Speaking of Happiness

Speaking of Happiness August 12, 2010

So, both on the blog and on our personal email list, the Builders have been thinking a lot about what makes for a happy life, how we define happiness, and how mother’s happiness (or lack thereof) affects the rest of the family.  How timely to see this article on religion and marital happiness, with data from a study by my friend Brad Wilcox, a professor  at the University of Virginia, and a fellow Princeton Alum.

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  • Texas Mommy

    Ok, one of many posts I wanted to write when our computer was down for a month was on social science studies. “Studies” generically were knocked really hard here during the discussion of the previous happiness studies a few weeks ago. I am NOT a social scientist by training, but wanted to make a plug for good, scholarly, academic research into the fields of marriage and family, along the lines of much that Brad Wilcox has done (and I do not know him at all). In order to make arguments before the courts social studies on the effects of the demise of marriage and family are important. I don't have enough time to do this justice right now, but serious academic study into these issues can be a great tool. Those who espouse a traditional value system will not be surprised at data showing the deleterious effects of the demise of the family on children and the next generation economically, developmentally, in terms of health and welfare and crime rates. The data can be useful in court to make the argument for marriage from several perspectives. Of course, even if the data did not pan out, it would still be right to defend marriage, but that is not the case. Oh, and the “other side” pours out studies and data…we need brave intellectuals to do the same!

  • rightsaidred

    Very interesting. I found this point important, “When one partner attends services regularly and the other does not, relationship satisfaction is lower. ” Definitely something I'm trying to teach my children from a young age, because I think being equally “yoked” is a very important part of marriage satisfaction.

  • Mary Alice

    I am trying to teach this to my children, too, I tell them all the time that it is my number one priority for them in praying for their future spouse, if they have a vocation to marriage, that the person have a very strong Catholic faith.

  • jmb

    I met Brad Wilcox a few years ago when my brother was at U VA law school. It sounds common sensical to me that couples who pray together stay together, or at least work on the marriage and don't give up so easily. But maybe it's just me, or my area or parish, but it seems like more and more of my friends are dropping out of church going. Travel soccer, sports are usually blamed. And I'm also in the “divorce age” as well – married for decade or longer, youngest child in elementary school. It's all around me and it's sad.

  • Mary Alice

    The idea of missing Mass for the sake of sports is really sad. I wish that sports weren't offered on Sundays, and we go back and forth about whether to even participate. Last year we did not let the girls do a ballet show because the rehearsals were on Sunday. Still, there are plenty of masses, Saturday night mass is usually full of families with older kids and in my family we often went Sunday night at 7:30, so there is no excuse. We are about to hit the decade mark, and I wonder, it has been very intense but we are finally settling in to the best relationship. What can be done to support these families and encourage them to work it out? Is the stress of the economy making things worse for people?

  • molly

    MA, it's so nice to hear that 10 years in, it's just getting better. I think that for Catholics, part of it could be that divorce is just not an option. This may sound odd, but even when things are tough going in our household, we know we will work it out because there is no other option.