Marriage Makes Good Cents…

Hello World!

Before I get started on today’s post, I have to shout out Cam Newton, College Park, Georgia’s own, who was awarded the Heisman Trophy last night! Way to go Cam! Way to go CPK! I grew up in the CPK so I gotta recognize!

Alrighty….today’s topic…According to the recently released 2010 report from The National Marriage Project, which provides research and analysis on the health of marriage in its yearly State of Our Unions Report,  achieving the American Dream is very much bound to the success of marriages. And it seems that highly-educated people (defined in the report as those with a college degree) are achieving the American Dream more than their less-educated counterparts in part because they are choosing to get married. Moderately-educated individuals (people who have a high school diploma and possibly some college) are becoming less likely to walk down the aisle than in years past and have started to resemble the poor in their attitudes toward non-marital child-bearing, divorce and marriage quality, according to the report.

I have selected some interesting findings from the report for your perusal and analysis:

  • In a historic reversal, the cultural foundations of strong marriages – adherence to a “marriage mindset,” religious attendance and faith in marriage as a way of life – are stronger now among the highly educated than among the moderately educated. For example, teenagers from highly-educated homes are more likely to report that they would be embarrassed by a pregnancy (76 percent) than their peers from moderately- educated homes (61 percent). Highly-educated Americans are also now more likely to attend church on a weekly basis (34 percent) than moderately-educated Americans (28 percent); in the 1970s, highly-educated Americans were less likely to attend church than the moderately educated.
  • Divorce rates are up for moderately-educated Americans, relative to those who are highly educated. From the 1970s to the 1990s, divorce or separation within the first 10 years of marriage became less likely for the highly educated (15 percent down to 11 percent), slightly more likely for the moderately educated (36 up to 37
    percent), and less likely for the least educated (46 down to 36 percent).
  • Middle Americans are shifting toward a culture that still honors the ideal of marriage but increasingly accepts departures from that ideal. They have also not been well served by the rise of the “soul mate” model of marriage (more on this below), which is less accessible to them—for both cultural and material reasons—than is the older “institutional” model of marriage.
  • Over the last four decades, many Americans have moved away from identifying with an “institutional” model of marriage, which seeks to integrate sex, parenthood, economic cooperation, and emotional intimacy in a permanent union. This model has been overwritten by the “soul mate” model, which sees marriage as primarily a couple-centered vehicle for personal growth, emotional intimacy, and shared consumption that depends for its survival on the happiness of both spouses. Thus where marriage used to serve as the gateway to responsible adulthood, it has come to be increasingly seen as a capstone of sorts that signals couples have arrived, both financially and emotionally—or are on the cusp of arriving.
  • Although this newer model of marriage—and the new norms associated with it—has affected all Americans, it poses unique challenges to poor and Middle American adults. One problem with this newer model—which sets a high financial and emotional bar for marriage—is that many poor and Middle American couples now believe that they do not have the requisite emotional and economic resources to get or stay married. By contrast, poor and Middle Americans of a generation or two ago would have identified with the institutional model of marriage and been markedly more likely to get and stay married, even if they did not have much money or a consistently good relationship. They made do. But their children and grandchildren are much less likely to accept less-than-ideal relationships.
  • Moderately-educated Americans also registered the biggest declines in religious attendance from the 1970s to the present. Over the last 40 years, then, Middle America has lost its religious edge over their more highly educated fellow citizens…Accordingly, Middle Americans are now markedly less likely than they used to be to benefit from the social solidarity, the religious and normative messages about marriage and family life, and the social control associated with regular churchgoing, especially in comparison with their neighbors who graduated from college.

