By Lauren DelGandio
Is it possible to affair proof a marriage? Has the idea of lasting love within a monogamous, committed relationship gone the way of the vinyl record? A leading marriage education program says there’s hope and offers a road map for love and intimacy along with an online assessment to help couples identify vulnerabilities.
From the nightly news, daily papers, tabloids, social media, and cable, Americans are bombarded with stories of marital infidelity. As intimate details and lurid images of celebrities, athletes, and public officials caught in the chaos of betrayal become increasingly ubiquitous, interest in marriage itself continues its downward spiral.
A Pew Research Center study reports that 18 – 28 years-olds of the Millennial Generation of 2009 are 61 percent less likely to be married than the Silent Generation of 1963, 50 percent less likely than the Boomers of 1978, and 28 percent less likely compared to Gen X of 1995.
Gawkers parade through websites such as Philadelphia’s CBS3, as they trumpet celebrity infidelity scandals with a virtual Who’s Who of the Arts, Athletics, Activism, and Industry.
Those with famous faces and names — like Tiki Barber, David Letterman, Jesse James and Tiger Woods – become national conversations for young and old alike.
The Millennial Generation absorbs the broken vows and promises of so many admired artists, athletes, and activists, yet 52 percent still say being a good parent is one of the most important things in their lives followed by 30 percent who want to have a successful marriage – double the percentage who say having a high-paying career is a most important goal.
With more than half of Millennials wanting to be good parents while only 30 percent place high value on a successful marriage, America can expect the percentage of children raised by single parents to continue rising.
Seth Eisenberg, President of PAIRS Foundation, a national relationship skills training program, said that the generations born after World War II have been influenced by experiences in their own families more than celebrity scandals.
“As more women entered the workforce and increasingly pursued higher education after World War II, the basis of marriage shifted from security, stability, and raising children to meeting each other’s needs for love and intimacy,” Eisenberg said. “Generations of men who looked to the examples of their fathers and grandfathers struggled, as they typically modeled emotional distance and traditional gender roles that rarely work for modern relationships based on equality, love, and intimacy.”
Love and intimacy is about confiding, affection, friendship, trust, and tangibly creating shared accomplishments. Research shows that couples who actively learn and invest in those areas of their relationship are able to create lasting, happy marriages that work for both partners.
PAIRS Foundation offers a free online assessment for visitors to check the pulse of their relationship. The Relationship Pleasure Scale examines six key areas vital to strong love relationships.
For Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers, learning skills to create happy marriages and families may be the best chance to shield their relationships from affairs, provide loving, stable homes for their children, and achieve the goals they say are most important.
Resources for Rebuilding and Preventing Infidelity
- Beyond Affairs Network
- Extramarital Affair Resource Center
- PAIRS Foundation
- Compassion Power
- National Healthy Marriage Resource Center