Study: Traditional Families Set Stage for Strong Marriages
- Fred Jackson and Jenni Parker Agape Press
- 2004 6 Jun
June 25, 2004
A survey shows men who come from traditional, two-parent families tend to be more successful in maintaining solid marriages than those men who come from broken homes.
The survey, commissioned by the National Marriage Project, looked at how family backgrounds affect the approach young men take to marriage. The results indicate that men who grew up in homes without two biological parents are less likely to be married by their early 30s than men from traditional families and, in effect, tend to be more dead-set against ever marrying.
In the survey, according to a report in USA Today, 63 percent of married men grew up in traditional, two-parent homes, while 37 percent grew up in non-traditional families. The men from non-traditional families were found to be more mistrustful of women, and more likely to have "live together" relationships with women, cohabitating without benefit of marriage.
Another interesting finding was that young men from religious homes and those who say their fathers were more involved in their upbringing are generally more ready to marry than are men raised in non-religious families or who received little "father time." Of men from traditional homes, a majority (54 percent) said they would "be ready to marry tomorrow if the right person came along," as compared with only 43 percent of men from single-parent or step-parent families.
The newspaper article noted that some marriage and family experts feel the study may be over-generalizing, or that it ignores the wide variation in non-traditional families. James Bray of Baylor College of Medicine pointed out that boys and girls who grow up in step-parent families tend to behave similarly to children from intact homes. However, the overall consensus appears to be that growing up in a healthy, stable, two-parent home makes a measurable difference in later life.
Diane Sollee is director of SmartMarriages.com, a marriage education and improvement information clearinghouse. She told USA Today that many men have learned their attitudes about marriage and women by example from their fathers; and for those who had absent fathers, or who saw their dads estranged from their mothers by divorce or having a string of relationships with new wives or girlfriends -- these men have also learned by example.
Sollee says boys who were raised in non-traditional families or unhealthy domestic situations sometimes grow up to fear commitment or to lack respect for women. However, she says such men can still "rebuild confidence that they can have a happy marriage" by developing their relationship skills through marriage education classes.
The survey of 1,010 heterosexual men from ages 25 to 34 was commissioned by the National Marriage Project at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and conducted by Opinion Research Corporation of Princeton.
© 2004 Agape Press.