To read the entire report, please go here. I must admit much of this report did not surprise me, but it is interesting to see all of the data that supports what I see going on all around me.  What did cause me to ponder a bit, however, was the whole “soul mate” reference. I’ve always been a sucker for the whole “soul mate” thing…I mean it’s even a category on this blog, but I wonder if having overly romanticized views about marriage is actually detrimental. From eHarmony commercials to any given romance movie nowadays, finding your “soul mate” is akin finding the Holy Grail. Based on this premise, there is one ideal person out there who is your perfect match and whose presence will take you to new heights in every area of your life….what do you think? Is that true or false?

Anyway, that’s all….

Any thoughts?

P.S. It is still the Christmas season…Enjoy “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.” Hearing this song always makes me laugh… 🙂

My soul mate is married and other conundrums of life…

Hello World! 

If you are anything like me, you are pondering and saddened by the news that American Idol winner and The Color Purple star Fantasia Barrino is recovering after an overdose of aspirin and a sleep aid…Apparently, she took the combination after  feeling “overwhelmed by the lawsuit and the media attention”  concerning her alleged relationship with her married boyfriend Antwaun Cook, her rep told TMZ.com.

Cook’s wife Paula recently filed a lawsuit against her estranged husband in North Carolina, and Barrino is mentioned in the lawsuit. According to WCNC.com, Barrino and Cook made a sex tape and now Paula is seeking custody of their young children, child support and alimony…To me, it’s pretty obvious that Barrino and Cook were not trying to hide their alleged relationship…She has a tattoo with his last name on her shoulder and there are  pictures on the Internet of the couple cavorting all over the world it seems…

Now, the Bible thumping part of me wants to say that Barrino is dead wrong and should leave that man alone – at least until he is truly divorced…But there is another part of me that has a different opinion…Anyone that has lived longer than about 25 years knows that life is not cut and dry…Is it possible to meet your soul mate after you are married to someone else? And if it is possible, what should one do?

In the movie Walk the Line, it was clear that Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash were soul mates — but they were married to other people when they met…And although they fell quickly in love, for a time the only time they could really spend together was on stage…And it appears that at least once Johnny cheated on his first wife with June (at least that is what happened in the movie)…and the two were Christians…Roseanne Cash, the eldest daughter of Cash and his first wife, has written a memoir, Composed, which arrived in stores yesterday.

Christian singer Amy Grant has been accused of having an affair with her now husband country music star Vince Gill. The two were married for years to other people and after they divorced their former spouses, the two married. Though they deny having an affair while they were married to other people, the two admit they felt a deep connection to each other when they first met…

So what say you? What would you do? I think part of the reason that I did not want to get married in my ’20s was that I wanted to wait until I really knew myself before I made that commitment…It seems that in both of the examples that I shared, these couples originally married very early in their lives…Would they have made better decisions if they had waited until they were older? I say yes. I’m not saying that every couple that gets married at a young age is doomed and will meet people better suited for them once they get older…but I do think that when you get older you tend to make better decisions…at least it should be that way…ain’t nothin’ worse than an old fool…

As I alluded to in my title of this post, life can present some interesting conundrums if you live long enough…I’m sure we’ve all heard stories of couples remarrying after they have gotten divorced…Is that wrong or right? Is cheating really grounds for divorce?…A minister told me and a group of other people that many people should not be so quick to divorce after cheating has been revealed, and that he has counseled many that wished they would have forgiven rather divorced their spouses for this offense…

At any rate, aside from all of the philosophizing, we should all pray for Barrino as it’s obvious that this immensly talented singer is suffering right now…

Any thoughts?

Soul Mates: Jessie & Tangie Henry…

Hello World!

Yay! It’s still summer! 

About a year ago, I said on this blog I would feature different Christian couples who have been married 10 years or more so that they can share the secrets of their success. I actually don’t think we have enough positive examples of happy and whole marriages out there so I want to showcase them here on my blog…And so I am finally making good on my intention….Presenting the first installment of “Soul Mates…”( Note: This is simply an introduction to this couple not a public display of all their bizness…lol…)

Jessie Henry, 39, musician, social media strategist, blogger, no children

Tangie Henry, 38, registered nurse, certified life coach, no children

Anniversary: June 24, 1995—Married 15 years.

