MARRIAGE & Research finds you are twice as likely to be happy if you marry your best friend. #RebeccaBFF

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: You’ve heard the adage that you should marry your best friend. And, I am thankful every day that I married my college sweetheart and my best friend Rebecca. You are twice as likely to be happy if you marry your best friend according to this research from the University of British Columbia.

How’s Life at Home? New Evidence on Marriage and the Set Point for Happiness

Shawn Grover and John F. Helliwell
NBER Working Paper No. 20794
December 2014
JEL No. I31,J12,J16

Subjective well-being research has often found that marriage is positively correlated with well-being. Some have argued that this correlation may be result of happier people being more likely to marry. Others have presented evidence suggesting that the well-being benefits of marriage are short-lasting. Using data from the British Household Panel Survey, we control individual pre-marital well-being levels and find that the married are still more satisfied, suggesting a causal effect, even after full allowance is made for selection effects. Using new data from the United Kingdom’s Annual Population Survey, we find that the married have a less deep U-shape in life satisfaction across age groups than do the unmarried, indicating that marriage may help ease the causes of the mid-life dip in life satisfaction and that the benefits of marriage are unlikely to be short-lived. We explore friendship as a mechanism which could help explain a causal relationship between marriage and life satisfaction, and find that well-being effects of marriage are about twice as large for those whose spouse is also their best friend. Finally, we use the Gallup World Poll to show that although the overall well-being effects of marriage appear to vary across cultural contexts, marriage eases the middle-age dip in life evaluations for all regions except Sub-Saharan Africa.

Shawn Grover
Department of Finance Canada 90 Elgin St, Ottawa
Ontario, K1A 0G5

John F. Helliwell
Vancouver School of Economics University of British Columbia 997-1873 East Mall
Vancouver BC V6T 1Z1 CANADA

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MARRIAGE & What my wife taught me about leadership #BiblicalLeadershipMagazine #video

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 2/6/17.

Everyone is a mixture of various leadership styles. Hear Bob Whitesel share what his marriage unveiled about how different leaders approach decisions and even God. How could different leadership styles complement your church’s team? (Excerpted from the Society For Church Consulting’s Church Staffing Summit 2015.)

Video: What my wife taught me about leadership

Hear Bob Whitesel share what his marriage unveiled about how different leaders approach decisions and even God.

MORALITY & Cohabitation and Church Attendance Factor into Likelihood of Divorce #LifeWay

by Aaron Earls, Facts & Trends, 3/21/16.

For couples looking to increase their chances of a lasting marriage, research offers some advice: don’t live together before marriage, but do attend church together.

Researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics examined marital history data from the National Survey of Family Growth to determine what factors into the probability of a lasting first marriage.

Couples who live together before getting married have a lower chance of having a long-term marriage than those who don’t live together, according to analysis by researchers at the Pew Research Center.

A woman who refrained from living with her husband prior to their wedding has a 57 percent probability her marriage will last at least two decades. Those who cohabitate decrease their probability to 46 percent.

For men, the more commitment is made prior to living together the more likely their marriages are to last. Those who live with their future spouse before even being engaged have the lowest chance of a long-term marriage at 49 percent. For those who wait until after marriage, they have a 60 percent chance of celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary.

Another factor to help solidify a marriage may be church attendance, as opposed to religious identification, according to sociologist Brad Wright. “Six in 10 evangelicals who never attend church had been divorced or separated, compared to just 38 percent of weekly attendees,” he says…

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POVERTY and U. Calif. research sheds light on why some women put motherhood before marriage

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Catherine J. Edin and Marla Kefalas immersed themselves in the lives of unwed mothers in Philadelphia. The result was the best-selling book, Promises I can keep: Why 516CP2TE97L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_poor woman put motherhood before marriage, (Univ. of Calif. Press, 2005). An important read to understand poverty and its impact upon women, The Los Angeles Times summarized it this way “She (Edin) found that many of these women sought children as a source of love and meaning while disdaining marriage to men unable to provide economic stability” (Julia M. Klein, “Clear-eyed compassion for those stricken by poverty,” Los Angeles Times, October 4, 2015, p. F10). Read their book for more insights. In addition Edin’s follow-up tome (co-authored with H. Luke Schaefer) is another insightful read, titled $2.00 a day: Living on almost nothing in America, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015).

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MULTIRACIAL & An Overview of Multiracial Americans #PewResearch

by Pew Research, 6/11/15.

Multiracial Americans are at the cutting edge of social and demographic change in the U.S.—young, proud, tolerant and growing at a rate three times as fast as the population as a whole.

As America becomes more racially diverse and social taboos against interracial marriage fade, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that majorities of multiracial adults are proud of their mixed-race background (60%) and feel their racial heritage has made them more open to other cultures (59%).

