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Everyday we hear from those purveyors of half-truths, un-truths, and political agendas that traditional marriage is dead. Well, all we can say is – don't believe it!

In the year just ended, there is substantial support for our point of view.  According to the best estimates we can find, there were some 45,000,000 marriages worldwide last year.  There were approximately 9,000,000 divorces in the same year.  If you do the math you can see that worldwide, marriages outnumber divorces by a ratio of 5 to 1.  Stated clearly and succinctly, there were five marriages for every one divorce in the world last year.  Hardly sounds like the death of marriage to us.

The truth is – based on the facts – marriage is alive and well in the world today.  There is no disputing these facts.  So, why do the purveyors of negativism continue to distort the truth?  Why do certain members of the media and so many of those who write books about the demise of marriage continue to distort the reality of what is?

There are probably lots of reasons to explain this phenomenon.  Foremost among them are the polltakers.  Polltakers are notorious for asking the wrong questions or asking poorly phrased questions, and then reporting results that are, well, grossly out of touch with the reality they purport to represent.

Here is a recent example.  A few years ago a national poll got much national attention.  One of their so-called "findings" was the following:  "Issues related to trust in relationships vary significantly among different generations.  Younger respondents are more likely to want the truth from their partner, even if it hurts - more than 85% of respondents in their 20s said they always want the truth, compared to 79% of those in their 50s and 60s."  

We wonder, did it ever occur to the pollsters that there is a "maturity factor" at work here?  Did they ever consider that younger respondents "want the truth" from their partner "even if it hurts" is simply the admonitions of naïve young people who don't yet understand that "sometimes the truth hurts."  

Older folks have gained great wisdom over the years and they know that sometimes "words hurt."  Words sometimes have unintended consequences. Older folks tend to be more careful with what they express, especially if their words might have negative consequences.  And many of the couples we have interviewed over the years simply tell us that they don't have to ask for or be told the "truth" because after so many years of growing together and strengthening their relationship together, the "truth" they share with each other is much more intuitive and heartfelt.  Naïve admonitions about "speaking the truth" do not replace the wisdom gained amongst married couples who spend many happy and successful years together.
We offer the aforementioned example to demonstrate that the questions asked and to whom, often determines the answer received.  But, the answer received is not always the answer that is the most honest portrayal of the truth or the reality of it all.

Here is another example.  A New York Times article once reported that fewer than half of American women were now married.  Yet, they included in their population of "un-married women" girls who were 15, 16, and 17 years old and women whose husbands were diseased!  See our point?  Does anyone really believe that 15-year-old girls are "women?"  Of course not!   Does anyone really believe that a 70-year-old widow is "unmarried?"  Of course not!

So, here is what we know.  Marriage is still among the greatest structures for social order that has existed for the past 3000+ years.  Marriage is not in danger of dying just because a pollster asks a question that suggests it is.  Marriage is not in danger of dying just because people who report statistical data report it incorrectly or in a way that leads to a false conclusion about marriage.  

Marriage is alive and well in the world today.  To suggest otherwise is to ignore the real facts or to have an agenda that hijacks the truth.

By Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz

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