SD Marriage Rate Continues Downward Trend

A lot of people would characterize this as a failure of individuals or of society. Count me among them, but probably for very different reasons.

There is this fairy-tale belief that humans were made to be in long-term monogamous relationships. I’ve seen a fair share of science (and lived long enough) to convince me that simply is not the case. The idea of long-term monogamy came about with the advent of agriculture and the idea that men should pass along their belongings to only their biological offspring. In earlier hunter-gatherer societies, everything from food to children to sexual partners was shared.

It’s perhaps not popular to acknowledge that marriage isn’t the natural state of humans, but the evidence is abundant.

I’m not saying that long-term marriage doesn’t work for some people. It does.

But there are a large number of people who, even though they don’t play by the marriage rule book in practice, still like to cling to it.

If you ask me, it’s time for the disaffected to stop feeling guilty about not living up to the often unrealistic story line they’ve been given for their lives and start looking at more realistic options.

A really great place to learn about the history of human sexuality is “Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality.” It’s a fascinating book and made a big splash when it came out last year.

Oh yeah, here’s The Associated Press article that got me on this tangent:

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakotans are marrying less frequently and divorcing more often.
A year-to-year comparison shows a 4.2 percent drop in the number of marriages to 5,887 and a 9 percent increase in divorces to 2,686 in 2009.
The figures compiled by the state Health Department are the most recent available.
The marriage rate has dropped from 12.7 per 100,000 residents in 1980 to 7.8 in 2009. The divorce rate in 2009 was 3.6 per 100,000 residents.
The report shows an average duration of 10 years for marriages that ended in divorce. One couple divorced in 2009 after 53 years of marriage.

3 thoughts on “SD Marriage Rate Continues Downward Trend

  1. It is not a fairy tale belief that I cling to. It is the absolute truth of the Word of God. He is our designer and He clearly showed us the best way to live. I can see why you are so confused–you have no basis to your “beliefs.” You read random articles and statistics from who knows where, and make vague conclusions. The idea of monogamy came from God, Nathan. Have you started reading through the Bible yet? I’d like to see some of those quotations in your articles. Give me some MEAT!

  2. Jenny,
    If you take the Bible literally, this debate will simply not work. I do not accept everything in the Bible as the infallible word of God. Therefore, I would not use the Bible as an authoritative source for any argument. It was a book written by humans for humans for religious purposes.
    To derive the “true” meanings of the Bible requires so much contextual knowledge of the culture it was written by that Biblical scholars still have plenty over which to argue.
    On the issue of monogamy, this snippet from Wikipedia is a good place to get an idea of how monogamy is not even close to the only game in town when it comes to various cultures. Growing up in the predominantly Christian culture of the United States, it can be easy to overlook that fact.
    “Evolutionary history of monogamy
    Determining when monogamy evolved in the human lineage is an extremely heated debate with differing views from within the field of paleoanthropology and from genetic studies. Ultimately, there are two prevailing views on the evolutionary history of monogamy in humans, monogamy evolved very early on in our unique lineage[23] or monogamy did not evolve until much more recently (less than 20,000 years ago)[24][25]. Paleoanthropological estimates of the evolution of monogamy are primarily based on the level of sexual dimorphism seen in the fossil record because, in general, reduced male-male competition seen in monogamous mating systems result in reduced sexual dimorphism.[26] According to Reno et al., the sexual dimorphism of Australopithecus afarensis (a human ancestor approximately from 3.9–3.0 million years ago[27]) was within the modern human range, as based on dental and postcranial morphology.[23] Although very careful not to say that this indicates monogamy as the mating system of early hominids, the authors do say that the reduced levels of sexual dimorphism seen in the body size of A. afarensis “do not imply that monogamy is any less probable than polygyny”.[23] However, Gordon, Green and Richmond claim that, in examining postcranial remains, A. afarensis is more sexually dimorphic than modern humans and even chimps with levels closer to those of orangutans and gorillas.[24] Furthermore, Homo habilis (from approximately 2.3 mya[27]) is the most sexually dimorphic early hominid.[28] Plavcan and van Schaik conclude their examination of this controversy by stating that, overall, sexual dimorphism in australopithecines is not indicative of any behavioral implications or mating systems.[29] The genetic evidence for the evolution of monogamy in humans is more complex but much more straightforward. While female effective population size (the number of individuals successfully producing offspring and contributing to the gene pool), as indicated by mitochondrial-DNA evidence, increased around the time of human (not hominid) expansion out of Africa (about 80,000–100,000 years ago), male effective population size, as indicated by Y-chromosome evidence, did not increase until 18,000 years ago, which coincides with the advent of agriculture.[25]

    Although, scientists discuss the evolution of monogamy in humans as if it is the prevailing mating strategy among Homo sapiens, only approximately 17.8% (100) of 563 societies sampled in Murdock’s Atlas of World Cultures has any form of monogamy.[30] Therefore, “genetic monogamy appears to be extremely rare in humans,” and “social monogamy is not common, … often reduc[ing] to serial polygyny in a biological sense”.[21] This means that monogamy is not now and probably never was the predominate mating system among the hominid lineage.[30][31][21]”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monogamy

  3. I do take the Bible literally, and I understand that no amount of reasoning will convince you to believe. The scriptures aren’t written to the world in general, but to those who are called, as myself when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior from sin as well as the gift of eternal life with Him. So I apologize for using the scriptures for evidence to convince you believe. I would like to “prove” the authority of the Bible, for anyone who might be enjoying your articles as I have. =)
    1. This is one of very few books that CLAIMS to be the Word of God. Even religious works rarely make this sort of claim!
    2″It must be flawed—people wrote it!” Nope, dumb argument! Can God not have people be his “secretaries” if He really is that powerful?
    3. In Jesus, we see His stamp of approval on virtually the whole Old Testement. He quotes from EVERY section from the Hebrew Bible. He quotes from them with authority too!
    4. “RETRODUCTION”–Go to the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and read them as merely historical documents. Then test anything in it according to the canons of historical research. I can garentee that it’ll pass with flying colors! When this takes place, you can see that, when taken at face value, the Bible is True.
    A few things to think about regarding the authority of the Bible…..

    You also say that I cannot understand the culture or writings of Ancient Hebrew stuff. YES, I can Nathan! There are so many great sources out there! So many explanations of passages—you above all, should know how easy information is to access! Finding the RIGHT information is the difficult part….=)

    I don’t like statistics, as you can tell, but I have heard on many occasions in my life that CHRIST followers who live in a monogamous, faithful, marriages have better sex than anyone. I’d take that any day over a culture when anyone can do anything with anyone else….self absorbsion does not lead to freedom, but pain and disfunction.

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