It goes without argument that marriage is in a sorry state these days. It is said that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Many of those within their first 5 years. I do not have much of an opinion on divorce as I haven’t been through one yet, either my own marriage, or my parents.

I’m more concerned about marriage now after watching just a few episodes of reality TV. Apparently, our country is filled with a bunch of blundering sex crazed idiots who can’t form a proper sentence and are more obsessed with how someone else “disrespected them” than leading a productive life. While there are many factors in life that contribute to someone’s social development (nature versus nurture) you cannot deny the importance of the core family unit. A huge factor in one’s family is marriage. As I was just married, it is fresh topic for me. I want to offer a few observations I have.

But first, I can’t talk about the subject of marriage without first having a little side glance at a heated topic within our society. Take a look at this: marriage or civil union?

After reading that, realize that I am not an extreme left or right radical. I’m somewhere in between and like to think logically.

Now, to the meat and potatoes. I offer up anecdotal evidence that I have not seen referenced in print, television, or web before.

As part of my wife’s pregnancy, we took a child birthing class and breast feeding class at our local hospital. The child birth classes were three hours long, once a week, for four weeks. This class covered all sorts of topics ranging from the end of your pregnancy up until your baby is one year old. In the past it was referred to as Lamaze class. It is something that all new parents should take. The breast feeding class was only one night and it was also three hours long. Scheduling had it so the breast feeding class was several weeks after our child birth classes finished.

The interesting bit of this is that there were 12 couples in our child birth class. All, except one, were on their first baby. Of those 12 couples, only two were married. We were one of them. The other… they were German immigrants. (And they were on their second child. Their first was born in Germany and they were experiencing popular American birthing techniques.)

Of the remaining, unmarried couples, two moms were teenagers. One teenager was with her own mother. The other was with her older sister.

Aside from the German couple, no one appeared to be older than 30. It would be expected that the majority of first time parents are under 30.

These facts were not significant to me until we attended the breast feeding class. You may or may not have heard how the general view in the medical world is that breast feeding is better for the baby than formula. There are numerous benefits to breast feeding and any parent that does 5 minutes of research will have a powerful argument against formula. (Personal Common Sense Disclaimer: There are still reasons for formula, and you are not a bad parent if you cannot breastfeed after trying. But the key is to definitely try.)

The difference between the two classes was astonishing. There were only four couples this time. We were the youngest by far (we are in our late 20s), the rest were well into their mid 30’s, if not late 30’s or early 40’s. All were married. All were on their first baby.

There are two assumptions we can make from these observations.

– The child birth class is an accurate sampling of the population and represents popular views and actions surrounding marriage and family. (majority is anti-marriage)

– The breast feeding class was an accurate sampling of the minority segment within the population that chose marriage. (minority is pro-marriage)

Through inductive reasoning, I can offer up several theories:

– The Case of the Missing Common Sense Theory: People looking to raise their children in the best environment they can, will choose to learn about breastfeeding. Even if they do not breast feed, they will still explore options available to them as parents. These parents could be considered to have higher than normal intelligence.

– The Idiocracy Theory: Intelligent people postpone children until they are ready in life to support dependents. (“The market just isn’t ready yet…” See: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0387808/)

– I’m an Asshole Theory: People who choose not to establish good family foundations, are considered to have lower than normal intelligence.

– And finally, my favorite. The Mad Max Theory: Given these theories prove correct, we are all fucked.

DISCLAIMERS:

– Smart people also don’t get married. Idiots also get married. Both get divorced.

– Just because you divorce your spouse, does not mean you can not find a new person that is a better match and one that results in a happier family.

– These are simply observations. I offer them up for intelligent conversation. My theories are a bit flammable. However, they are meant to inspire conversation.

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