The Multiracial ExperienceAt the same time, a majority (55%) say they have been subjected to racial slurs or jokes, and about one-in-four (24%) have felt annoyed because people have made assumptions about their racial background. Still, few see their multiracial background as a liability. In fact, only 4% say having a mixed racial background has been a disadvantage in their life. About one-in-five (19%) say it has been an advantage, and 76% say it has made no difference.

While multiracial adults share some things in common, they cannot be easily categorized. Their experiences and attitudes differ significantly depending on the races that make up their background and how the world sees them. For example, multiracial adults with a black background—69% of whom say most people would view them as black or African American—have a set of experiences, attitudes and social interactions that are much more closely aligned with the black community. A different pattern emerges among multiracial Asian adults; biracial white and Asian adults feel more closely connected to whites than to Asians. Among biracial adults who are white and American Indian—the largest group of multiracial adults—ties to their Native American heritage are often faint: Only 22% say they have a lot in common with people in the U.S. who are American Indian, whereas 61% say they have a lot in common with whites.1

Estimating the Size of the Multiracial Population

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ETHNICITIES & Pew Research Voices of Multiracial Americans

by Pew Research, June 11, 2015.
Black. White. Asian. American Indian. Pacific Islander.
For much of the nation’s history, America has discussed race in the singular form. But the language of race is changing.

With the rise of interracial couples, combined with a more accepting society, America’s multiracial population has grown at three times the rate of the general population since the beginning of the millennium.

The U.S. Census Bureau says 2.1% of American adults check more than one race. Using a broader definition that factors in the racial backgrounds of parents and grandparents, a new Pew Research Center report finds that 6.9% of U.S. adults, or nearly 17 million, could be considered multiracial today. twitter-bird_16.png

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Read more in our detailed analysis


Made up of many different racial combinations, this group is by no means monolithic. The study finds multiracial adults have a broad range of attitudes and experiences that are rooted in the races that make up their background and how the world sees them…

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GENERATIONS & How Millennial Are You? Take the Quiz by #PewResearch

By Pew Research, 2/24/15.

Take our 14 item quiz and we’ll tell you how “Millennial” you are, on a scale from 0 to 100, by comparing your answers with those of respondents to a scientific nationwide survey. You can also find out how you stack up against others your age…

Take the quiz at …

MARRIAGE & Is Everybody Single? More Than Half the U.S. Now, Up From 37% in ’76

By Rich Miller, 9/9/14, Bloomberg News

Single Americans make up more than half of the adult population for the first time since the government began compiling such statistics in 1976.

Some 124.6 million Americans were single in August, 50.2 percent of those who were 16 years or older, according to data used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its monthly job-market report. That percentage had been hovering just below 50 percent since about the beginning of 2013 before edging above it in July and August. In 1976, it was 37.4 percent and has been trending upward since.

In a report to clients entitled “Selfies,” economist Edward Yardeni flagged the increase in the proportion of singles to more than 50 percent, calling it “remarkable.” The president of Yardeni Research Inc. in New York said the rise has “implications for our economy, society and politics.”

Related: Financial Strategies for the New Single Majority

Singles, particularly younger ones, are more likely to rent than to own their dwellings. Never-married young singles are less likely to have children and previously married older ones, many of whom have adult children, are unlikely to have young kids, Yardeni wrote. That will influence how much money they spend and what they buy.


He argued the increase in single-person households also is exaggerating income inequality in the U.S.

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MARRIAGE & The Good News About Marriage: Nearly three quarters (72%) of currently married people are still with their first spouse. #Facts&Trends

Divorce: Setting the Record Straight,

Facts & Trends, 10/14/14wedding-divorcestats

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Author and social researcher Shaunti Feldhahn wants to get a few things straight about marriage and divorce in the United States. For decades, Americans have heard the divorce rate in the U.S. is around 50 percent. But Feldhahn says that while some subgroups have higher divorce rates the overall average has never hit 50 percent.

Most married people say they are happy, says Feldhahn, who debunks the divorce myth in her book The Good News about Marriage. Nearly three quarters (72 percent) of currently married people are still with their first spouse.

“Yes, there is some really bad news out there,” writes Feldhahn. “But the good news is out there too. And it can give some much needed encouragement to marriages today.”

Most of the statistics about marriage, including the idea that half of marriages fail, are based on past U.S. Census department projections, says Feldhahn. But those projections were made at a time when the divorce rate was skyrocketing. If the trend had continued we would have hit 50 percent, she explains. But the divorce rate peaked around 1980…

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MARRIAGE & Eight Ways for Pastors to Affair-Proof Their Marriages #ThomRainer

by Thom Rainer, 10/6/14

… Here are their eight ways for pastors to affair-proof their marriages.

