Friday, August 08, 2008

A marriage like our parents?

I was in a session at the ASA meetings that involved the topic of marital satisfaction. As a way to motivate the issue, the speaker asked the crowd how may people would like to have a marriage like their parents had. There were maybe 50 of us in the room, and only 6 people raised their hands. I was very surprised.

Now, there could be a selection effect I suppose--people from unhappy homes become sociologists. Also, it could be an issue of style rather than quality, that people today would want a different kind of marriage, but still the number seemed very low.

I would hope that my marriage is good enough that my boys would like to have a similar marriage.


Sid said...

I'm not surprised.
As a pastor I ask couples planning there weddings who they look to as an ideal couple and very rarely do either one of them say their parents.
So I tell the couple during the wedding service now is the time to start working toward being an example that even their grandchildren will want to emulate.

Brad Wright said...

That's wise advice, Sid. Maybe part of it is that kids see what really goes on in a marriage, for better and worse...

Jay Livingston said...

Maybe it's optimism. We hope we can do better than our parents. What if you asked the same question about career? But I suspect that the point of the question in context was about gender roles in marriage. Am I right, Brad? If not, what was the point?

Brad Wright said...

Oh, it was more of a throw-away line in a discussion about qualitative methodology.

It would be interesting, though, to compare that question with one about careers--see if it's something specific to marriage or just a general sense of wanting to do better than our parents.