahoo Trail.   And hunting for a subject for Top Sites Tuesday #210 … where we offer Two Thoughts on Tuesday … I ended up on Yahoo Shine.   That turns out to be the home of Yahoo’s Women’s Lifestyle – Healthy Living and Fashion Blogs, so I hope no one in my Men’s Group reads this post … I could have my Y chromosome revoked for simply treading there.  Anyway, I found myself reading a post about the declining marriage rate in the U.S.  – it’s fallen 66% between 1950 and 2011.  Someone named Stephanie Coontz at the New York Times said that if the decline were to continue at that rate, there would be no women getting married by 2043!  I suppose it would be too much to expect for anyone at the NYT to understand exponential decay (you see natural processes with upper and lower limits tend to gradually slow as … oh, never mind).  The news isn’t as bad for marriage as it would first seem.  To some degree the change reflects that people are getting married later in life because the percentage measures the number of adult women over 15 that get married each year.  Fifteen!  Yikes!

The good news (for those of us that believe in marriage) is that according to National Bureau of Economic Research, the divorce rate today is the lowest it’s been since 1970 – 3.6 divorces per one thousand couples per year (Let’s see, Stephanie – that means that by 2030 there will be no divorces!).   The statistics behind that are interesting, too.  While part of the change is due to the fact that couples marrying later in life are less likely to divorce, it also likely that many couples unsure of commitment choose to cohabitate (or, asshack we used to call it, shack up).  So couples who are most likely to divorce end up counting only as cohabitation break-ups (or, as we used to call it, unshacks).  If I throw out the moral issues regarding cohabitation (yes, I know. quaint), I suppose that’s a good thing.  Learning that cohabitation … married or not … requires a degree of commitment, compromise and a degree of other-centeredness not usually part of the modern adolescent personality can be a shock, and maybe it’s easier to discover that while shacking up. But here’s my very old-fashioned Thought Number One: I believe that many relationships with promise end too easily without a marriage commitment to keep them going.   Then again, I have the perspective of a 45-year marriage, one that is virtually impossible to communicate to my youngers.

wolvesAnyway, what amuses me is that every time I read an article on marriage and divorce, someone has to raise the question: Are we meant to be monogamous?  After all, only 3 to 5 percent of mammals, including wolves, beavers and bats, mate for life.  Geese, by the way, aregeese3 truly monogamous … if a mate dies, they do not mate again. Then there’s the Coolidge Effect.   It has been shown in laboratory experiments that mammals like rats lose sexual interest in repeated encounters with the same mate but are quickly renewed if a new partner is dropped into the cage.   This has not been proven in humans but menmen have been lining up for weeks at The University of Colorado for an upcoming test of the Coolidge effect in men.  Yet the same people that contend we’re Meant to Be wandering through life with as many partners as possible call me a hopeless romantic if I claim that certain couples are Meant to Be together.   The point is … Thought Number Twosince when has Meant to Be been a prime driver in human development?  Are we Meant to Be driving?   Wandering around staring at small electronic devices instead of talking to real people?   Are we Meant to Be living to an average age of almost eighty?  Were we Meant to Be walking on the moon?  Humans are at their best when they don’t depend on their instincts to tell them what they are Meant to Be.  Me?  I’ve always kinda liked wolves, beavers and geese.  Rats, not so much.  I’d also like it if you left me your thoughts in my comments section … after you push my button … gently … to make me Number One on Top Sites Tueday Number 210.

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4 Comments on “Meant to Be”

  1. cherperz Says:

    Even as I look at the state of marriage in 2013, it makes me a little sad when young people tell me they don’t need the piece of paper or that the first marriage is the trial marriage (that is…not meant to last). Marriage has taken a somewhat “it’s for as long as it lasts” but that term is adjustable). It’s not that I don’t think that love requires marriage but I think the commitment of marriages stands for something special.

    While I have a husband that I truly believe is the right partner for me…I don’t believe that anyone has a single soul-mate. There is probably more than one person on the planet that could fit as the “meant to be” person. With that being said, I hope I never have to find out.

    Is there really only 3.6 divorces per 1000 per year? I would of expected a far higher number.

  2. Wolfbernz Says:

    Hi Bud,

    It’s nice to hear that divorce rates are going down, maybe that means people are taking their vows more seriously and entering into marriage when they’re sure about everything. As divorces are nasty and everyone seems to have had a little experience in that nastiness, I’m hoping that future generations try to prevent divorces by taking marriage more seriously.


  3. Trina Says:

    I know that I have seen many terrible divorces. So many that I never dreamed of being that bride walking down the epistle to have her dreams of love and happiness shattered. Then I found Wolf. An unexpected relationship that resulted in an elopement. I take my vows seriously and there will never be a fix needed as long as he listens to me 😉

    Seriously though, it is nice to know that marriage isn’t something everyone takes lightly anymore. It’s sacred and should be treated as such.

    Great thoughts! Click!

  4. Rick Gleason Says:

    Words such as “marriage,” “conservatism,” “bigotry,” “tolerance” and “brave” no longer have universal meaning, and this is no accident.

    When confusion replaces clarity, the devil breaks out the champagne. It’s so much easier to push people toward the abyss when the stop signs are edited to say “whatever.” ~~ William Lutz, author of the 1996 book “The New Doublespeak.”

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