The amount of people who cite divorce rates as a reason not to get married is baffling to me.
Since when is someone else failing at something a good reason for me not to do it?
When I went to college, I remember sitting in freshman orientation and the speaker opening up with that famous: “look to your left, look to your right,” one of you will not graduate” thing. I looked to my left, I looked to my right and yet didn’t get the urge to bolt to the nearest exit.
There were some people who didn’t graduate with me. I wasn’t surprised though because before going to college, I’d heard the statistics: “Just 56 percent of students who embark on a bachelor’s degree program finish within six years” or “46 percent of Americans complete college once they start.”
Of course the numbers for black students were beyond dismal. While the graduation rate for white students starting at four-year institutions is 62.6 percent, it was a mere 40.5 percent for black students. I looked up the facts for my school in particular and found that they graduated just over half (57%) of the black students within six years.
Still, I never thought these statistics meant that I wouldn’t receive my college degree. And no one would have suggested that I shouldn’t enroll just because Keisha called it quits before senior year.
Why then before I got married did people feel the need to remind me about the divorce rate? I have the same thoughts toward marriage that I did when I was sitting in the freshman assembly that day. Some marriages won’t make it, but that reality doesn’t mean mine won’t make it and I’m genuinely surprised that more people don’t think that way.
First of all, if you actually read about the infamous “divorce rate” you realize it’s based on the marriage and divorce rates per 1,000 people in the U.S. This includes people who are not of the marrying age. Also, the CDC will tell you that the collection of detailed data was suspended beginning in January 1996 and the most recent comprehensive analyses of detailed marriage and divorce data was published in 1990. Since then, they’ve had to rely on the states data and all states don’t even report. Still, with the information they do have, the divorce rate is sad but it’s not half and certainly isn’t more than half as some people say.
In addition, sure your aunt and uncle may have divorced after 26 years and four kids, but Kim Kardashian called it quits in 72 days and that was long considering Dennis Rodman was married to Carmen Electra for nine days and Britney Spears was married to her Mousketeer friend for a whopping 55 hours. Forget celebrities, how many Average Joe marriages begin and end during a drunken weekend in Las Vegas? Remember, all of these “marriages” count towards the divorce/annulment rate.
Furthermore, if we allow for different variables such as age, net worth, college education, religion and compatibility, your chances for a successful marriage can increase (or decrease) exponentially according to our beloved statistics.
So, if the divorce rate is that unreliable, then why do people pretend they’re basing their whole philosophy regarding marriage on it and thus deciding that marriage is a dying institution that isn’t worth considering?
I wish these people would tell the truth: they don’t want to get married because they don’t want to get married. They don’t “believe in” marriage because they want to have sex with whoever, whenever without being bothered with commitment. They want to pretend that a child born out of wedlock is more successful than one born within a marriage. They want to insist that all husbands cheat (every single one!) and wives aren’t much better. They want to turn their nose up at monogamy and somehow conclude that casual sex is safer and more ideal than having sex within the confines of a marriage bed. They want to pretend that everyone who gets married does so for the right reasons and therefore a divorce is impossible to predict before walking down the aisle.
They want to “prove” all of these erroneous ideas by citing the divorce rate.
I’m not buying it. I still believe that marriage is better than the alternative and even if Jim and Jane don’t make it, I’m still going to try because other’s failures have no bearings on my success.
No one is saying marriage is easy or even ideal for every person. But after a while, you have to wonder if the people spouting off the nonsensical “marriage is a bad idea, just look at the divorce rate” argument haven’t taken a moment to look around at the state of the black community (and America in general) and realized that discouraging marriage is an even worse idea.
Even the statistics will tell us that.
Follow Alissa Henry on Twitter @AlissaInPink
More on Madame Noire!
- Party of One Please: Things I’ve Learned To Enjoy By Myself
- MN Exclusive: Warryn & Erica Campbell On How They Met, Their Family and Managing To Work Together
- You Are Not The Father! The Most Memorably Ratchet Moments From The Maury Povich Show
- Drop The Flat Iron Like It’s Hot: Summer Hairstyles To Help You Beat the Heat
- And They Say Only Black Women are Bitter? Why Bitter Black Men Need To Have a Seat…Several
- Stop Arguing About Dumb Stuff! How I Learned To Keep The Peace In My Relationship
- Old Habits Die Hard: Learning Not To Dim My Light So Others Can Feel Like They’re Shining