Category Archives: Marriage

POV – The Changing American Family

A report just out by the New York Times indicates our traditional family is changing. Today, blended family is encompassing husbands, wives and children from various marriages and ex-spouses and ex-partners in varying degrees.

First, the report indicates “families are more ethnically, racially, religiously and stylistically diverse than half a generation ago – than even half a year ago”.

America is about diversity; Hispanics, Asians, African Americans, and Lesbians & Gays to name a few groups are part of what we have grown up with today. The fastest growing immigrant groups to American are not Latinos but Asians.

Asian Americans are exceptionally stable, “they are less likely to be divorce than Americans in general” (16% infants out of wedlock, compared to 41% over all and 80% raised by two parents versus 63% overall; Pew Research).

As a psychologist, I find that we are in a society where diversity is accepted and unlike a generation ago we have grown up with all ethical, racial, religious, and stylistic diversity. What is troubling is how it affects our children and our life.

There is often a debate whether this is a positive or negative change. Yet, the decline of the two-parent household has affected the income of single parents. New York Times study indicated 63% of children live in a household with two parents. The majority of single parents are single mothers. There is evidence that sons raised by single mothers “appear to fair particularly poorly”.

A few more statistics in this study:
-More than 40% of American babies are born to unmarried women, most in their 20s and 30s
-The traditional family of stable married parents with their children is educated elite
-Believe in romance – yes – hearing the word “family” answers were Love, Kids, Mom, and Dinner
-72% of adults under 30 view the ideal marriage as husband and wife both work and share in childcare
-28% of married women are more educated than their spouse
-Divorce is declining and the decline is for middle and upper middle income couples with college degrees
-Increase in out of wedlock births has occurred for all but the highly educated woman
-Men and women are waiting later to marry (men 28, women 26-27)

In summary, go to college, build finances, marry, build more finances, have children does build confidence in yourself and the ability to survive and to succeed.

Why are there more breakups around the Holidays?

Psychological studies indicate 80% of Americans are stressed during the holidays to the point that according to a recent study one in five will inquire about divorce in January.  In addition, those with children have higher rates of stress.  Stress has a negative influence even on the most loving relationships.

 

There is “guilt” factor added in the time where it is suppose to be about celebration and joy.

 

A major cause of stress is drastic change in daily patterns due to over-indulgence; in buying, eating and drinking.

 

Psychological research indicates that “normal daily routines” and “rituals” are important to our family and health.  Rituals are defined as holidays and are important for the family structure.

 

Why does this occur during the holiday season?

 

Stress is in all areas of our life, relationships and financial situations are the prime factors. We are conducting our normal life schedule of work and family with the added stress of giving and providing more at the holiday season.

 

Psychological studies indicate that perfectionism is related more to anxiety than depression.  Perfectionism may lead to anxiety due to a fear of failure and the attainment of high standards.  At the holidays, we are dealing with normal daily routines coupled with an additional responsibilities and “guilt” of reaching the goals of making the holidays “perfect” for our family and friends.

Men with attractive wives report higher levels of marital satisfaction, new study finds

This study comes as no surprise.

 

It confirms the evolutionary theory of sex gender based on the survival of all species in the reproductive system.  The concept of sexual selection is that all species, humans included, will reproduce to continue their species.

 

Ancient man, in order to have his choice of available females needed to have superior hunting skills.  Women of that same era looked for a man who would allow her the resources to carry her child to term and support the child to maturity.

 

Therefore, the concept of attractive wives is part of the evolutionary theory into our current generation.  Today, men still seek the attractive female.   Vying for and winning the hand of an attractive wife translates into a happier marriage.

 

This is further supported by the social role theory that relates to the division of labor between men and women.  Our need for basic survival, as a family unit, has changed.  Modern women can get jobs and support themselves and their young without a man.

 

Today’s women can have it all.  They can have a career, marriage and/or children.

 

Yet, women still want a man who can provide and protect them.  Women continue to want to attract a male provider, even when she can provide for herself.

 

Today, we have added psychological variables to the basic survival instincts of procreation.

 

Women continue to compete for the attention of men.  It is still a prime driver for women to find a suitable mate, conceive and have children.

 

Just remember attraction is in the eye of the beholder.