  1. Put your family as the highest priority of your ministry…
  2. Pray with your wife…
  3. Pray for your wife…
  4. Date your wife…
  5. Don’t have unreasonable expectations of your wife at church…
  6. Discern and discuss how much your wife wants to hear about church matters…
  7. Defend your wife…
  8. Converse with your wife…

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LATINO/A & The traditional, married, 2-parent US family that eats home-cooked meals together may be Latino #NPR #PewResearch

by Gene Demby, NPR, 9/28/14

The biggest takeaways from a new study on marriage by the Pew Research Center are these: Fewer Americans who are older than 25 are married than ever before, and by the time they’re middle-aged, a record 25 percent will have never tied the knot.

That might not be too much of a surprise, since marriage rates have been sliding for decades.

But what’s just as interesting is how those numbers break down. … (It’s important to note that 1960 was the highwater mark for American marriages.)

… while the Pew data shows that the rate of non-married Latinos has doubled over the last 50 years and the rate of unmarried, cohabitating parents has climbed, another new study from Child Trends found that nearly 60 percent of Latino children were being raised by two married parents. Latino kids were also more likely than blacks or whites to eat a meal with their families six or seven days a week, and those meals were likely to be cooked at home.

Put another way: when we reference the traditional, married, two-parent American family that eats home-cooked meals together in our popular culture, maybe we should start showing them as Latinos.

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GENERATIONS & 5 facts about the modern American family


by JENS MANUEL KROGSTAD, Pew Research Center, 4/30/14

“The classic nuclear family, the kind imprinted on the American imagination by TV shows like Leave It To Beaver, has been left behind. In 1960, 37% of households included a married couple raising their own children. More than a half-century later, just 16% of households look like that.  Here are 5 facts about the modern family …

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FAMILIES & Why I Tell My Employees to Bring Their Kids to Work #HarvardBusinessReview

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Churches will learn that by accommodating the children of employees on special occasions they can not only increase employee satisfaction but also dedication. Read this intriguing story how a Silicon Valley CEO created a stronger team by accommodating as needed the children of employees.”

ARTICLE by Sabrina Parsons,Harvard Biz Review

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PARENTHOOD & Cost of child care may explain recent increase in stay-at-home moms

Rising cost of child care may help explain recent increase in stay-at-home moms
by Drew Desilver, Pew Research

After Decades of Decline, a Rising Share of Stay-at-Home MothersRead more at …

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SINGLE PEOPLE & Why Churches Still Focus on Married Couples

Invisible singles: How churches can reach unmarried worshipers
by David Briggs, The Association of Religion Data Archives, June 21, 2013

“Many singles are already voting with their feet.

While about half of Americans ages 15 and older are married, some two-thirds of worshipers ages 15 and older are married. Young adults, who make up the great majority of never-married individuals, are particularly underrepresented.

Just 14 percent of adult worshipers have never been married, compared to the more than three in 10 individuals in the general population who have never been married, according to the 2008-2009 wave of the U.S.Congregational Life Survey.

Many observers say despite America’s changing demographics, including the rise in single parents and the number of individuals postponing or forgoing marriage, churches still focus most of their attention on married couples.”

Read more here …

DIVERSITY & Church Friendships

The ties that may not bind race, religion and marriage
by Association of Religious Data Archives

“‘Segregated churches breed segregated lives,’ said Perry, according to Briggs. However, he also found that those who pray and read the Bible more often were more likely to date outside of their race. (Perry’s findings will appear in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.)”

“Churches are still one of the least likely places white, black, Asian and Hispanic Americans will encounter one another.

Pew’s 2007 American Religious Landscape Survey found non-Hispanic whites made up more than 9 in 10 members of mainline Protestant churches and more than 8 in 10 members of evangelical Protestant churches, while more than 9 in 10 members of historically black churches were non-Hispanic blacks. Nearly 3 in 10 Catholics were Hispanic, compared with just 3 percent of mainline Protestants…

Those who attended multiracial churches, however, were more likely to have dated a person of another race, Perry reported at the recent annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.”

GENERATIONS – Millennials

For Millennials, Parenthood Trumps Marriage
by Pew Research Center

Throughout history, marriage and parenthood have been linked milestones on the journey to adulthood. But for the young adults of the Millennial Generation1, these social institutions are becoming delinked and differently valued.

Today’s 18- to 29-year-olds value parenthood far more than marriage, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of attitudinal surveys.

A 2010 Pew Research survey found that 52% of Millennials say being a good parent is “one of the most important things” in life. Just 30% say the same about having a successful marriage– meaning there is a 22 percentage point gap in the way Millennials value parenthood over marriage.

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