Monday, 4 April 2011

Why do some families fare better at marriage than others?

Not so long ago I went to my Auntie Lizzy's funeral. She was an amazing woman - always a real live wire and a funny woman, but the most incredible thing about her was that she had 16 children. Yep, 16..count 'em. Whereas I come from a relatively small family of just 6 children. You see, we're all part of a big Liverpool/Irish catholic family and that sort of thing wasn't that unusual a few years ago.

When we were little and went to their house it was always packed to the gunnels with people and that was just the family! Nobody had their own room, they all shared everything, and they had relatively little but they all seemed happy enough.

Anyway, back to the funeral so to speak. It was the first time in years that I'd seen all 16 of my cousins together and after spending the afternoon chatting with them I realised something unusual.  All 16 of my cousins, ranging in age from 42 to 64 were married and most had been so since their early 20s.  They had in fact all been married for somewhere between 21 and 42 years. There wasn't a single divorce or separation between them. Pretty unusual huh?

In contrast, in my family of six children, 3 have never married and the other 3 (me included) have been married once and later divorced.  Why is that? My own parents were very happily married for 53 years so we had good marriage role models, but none of us have managed it. I'm perplexed I really am.

It got me to wondering why this would be, and I thought about religion because there is one significant difference to the way our two families were raised. Auntie Lizzy and her husband, my Uncle Christy were very strict Catholics and raised their children as such. My parents were lapsed Catholics and although we went to church when we were smaller that was about it.  Can that be the difference? Or am I missing something?

Whatever reason it is, I'm fascinated by this. I'd be interested to know what you think the answer could be.