May 20, 2019

With This Ring, I Thee Wed

Recently, my wife and I were sitting in a restaurant having breakfast when she casually mentioned whether I noticed anything about our waitress?” From there, the conversation ensued…

“No, should I?”

“She’s pregnant.”

“How can you tell?”

“Trust me, I know.”

As a traditional person, I noted that she wasn’t married; which elicited a comment from my wife- “When did that make a difference?”

Wishing to redeem myself, I responded that it was just as well, given that half of all marriages end in divorce. She noted that it was worse than that.

In thinking about our conversation, I decided to do some research regarding the sad state of matrimony in our society. The statistics are overwhelming.  By surfing the Internet and trying to absorb the millions of statistics provided by the United States Census Bureau, I suddenly realized that marriage, once considered by many as a holy bond, has now become a mere arrangement. Once upon a time, marriage was conferred in a religious setting; then by a courthouse; and now, apparently, hardly conferred at all.

Today, it appears that at least 40% of couples never marry. While this is a roughly “bundled percentage,” it also appears that race, economics, and education play substantial roles in determining whether or not individuals will marry. Couples with limited education tend to marry less than their educated counterparts.  Race also plays a major role in when or if couples marry. And when one considers that the divorce rate is now at roughly 50% of all marriages, what remains are about 30 couples out of 100 that are still married! Apparently, there are some people who still value marriage; although it appears that there is scant social pressure or legal obligation that sustains it.

I still believe that the essence of marriage is not just sex or money; it is a total commitment.  At least that was on my mind when I said “with this ring, I thee wed.”

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Written by
Donald Wittmer

DONALD WITTMER is a retired business executive who held key roles in the automotive and banking sectors. For a time, he also served as a Fiscal Agency Manager for the Detroit branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He received his undergraduate degree from Cincinnati's Xavier University, an M.A. in business management from Central Michigan University, and earned certification in bank operations from the School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A husband, father, and grandfather, he teaches part-time at the Kent Place School for Girls in Summit, New Jersey.

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Written by Donald Wittmer