1. Please describe how the two of you met.

Jessie: We were at Ft. Stewart, and we were introduced by a mutual friend.

Tangie: (Shaking my head…LOL!)  Yes, we were at Ft. Stewart. (We both were in the Army stationed there; Ft. Stewart, GA) But we were not initially introduced by the friend he is speaking of.  We had another mutual friend that initially introduced us, but we never really interacted because he told me that he didn’t like “Army girls” and I had “another interest” as well.  Anyway, one night after I had gotten out of the Army, one of my friends(the mutual friend) and I were on post and we ran into Jessie.  She stopped him and asked him about his keyboard-playing skills at church (Jessie is an excellent piano, keyboard and organ player), and he said, “Prayer & practice.”  I was smitten!  I, then, began to see him in a whole new light! LOL!  I was thinking, “This brother has those kinds of skills and he acknowledged the Lord.”

After that night, I couldn’t get him out of my head, so several weeks later I went back on post to talk to him by myself…and the rest is history!  We were 21 and 22 years old at the time…WOW!

2. Were you Christians when you met?

Jessie: Yes.  My parents are pastors.  I grew up in the church, but I had to ultimately make the decision for myself.

Tangie:  Yes.  I’d given my life to the Lord about 2 years prior.  We had a few different beliefs, though, that we had to work through…

3. Share a happy time in your marriage.

Jessie: When we took a vacation to California.  I enjoyed the scenery and the activities.  Oh, and I enjoyed being with my baby, too.  LOL!

Tangie:  I would have to say a “happy time” in our marriage is now.  We have matured as individuals and as couples, and I’m enjoying the groove we’re in now.

4. Please share a difficult time & how you coped.

Jessie:  In the summer of 2001 we had been doing a lot of arguing, and neither one of us wanted to give in.  I was scheduled to go work out of town, and I left with us being on bad terms.  Things started to get better after September 11th.

Tangie: I agree about the time period, but I don’t feel like we really reconciled after September 11th.  As a matter of a fact, I was very hurt, angry and upset well into the following year.  The turning point for me was when Jessie began to show me that he wanted to stay in the marriage and that he was committed.  I also prayed a lot, and I really wanted to do the right thing from a Christian perspective because I know that God hates divorce.  I kept asking myself, “If I get a divorce, then am I saying that God can’t heal my marriage?”

5. What are the secrets of success to your marriage?

Jessie: I would say maturity and communication.  Advice:  People should have some type of pre-marital counseling before getting married.  Whatever little things that may be concerning you now, go ahead and get it out on the table so that it won’t show up again in the marriage.  People don’t get to drive a car without some type of training, and you shouldn’t get married without being trained either.

Tangie: I would say that we are committed to the marriage.  Having realistic expectations of your mate and marriage, in general, cuts down on half of the problems.  Oftentimes, we create a fantasy of what we think marriage is supposed to be like and when it doesn’t play out like it does in the movies, we want out.  But understanding that marriage is a covenant and knowing the significance of that puts things into perspective.  So then you’re more focused on the things that really matter and not worried about who didn’t put their dishes in the dishwasher. LOL!

Jessie and Tangie Henry work diligently in pursuing their purpose both collectively and individually.  He is the founder and president of Tangible Concepts, LLC a multi-media education and entertainment company whose mission is to educate, inspire and empower, featuring products and services of the highest standards.  Visit him online at www.TangibleConceptsLLC.com. Tangie is the founder and president of InspiredSistah, LLC a company dedicated to “inspiring women to live on top of the world” through personal development coaching, inspirational workshops and inspirational literature.  You can visit her online at www.InspiredSistah.com or www.MarriageAintforWimps.com.

Any thoughts? (If you know of any married couples that need to be featured in “Soul Mates,” please comment and let me know.)