Elizabeth Gilbert's books include Eat, Pray, Love and Committed.
From a Q & A at her website:
Q: Why do you think U.S. divorce rates are so high? What statistical findings did you encounter that people might consider before tying the knot?Writers who were pulled in by Eat, Pray, Love include Jennifer Mascia and Vivian Swift.
A: First of all, it's important to know that the famous "50% divorce rate" that we hear about so much these days is a little bit misleading. Across the board, there is a 50% divorce rate, true, but those numbers really change based on the age of the couple at the time of marriage. Young couples divorce at astronomically high rates, which blows the curve for everyone else. The fundamental conclusion we can draw from all the data is this: Marriage is not a game for the young. Wait as long as you humanly can to get married, and your odds of staying with one partner forever will increase dramatically. If you wait until you are, say, 35 years old to get married, your odds of success are pretty terrific. The other question is one of expectation. Modern Americans bring to their marriages the most over-stuffled bundle of expectations the institution has ever seen. We expect that our partner will not merely be a decent person, but will also be our soul mate, our best friend, our intellectual companion, our greatest sexual partner and our life's complete inspiration. Nobody in human history has ever asked this much of a companion. It's a lot to ask of one mere mortal, and the inevitable disappointments that follow such giant expectations can cripple marriages.
Q: In the book, you state that same-sex marriage may very well save the institution of marriage. How so?
A: Marriage is on the decline everywhere, and same-sex couples are the only ones who are really passionate about matrimony anymore. As one commentator described the situation, it's as if the institution of marriage is a crumbing, decaying, old neighborhood where nobody wants to live anymore. But then-in come the gay couples, begging to move into that neighborhood, buy up all that valueless real estate, renovate those old houses, bring creative new shops and galleries to the place and suddenly make it the coolest place to live again. After which, heterosexual couples and families will follow! So the argument becomes this-instead of trying to "save" the institution of marriage by excluding gay couples from matrimony, maybe it's smarter to try to rescue marriage by letting same-sex couples move in and gentrify the place. It's a cute argument, but...[read on]
Read about Elizabeth Gilbert's best books.