You would have to be dead or living in Edmonton (that’s a saying here in our fair town 🙂 ) if you haven’t heard about the upcoming marriage of the future King and Queen of England, William and Kate. I must admit I have been as much caught up with the pomp and pageantry as everyone else. The last royal wedding I saw was the one between Princess Diana and Prince Charles. At the time they called it a “Fairy Tale Wedding”. Tragically the fairy tale ended shortly after the “I do’s”.
British tabloids and the media enjoy comparing Princess Diana’s and Charles’ wedding with the upcoming wedding of William and Kate and it disturbs me how the media (and others) tend to make early predictions on whether the marriage will succeed or fail based on criteria that compares Kate with Diana.
I thought it was a sweet gesture on William’s part to give Kate his mother’s engagement ring…the media thinks it’s a bad omen…”look what happened to Diana” they say. Some media folk wonder if Kate will handle the paparazzi that hounds her like they hounded Diana. Odds-makers are laying bets on how soon Kate will “crack” under the pressure. Are you kidding me???
Then there is the disturbing comparison that Diana was a virgin when she married Charles and according to the gossip media, that explained one reason why the marriage failed. Kate and William lived together during their eight year relationship before marriage, so according to the media, their marriage will succeed because they “knew” each other before marriage. What kind of a message does THAT send to our young people?
Here are some statistics on living together before marriage from Michael McManus, author of the book Marriage Savers. Statistically speaking, living together is not a trial of marriage, but rather a training for divorce.
- The number of unmarried couples living together soared 12-fold from 430,000 in 1960 to 5.4 million in 2005.
- More than eight out of ten couples who live together will break up either before the wedding or afterwards in divorce.
- About 45 percent of those who begin cohabiting, do not marry. Another 5-10 percent continue living together and do not marry.
- Couples who do marry after living together are 50% more likely to divorce than those who did not.
- Only 12 percent of couples who have begun their relationship with cohabitation end up with a marriage lasting 10 years or more.
- A Penn State study reports that even a month’s cohabitation decreases the quality of the couple’s relationship.
Here are some more statistics relating to the children of cohabiting parents.
- Children of cohabiting parents are ten times more likely to be sexually abused by a stepparent than by a parent.
- Children of cohabiting parents are three times as likely to be expelled from school or to get pregnant as teenagers than children from an intact home with married parents.
- Children of cohabiting parents are five times more apt to live in poverty, and 22 times more likely to be incarcerated.
I will admit that there is a “fairy tale” fascination with Royalty and the wedding tomorrow will likely be watched by billions of people around the world, including myself, swept up in the story. But after the “I do’s”, William and Kate, like it or not, will be the role models to this generation’s youth. Certainly, I wish William and Kate all the best, but more importantly I pray that they will think beyond their wedding day to focus on their marriage that should stand the test of time if they take their vows seriously, if not, the odds are already stacked against them.