|Ask Dr. Dobson
|Question: I have a great
fear that I will someday be divorced. I?ve been through it with my
parents and watched several of my uncles and aunts. I?d rather not get
married than to run that risk. Is it possible to protect yourself from a
Answer: You?re not the only member of your generation who worries
about the odds against successful marriages. That concern showed up in the
song ?That?s the Way I?ve Always Heard It Should Be,? popularized
in the 1970s by Carly Simon. The lyrics are devastating. They say, in
effect, ?It is impossible to achieve intimacy in marriage, and our life
together will be lonely, meaningless, and sterile. But if that?s what
you want we?ll marry.?
While I understand the pessimism expressed in this song, I disagree
emphatically with its message. The family was God?s idea, not our own,
and it is still a wonderful institution.
Furthermore, it is a myth that marriages are destined to fail.
According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census Statistical Abstract of the
United States, 1993, 61 percent of people living in the United States are
married, 23 percent have never been married, 8 percent are widowed, and
only 8 percent are divorced. Seventy-five percent of families with
children are headed by two married parents. Despite what you hear about
disintegrating families, most of us still live within solid families.
We do have to acknowledge, however, that marriages are fragile. They
must be nurtured and protected if they are to survive for a lifetime. If
ignored, they will wither and die.