News and Noteworthy


Putting a ring on it, for the children’s sake

Hollywood's Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson and his partner have another daughter on the way.

By Carolyn Moynihan

This article was first published April 13, 2018, at Mercatornet.com.

 

Hollywood actor, producer and professional wrestler Dwayne Johnson might be good at a few things, but marriage isn't one of them. He is divorced from his first wife (mother of his 16-year-old daughter) and has not married his current partner. It's a pity, because he is about to become a dad for the third time and his new daughter, like her two-year-old sister, will not have best chance of success in life.

The data show that children are more likely to flounder when they face a revolving cast of caretakers and unrelated adults in their lives. That's more likely with unmarried parents.

Family sociologist Brad Wilcox writes in USA Today:


Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Lauren Hashian recently announced they’re expecting their second child this spring — outside of marriage. Although cohabiting Hollywood couples present an unusually glamorous and attractive model of unmarried family life, their path into family formation is not as unusual as it once would have been. A study examining U.S. births between 2006 and 2010 found that almost one-in-four children (23%) are born to cohabiting couples.

But theirs is not an example that should be imitated. It’s true that cohabitation has become a normal and accepted practice in the United States in recent years. While cohabitation was frowned upon in the age of Leave It to Beaver, today most adults will cohabit at some point in their lives. But even though cohabitation is increasingly appealing to adults, that doesn’t mean it is good when children are involved.

You can read the rest of his article at USA Today, but the facts are also summarized in this excellent video.



The most important correlation in all of social science

Number of sexual partners and duration of first marriage.

by Patrick F. Fagan for Mercatornet.com on February 13, 2017

Regular readers of Faith and Family Findings are familiar with the data on family structure and its impact on everything important to a functioning society. On every outcome measured, for adults and children, those in an intact family do best on all the positive outcomes we desire for ourselves and our children (education, income, savings, health, longevity, happiness, sexual enjoyment, intergenerational support) and have the least incidence of all the negatives we hope never afflict our children (crime, addictions, abuse both physical and sexual, poverty, illiteracy, exclusion, ill health, unhappiness, mental illness, lack of sexual fulfillment).


Thus family structure is exceedingly important to society and a return to intact marriage is a sine qua non for a nation or for families set on rebuilding themselves.

Given that, consider the implications of the following chart on the intactness of marriage at the end of the first five years of marriage:

What this chart shows is the probability of intactness of family after the first five years of marriage-- given the number of sexual partners of the spouses have had in their lifetime. Using rounded numbers: 95% of those who are monogamous, that is only one sexual partner in their life time ---i.e. only their spouse--95% are still in an intact marriage after the first five years. But for the woman (national average) who has had one extra sexual partner other than her husband (almost always prior to marriage) the percent drops to 62% and with two extra partners it drops almost to 50%. Thereafter it plateaus. For men it takes five sexual partners to reach the same level of breakup.

When I first saw this phenomenon in the 1995 data (the above is 2006-2010 data) my immediate reaction was “Those Mediterranean cultures that had chaperoning during courtship knew something about human nature, family life and intergenerational stability.” They ensured Mediterranean family was on the three-love diet.

Chastity and monogamy are foundational to the intact married family, and thus to the prosperity and success of a nation. Hence my conclusion that this chart is the most important chart in all of the social sciences.

A culture of monogamy is critical to a thriving nation or a thriving culture.

A culture of chastity is foundational to a culture of monogamy.

Thus the cultivation of chastity is central to a robust nation and a robust culture. Chastity is an old term but now out of favor even among Christians, given the impact of political correctness i.e. cultural Marxism. However it is the accurate label for the virtue or strength behind the data.

For the impact of monogamy at a more causative level check out the work of JD Teachman on Google Scholar or his CV and you will be able to thread the impact of monogamy in an admirable corpus of cumulative scholarship that is one of the great contributions to research on the family.

Though the above chart is purely correlational – it is demographically descriptive of America, of what is happening between our couples who get married. One chart cannot prove chastity is causative (go to Teachman and others to tease that out) but it sure indicates where causal strength (or weakness) can be found.

- See more at: https://www.mercatornet.com/family_edge/view/the-most-important-correlation-in-all-of-social-science/19344#sthash.EsUGM0kQ.dpuf



Is cohabitation the new marriage? Not for kids

Children born in cohabiting unions experience more family instability, a new study finds.

by Carolyn Moynihan for mercatornet.com on February 9, 2017

One thing the same-sex marriage debate has done is shine a light on why marriage is even worth arguing about. If it is just about loving couples, forget it. But it is not just about that; it is about children.

