Category: Marriage/Family

How to Talk to Loved Ones with Differing Political Opinions

As the 2020 presidential election draws near, and during a time when the world seems more divided than ever, families may experience an uptick in challenging and stressful conversations. Often, when families gather together, politics become a topic many shy away from. This, in part, may result from the uncomfortable emotional toll these conversations can have on one’s value and belief system. Many avoid political discussions with their families for fear of being attacked, long-lasting disagreements, alienation, or even being cut-off. Additionally, as we approach a time when many will gather with their loved ones, some may wonder, “How do I prepare for these uncomfortable conversations, and how can I take care of myself throughout the process?”

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Family Conflict Is Normal; It’s the Repair That Matters

Three months into the pandemic, I had the urge to see my 28-year-old daughter and her husband, 2,000 miles away. She had weathered an acute health crisis, followed by community protests that propelled them both onto the streets to serve food and clean up neighborhoods. They were coping, but the accumulation of challenges made the mom in me want to connect with and support them. So, together with my husband, my other daughter, and her husband, our family of six adults and two dogs formed a new pod inside my daughter’s home in the steamy heat of the Minneapolis summer.

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The Gender Wage Gap Shrinks, While the Parenthood Gap Grows

Ever since women began pouring into the workforce in the 1960’s, the gender wage gap has served as shorthand for measuring progress towards women’s equality. The shorthand has its downsides. By collapsing all the ingredients that might influence earnings—education, hours worked, seniority, occupation, discrimination—into one aggregate number, the widely quoted figure has done some mischief in public debate, creating a convenient talking point for politicians and advocates, but one that hides many of the realities driving the gap.

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Faster Growth, Fairer Growth, Family Growth

America just doesn’t grow like it used to. Real GDP has increased by a sluggish 1% per year on average since 2000, a substantial decline from the 2% annual average throughout the 20th century. Similarly slow median wage growth, and a series of “jobless” economic recoveries have compounded to produce less wealth, especially for younger people.

This stagnation has substantial implications for family life. Forming a family is not free, and slower growth makes it harder for adults to become an attractive mate or afford kids. Among couples who cohabit, majorities cite finances as their main reason for not tying the knot; the ever-growing population of men not in the labor force is particularly unlikely to be married

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No Families, No Children, No Future

Neither the societal shift away from traditional gender roles nor the downstream cultural consequences of that shift are anywhere near complete. As Rebecca Traister has incisively argued, the growing prevalence of singledom among America’s rising generation of women is one of the most potent forces in contemporary politics. In 2009, for the first time in history, there were more unmarried women in the United States than married ones. And today, young women in the U.S. aren’t just unprecedentedly single; they also appear to be unprecedentedly uninterested in heterosexuality: According to private polling shared with Intelligencer by Democratic data scientist David Shor, roughly 30 percent of American women under 25 identify as LGBT; for women over 60, that figure is less than 5 percent.

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Marital conflict causes loneliness, health problems

The study, using data from 250 couples over almost 20 years, showed that couples who fought regularly early in their marriage were likely to continue that pattern over time. Partners who argued frequently were more likely to feel lonely. And the researchers found that those arguments from earlier in the marriage could have a lasting effect on how lonely partners felt more than a decade later.

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Working-Class Christians and the Future of Marriage

In all of these places, young Christians still view marriage as something more than cohabitation—a stronger bond, a more serious commitment. Yet “the intrusion of a market mentality into our homes, marriages, and bedrooms” has reduced the transcendental to the transactional and contributed to a global monoculture that spreads from the West elsewhere.

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