Most of the historical data is hidden away in PDFs of these monthly reports, so I had the pleasure of scraping data from scans of dozens of CDC reports that were published 30 years before I was even born. To provide a more visual view of the data set, I charted the per capita marriage and divorce rates below, with a few annotations to denote major historical events.
While there appear to be some who feel that there is only one kind of marriage, in reality there are many options regarding marriage. In order to provide some additional depth to an understanding of the complexity of human marriage, I would like to discuss traditional Native American marriage.
First, however, a caution: In American society, part of the discussion about marriage is really about sex. While sex was a part of traditional Native American marriage, marriage was not about sex. Prior to marriage, young people were expected to engage in sexual activities.
Sex was not confined to marriage.
The Europeans, and particularly the missionaries, had a great deal of difficulty in understanding that women had power in Indian society and that they had the right to sexual freedom. Indian societies were not organized on the patriarchal, monogamous norms of European society.
Christian missionaries were deeply shocked and offended by the fact that Indian women were allowed to express their sexuality. At the same time, many of the European men were delighted by this.
Among some contemporary American commentators, there is a view that there are only two genders: They viewed gender and sexuality as a continuum. There was a recognition of the feminine and masculine in all people. There were in traditional societies male and female homosexuals and transvestites who played important spiritual and ceremonial roles.
These individuals were seen as being an important part of the community. Traditional Native American cultures tended to be egalitarian: This is one of the things that bothered many of the early Christian Missionaries, particularly the Jesuits in New France, as they viewed marriage as a relationship in which the woman subjugated herself to the man.
In Indian marriages, men and women were equals. Polygyny-the marriage of one man to more than one woman at the same time-was fairly common throughout North America.
In some cases a man would marry sisters — a practice that anthropologists call sororal polygyny. In general, sisters tended to get along better than unrelated co-wives as sisters usually did not fight. Among many of the tribes, wife exchange was practiced.
One man might become infatuated with the wife of another and propose an exchange. If this was agreeable, the two men would exchange wives from time to time. Among the Lakota Sioux, for example, two men who have pledged devotion to each other may express this relationship by marrying sisters and by exchanging wives on certain occasions.
Among the Pawnee, brothers sometimes shared wives. It was not uncommon for two or more brothers to set up a joint household, sharing their wives and their property. Polyandry — the marriage of one woman to more than one man at the same time — was found among many of the tribes.
This practice was often not recognized by Europeans, including many ethnographers, as it seemed so alien to them.
The Pawnee, for example, practiced a form of temporary polyandry. He would continue having sex with her until he married. For a period of four or five years the young man, and perhaps his brothers as well, would be a junior husband for this woman, creating a temporary state of polyandry.
Polyandry also occurred as a form of an anticipatory levirate. Among the Comanche, for example, when a man died his wife would become the wife of his brother.
Anticipating this practice, a man would allow his brother s to have sexual access to his wife. This was seen as symbolic of the brotherhood bond. In Indian cultures marriage was neither religious nor civil. There was usually no religious ceremony involved, only a public recognition of the fact of marriage.
In most cases there was no formal ceremony: In most Native American cultures, nearly all adults were married, yet marriage was not seen as permanent.Silently and unconsciously, we have created a culture of divorce.” “ It’s clear that we’ve created a new kind of society never before seen in human culture.” Judith Wallerstein, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce.
This new culture affects a wider range of . The Divorce Culture: Rethinking Our Commitments to Marriage and Family [Barbara Dafoe Whitehead] on iridis-photo-restoration.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.
the author's Atlantic Monthly article "Dan Quayle Was Right" ignited a media debate on the effects of divorce that rages still/5(10). Your "chances" of getting a divorce, or the odds of you getting a divorce can't be generalized. Each person has a different chance/odds because their circumstances are different.
About CCF. The Council on Contemporary Families is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to providing the press and public with the latest research and best-practice findings about American .
Divorce Culture is an important, accessible work, bringing light to bear on the devastation caused to families by divorce, but it is only a beginning in the task of re-assembling a culture of marriage. By Dr. Rex D. Matthews. I am currently engaged in research project that intends to trace the broad contours of the evolutionary change of American Methodist positions concerning divorce and remarriage and to set the story of that change in the larger context of changing attitudes toward divorce and remarriage in American culture and society.