In case you were wondering, I am still not married. Thus, I still keep my eyes and ears open for marriage advice to tuck away for later (thanks, secret Pinterest boards!) and for advice on how to become unsingled. That’s like a conscious uncoupling, but in the other direction.
Not all of the advice I gather is specifically religious. As many popes and Catholic scientists have reminded us, the Church is not opposed to science. Even Pope Francis studied chemistry. In the “soft” sciences, I’ve always been fascinated by research done in psychology and sociology, although I have no desire to enter the field myself. I seek to understand humanity on an empirical level as well as a spiritual one.
I’m learning plenty about building strong spiritual foundations for a lifelong marriage. Unfortunately, investigative data into what makes a marriage last until death (i.e. not end in divorce) is hard to come by. As University of Denver researcher Dr. Scott Stanley points out, in addition to the problem of all the subjects outliving the researchers, by the time anyone gets the results, the generation they apply to will already be dead or divorced. That’s actually the goal, in a backwards sort of way: in order to see whether a specific group of marriages end in death/widowhood or divorce, you have to wait until almost everyone dies. When you finally have results, they apply to a generation that is mostly dead. Thus, the “half of all marriages end in divorce” statistic literally does not apply to people marrying today. But it’s not zero, and that’s not good. So, scientifically, what can we do to aim for the best camp, the marriages that last for a lifetime?
Looking at the brighter side, Stanley offers a list of advice for singles about how to lower the risk of divorce. That’s right up my alley. He summarizes the conclusions from research, his own and others’, regarding factors for risk of divorce. Compared to reading all the studies yourself, his articles are a piece of cake.