I have been thinking critically about marriage, recently. Partially this is because more and more of my friends and mentors are getting divorced, and partially it’s because since my mom died I’ve seen a, shall we say, insidiously ugly side of marriage. And frankly, life without a huppah looks better every day.
Meanwhile, the shidduch crisis rages on (don’t worry, I’m not a part of it), rabbis give some incredibly stupid advice and, finally, some good news: Married Orthodox Jews report high levels of contentment, reports the Wall Street Journal.
According to the Aleinu Marital Satisfaction Surveyâ€”an anonymous online study conducted by the Orthodox Union in conjunction with a program of Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles and the Rabbinical Council of Californiaâ€”72% of Orthodox men and 74% of Orthodox women rated their marriages as excellent or very good. By contrast, only 63% of men and 60% of women in the public at large told the General Social Survey, conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, that they were very happy in their marriages.
The Aleinu results are consistent with previous research indicating that couples who participate regularly in religious activities report greater marital contentment and are less likely to divorce. Still, I was surprised. While there are no official statistics, there exists an overwhelming perception in the Orthodox community that divorce rates have gone up, particularly among younger couples. The undertaking of the Aleinu survey attests to some level of worry on the part of Orthodox leaders that the sacred bonds of marriage have been weakened.
I don’t know anything about the survey’s methods, or how reliable this study is, but I guess it’s good news if you’re Orthodox and married. So, um, mazal tov?