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In Virtue/Vice, Dr. Christine B. Whelan blogs about news, books, scientific and psychological research and her general musings about virtue and vice in our everyday lives.

 

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March 19th, 2011

Virtues Big and Small

 
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virtuesBIGsmallI usually write about news events and the latest research, but virtue is all around us — and our best chance of character development comes in our relationships with our families. So here’s your to-do list for the day:

(1) Check out this website:

A college friend recently sent me a link to For Your Marriage, a website run by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It’s been around since 2007, but recently received a design overhaul to attract more readers.

It has tips on strengthening relationships, the importance of premarital preparation and — right up my alley — a section on marital virtues, updated each month.

I instantly liked the site because the lead story cites research from author and journalist Tara Parker-Pope on the myth about the all-too-often-quoted statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce. While that may have been true for marriages in the 1970s, the statistics are a lot more promising for couples — especially college-educated couples — getting married today.

So…

(2) Remember this bit of cocktail party conversation:

Have a college degree? You’ve taken a big step toward a healthier, happier marriage: College graduates are less likely to divorce — and more specifically, families with highly educated mothers are half as likely to split, according to research by Steven P. Martin, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland. Looking at marriages that began between 1990 and 1994, Mr. Martin found that, of marriages in which the wife had a college education (or more), only 16.5% dissolved in the first 10 years, compared with 38% in which the wife had only a high-school diploma.

And finally…

(3) Check out this website:

Think big families are a thing of the past? Think high-achieving women don’t want to be mothers? Think again. As I’ve written about many times before, well-educated women marry at the same rates as other women, tend to have more stable relationships – and, once married, are just as likely to be mothers. Living proof of this is a group of Catholic, Princeton educated women who are raising their families with grace and a wonderful sense of humor – and blog about it on their newly redesigned website, BuildingCathedrals. (One recent blog post is about the challenges — and importance — of reading together as a family.)

These women are living the virtue of commitment, love, patience, courage and perseverance day in and day out.

How’s that for some weekend inspiration?

 
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The Author : Christine B. Whelan
Dr. Christine B. Whelan is an author, professor and speaker. She and her husband, Peter, and their dictator cats, Chairman Meow and Evita Purron, live in Pittsburgh. Her book "Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women" is available in stores or at the Halo Store.
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