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Glenn Beck’s second chapter is titled “Marriage, Porn, Adultery and Divorce: The Circle of Life.” Glenn Beck attempts to look at marriage and the 50% divorce rate through the lens of his two marriages, the first which ended in divorce and the second which seems to successfully continue. He makes a few statements which I pretty much agree with:

·         Marriage is not the end of a relationship.

·         Marriages take work and effort.

·         Marriages take sacrifice.

·         Alcoholics make bad spouses.

·         Alcoholism will damage a marriage.

·         Pornography is degrading to women.

·         Watching pornography can hurt a marriage.

·         Secrets, such as hidden porn watching, lead to mistrust and lying in marriage.

·         Adultery is bad.

·         Divorce hurts children.

·         Abuse in a marriage is bad.

I pretty much found myself wondering why Beck was discussing any of this in a book that supposedly going to give the reader “Real Solutions to the World’s Problems,” because the problems addressed seem to be pretty self explanatory.

Beck argues that his second marriage is successful because he and his wife shopped for a faith, and that their religion is a major element of what keeps them together. Beck, to his credit, claims that he is not insisting that this will work for everyone, or that everyone needs to follow this idea, but simply that it’s what works for him and his wife. Fine. I’m certainly not going to say that strong religious faith hurts marriage, assuming said faith holds members of a marriage as equals and both members of the marriage are fully committed to said faith, nor am I going to bash anyone’s religious choices.

What’s a little more disturbing is Beck’s attack of the “50% divorce rate” statistic. Essentially, he lists a series of factors that come into play, and explains why that statistic really isn’t true. For example, if you’ve attended college, your marriage is likely to succeed. If you wait for seven months after marriage to have children, your marriage is more likely to succeed. If you wait until you’re 25 to marry, your marriage is more likely to succeed. However, Beck never actually addresses the issues which he brings up, such as teenage pregnancy leading to marriage, high school sweethearts getting married, non-college students getting married, etc. His solution simply seems to be “don’t do it unless you fit into this bracket,” which isn’t much a solution at all, nor does it address how marriages outside of his ideal statistics can succeed.

However, there is a book that I’d recommend that does. It, like Beck, is a little religiously fundamental, as the author went to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, but taken with a grain of salt, the message is very simple. The book is The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, and its principle is quite simple: Falling in love, and that feeling of bliss that is falling in love, lasts about two years. After those two years, individuals in a relationship need to find a way to continue to feel loved by their spouse. There are five basic languages of love—words of affirmation, receiving gifts, quality time, acts of service, and physical touch--and each individual primarily speaks one of these languages, if not one of its dialects. If you discover which language your spouse speaks, and make a clear and conscious effort to speak that language on a continual basis, your spouse will continue to feel loved, and many of the marriages issues will be resolved more peaceably. It sounds very corny, but the basic principle is sound: if one makes an effort to love their spouse in a way which makes their spouse feel loved, the spouse will feel love and the marriage will run more smoothly. Many of the issues people suffer in marriage are due to a lack of continued connection with their spouse, which triggers arguments on larger issues, such as money, children, etc. Chapman’s proposed solution has the potential, if properly applied, to help with many of those situations. If nothing else, it’s better than Beck’s lack of a solution.

The other major cause of divorce which I’ve seen in many of my students is simple immaturity. People, generally teens out of fresh out of high school, thought they could handle being married, but they ended up being too self-absorbed, immature, inexperienced or unwilling to sacrifice to make the marriage work. I’m not sure there’s much of a global solution to these problems, as they take individuals recognizing their own issues and faults and being mature and adult enough to change them, and while many times it may seem that all immature, self-centered, egomaniacs need is a good throttling or simply a swift kick in the ass, I think most people would agree that it’s not a practical solution, and that really the only thing society can do as a whole is to deter such behavior by making it less scandalously appealing, and more disgustingly repulsive.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
mount_oregano
Sep. 10th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
When my husband and I were dating, we knew it might work as soon as we discovered that we were both Dr. Who fans.

Seriously, it helps to have shared interests. It might be a deep involvement in a faith. Or you might go to cons together.
hooks_and_books
Sep. 13th, 2010 02:26 am (UTC)
Of course...
I completely understand that shared interests help a relationship. However, when an argument starts over finances, responsibilities, etc., I'm not sure Dr. Who or a con is going to solve it.

Beck insists that religion will, and I can understand his argument up to a point, i.e., if you have something with a higher purpose over your individual needs and wants, i.e. a religion, then it gives the couple something to return to. However, Chapman proposes a system which helps to neutralize arguments and disagreements before they start by making sure that the people within the relationship feel loved and respected by each other.
gows
Sep. 15th, 2010 02:51 am (UTC)
Marriage is not the end of a relationship.

Divorce doesn't have to be, either.



Divorce hurts children.

. . . but not as much as staying in a dysfunctional, unhappy relationship.
hooks_and_books
Sep. 15th, 2010 03:09 am (UTC)
"Divorce hurts children. . . but not as much as staying in a dysfunctional, unhappy relationship."

Possibly, but Beck doesn't solve those, either. I think Chapman's book is one approach to solving a dysfunctional, unhappy relationship; however, you're right. If neither party is interested in healing the relationship, and things have become (or started out?) so twisted that the relationship isn't worth pursuing, then perhaps a divorce is in order, even if it hurts the children, as the relationship itself is probably worse. I think each relationship is different, and there's no overall cure for each one, only some guidelines; all I'm trying to point out is that Beck's "solutions" aren't, and that others (i.e. Chapman) actually propose a solution that seems to have some merit and success.
gows
Sep. 15th, 2010 05:21 am (UTC)
It was the "statements which I pretty much agree with" part I was responding to, more than anything.

Personally, I think Chapman's quite hit on a great idea. I agree with your statement here very strongly, too:

If you discover which language your spouse speaks, and make a clear and conscious effort to speak that language on a continual basis, your spouse will continue to feel loved, and many of the marriages issues will be resolved more peaceably. It sounds very corny, but the basic principle is sound: if one makes an effort to love their spouse in a way which makes their spouse feel loved, the spouse will feel love and the marriage will run more smoothly.

Helps a lot in smoothing over ruffled feathers and hurt feelings after an argument, too.

Someone should write up a "5 languages of arguing" book, too.
hooks_and_books
Sep. 15th, 2010 01:59 pm (UTC)
"Someone should write up a "5 languages of arguing" book, too."

Well, Chapman's "Five Languages of Love" has sequels, like "Five Languages of Apology" and "The Four Seasons of Marriage." I can't recommend them only because I haven't read them, but again I think Chapman's ideas are sound. It may not work for every relationship, because every relationship is different, but the basic idea--one of different styles of communication and emotional reception--certainly has some merit. Also, Chapman is a bit fundamentalist, so I strongly recommend any reader to look beyond that language.
gows
Sep. 15th, 2010 08:02 pm (UTC)
Huh! I had no idea. I confess that I haven't read Chapman's book itself, but I've seen the internet meme and found it quite accurate (in regards to myself, at least). Mayhap I should eyeball the others.
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