What Ever Happened to Familyby Tyler Woods on Apr. 21, 2010, under Life
As a therapist, I see a great deal of relationship conflict and have seen way too many “nasty” divorces in my time. This past week, it seemed to be “nasty divorce week” as I encountered so many of them and it got me thinking…
What ever happened to family? I believe our society is conflicted over what constitutes family and marriage. These days’ people seem to be divorcing over bad hair days or ordering the wrong drink. Many of the reasons for divorce today are about as senseless as the reasons these people got married in the first place. Someone should write a book about some of the cocky reasons people divorce, I believe it could be a million seller!
Today 50% of all marriages end up in divorce. That is three times the amount in the 50’s so what’s up with that? What was so wonderful about the 50s that kept families together?
One of the main reasons for family togetherness in the 50s was simple; you stayed together because it was the right thing to do. That’s right folks, in the 50s, people stayed together because it was a stigma in those days to get divorced. Of those who did get divorced men seemed to be able to move forward but women were judged and suffered 45% decline in economic status.
Life in the 50s was a great deal less stressful as well. In the 50s the economy was booming, 60% of Americans were considered middle class, poverty rates were on the decrease, Americans viewed home and family the most important thing in their lives, the housing market was booming and developers were building 1.5 million houses a year.
In the 50s families did something that happens so rarely today. They actually sat down and ate dinner together. That’s right, they sat around the table and ate a real home cooked meal and actually talked about the day. This was mainly because of traditional roles back in the 50s. Men worked and women cooked and clean.
Today those families that do stay together, over half the household have two working family members. Doesn’t seem like there is much time to cook, clean and have social hour when both parents are working.
I am unsure what happened to the core value of family in today’s world. My parents have been married for 55 years. When they had problems, they stuck it out. They took their vows in “good times and bad times” quite serious.
People like my parents are rare. I keep wondering how they made it so long, and then it dawns on me; they were married in the early 50’s. They were a product of core family values that the 50’s produced. They also didn’t both have to work, or worry about money, or deal with the demands raising a family in today’s world.
Don’t get me wrong I am all for divorce. If you are in an unhappy situation, by all means, leave! The only problem is, in today’s world, we barely have to look far look for unhappiness. I keep thinking that maybe family values was just about being happy that we had a family, food on the table, time for pleasure. It seemed in the 50s we appreciated what we had and worked on keeping what was important to us.
Times sure have changed and the changes clearly have affected family values.