After decades of “soul mate” marriage, it has been brought to our attention again that marriage not only unites a couple with each other but it unites children with their own mother and father. It exists for the sake of the children a couple may have. It is society’s way of ensuring that children thrive and grow up to be responsible citizens.


At the same time the gay marriage issue has diverted attention away from something else: the number of (heterosexual) couples who are not marrying but having children anyway. Cohabitation has been increasing around the world for decades, but whereas middle and upper class couples once tied the knot before starting a family, many are no longer waiting for marriage before having a child.

In the United States between 2002 and 2010 births to cohabiting couples jumped from 41 percent of all non-marital births to 58 percent. In France and Sweden one in four adults aged 18 to 49 is cohabiting, while in South America families based on non-marital “consensual unions” are a longstanding tradition.

Does it matter?

It should, because it’s about the children. As everyone who has had anything to do with children knows, they thrive on stable routines with stable caregivers, and there is plenty of evidence that cohabitation is less stable than marriage.

Thiere is new evidence for this in a report from the Social Trends Institute and the Institute for Family Studies this week. It is based on data from 68 countries around the world, including individual data for children in the United States and 16 European countries.

In an essay introducing the 2017 World Family Map, “The Cohabitation Go-Round: Cohabitation and Family Instabimfor lity Across the Globe”, Laurie DeRose and W. Bradford Wilcox report that:

* Children born into cohabiting families are more likely to see their parents split by age 12 than children born into married families in almost every country.

* In the United Kingdom these children are 94 percent more likely to see their parents break up by age 12.

* For the United States the increased risk of a such a family “transition” is 102 percent.

Of course, these figures indicate a correlation between cohabitation and unstable families, and do not prove that one causes the other. Although many of us would think it common sense that a less committed relationship would be less stable, even with – or perhaps especially with – children, other factors may be at work.

Here are three alternative explanations that the World Family Map scholars studied – and found wanting:

Cohabitation is less stable only because poorer people are more likely to choose it. Using the individual data for the US and Europe, WFM sorted the children in their study according to their mother’s education level (a proxy for family income) and found that cohabitation is less stable regardless of the mother’s education. “In the overwhelming majority of countries, the most educated cohabiting parents still have a far higher rate of break-up than the lowest educated married couples,” comments DeRose.

In fact, DeRose and Wilcox report: “The largest absolute stability gap between children born to cohabiting vs. marital unions is among children whose mothers have high levels of education in the United States: 49 percent of children born to cohabiting couples experience parental union dissolution as compared to 18 percent of children born to married couples. At other education levels, the United States is more similar to Europe in the size of the stability gap.”

As cohabitation becomes more common it becomes more similar to marriage in stability for children. Using data for 100 countries, WFM found no evidence for this. “Higher proportions of births to single women and cohabiting couples are both significantly associated with lower proportions of children living with both biological parents.” There are wide variations in the degree of this relationship, but Northern Europe was the only place where it did not hold.

What about Latin America? Some scholars assert that “where cohabitation has been a long-standing alternative to marriage (scholars writing on Latin America and the Caribbean refer to a “dual nuptiality” system), further growth of the institution will not affect children’s lives,” comments DeRose. “Again, that’s not the case.”

Cohabitation was, it should be noted, much more stable (nine times more) than single motherhood -- although the possibility of a mother becoming single after cohabiting should not be discounted. But the important comparison from children’s point of view is with marriage, which, as this study shows, offers the best chance of stable family life – even in countries where it is in retreat.

There you have a few facts that need a good airing.


Long and Winding Road out of the gay lifestyle: a story of forgiveness

The headline over at LifeSiteNews says this is a story out of the gay lifestyle. And so it it. But it is first and foremost an inspiring story of forgiveness and repentance. Any Survivor of the Sexual Revolution, any person seeking peace, can benefit from this article. 

A sample: 

 

I embarked upon an incredible journey of forgiveness, having many people from my past, and especially men, that I needed to forgive. The therapy and prayer sessions I now regularly engaged in never focused solely on my being sexually attracted to men, but I was encouraged to look every aspect of my present and past in the eye. This included the painful process of accepting that I had been consistently sexually abused by a number of men as a child over a three-year period.

Much of my spiritual journey became concerned with recognizing where, during my infancy and childhood, my little soul had chosen to build walls within myself against significant others in my life, especially against my parents, siblings and other prominent people from my past.

He faced the wrong that was done to him (child sexual abuse) and at the same time took responsibility for the ways he had built walls around himself. Eventually, he became able to forgive those who had wronged him. 

Survivors of all sorts: please study this!