Virtues Big and Small

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.


(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?