Monday, May 2, 2011
William and Kate: Will Their Marriage Last?
Over a billion people watched the wedding of William and Kate. Long before the wedding took place, British bookies were taking bets on the date they will divorce, a stark demonstration of pessimism running strong in British society. No one could seriously believe their marriage will be normal in any way. They will face some difficulties that do not affect 'normal' marriages but they may also have advantages that other couples don't experience.
The divorce rate in the U.K. is nearly 40%. William's parents, Prince Charles and Diana ended their 20 year marriage in August of 1996 after the Queen had asked for them to divorce. The marriage had multiple problems but in the words of Dianna, "There were three of us in this marriage", referring to Prince Charles long time lover, Camilla. Young William was a teen-ager at the time and he was deeply affected by the divorce and later by the untimely death of his mother. Nicholas Wolfinger, author of “Understanding the Divorce Cycle: The Children of Divorce in Their Own Marriages,” declares that “Growing up in a divorced family greatly increases the chances of ending one's own marriage." (1) Divorce in the family may be a mark against the success of their marriage. Divorce runs deep in the family as Diana's parents also divorced when she was 8 years of age.
Kate's parents are not divorced. She rises from a strong, middle-class family who lived comfortably from the proceeds of a family business. Her parents have been married for over 30 years.
Kate is much more mature than Diana was when she married. Kate is 28 years old, the oldest woman to ever marry a future King of England. Dianna was only 20 years of age when she married Prince Charles. Lady Diana left school at age 16 and took a job working in a nursery. There were great disparities between Diana and Charles in the areas of education, common interests and age.
Prince William and Kate seem to have much more in common. They were both born in 1982 and they both attended St. Andrews. They both studied the history of art. Kate actually achieved a higher grade point average than Prince William. During their eight year courtship, they were often seen laughing and enjoying common interests and common friends. These commonalities seem to give them a notable advantage in establishing a stable marriage.
Unlike many historical monarchs, Prince William didn't marry a virgin. He and Kate lived together prior to marrying. Cohabitation doesn't usually lead to marriage. A study conducted by Columbia University discovered that only 26% or women and 19% of men who cohabitated actually married the person they lived with. (2) Another study suggested that those who cohabitate are almost twice as likely to get a divorce than those who did not live together before marriage. Prince William and Kate would have improved their chances of having a long and happy marriage had they not lived together before marriage.
To his credit, Prince William seems to have a genuine concern about the difficulties of being a royal bride. His answer to the long term relationship preceding the marriage was, "I wanted her to see and back out if she wanted to." When Diana died, William asked for and received his mother's engagement ring. It was this ring he presented to Kate, "It was my way of making sure my mother didn't miss out on today and the excitement and the fact we're going to spend the rest of our lives together." His sensitivity and determined attitude may be a big plus for a long marriage.
Will Prince William and Kate attend church? What part will religion have in their marriage? The research of Professor Bradley Wright, a sociology professor from the University of Connecticut, suggests that of those who attend church rarely, 60% had experienced a divorce. Of those who often attend church, only 38% had experience a divorce. Taking the family to church and embracing Judeo-Christian values regarding marriage certainly improves the chances of having a successful marriage. William and Kate were married in Westminster Abbey in answer to the traditional demands of the British for royal pageantry. Will he take his family to church? Will he foster a love for God in his children? Or will William go the way of his adulterous parents? Stay tuned.
William and Kate's marriage will be long lasting if they have taken their covenant of marriage seriously and if they refuse to break that covenant no matter what difficulties they might face. They vowed before God to pledge themselves to each other forever. Christ himself emphasized the terms of any marriage, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’." (Matthew 19:5) The scriptural plan for marriage is to leave, cleave and unite together. The best chance for a successful marriage is to leave the parents and establish traditions and memories with your spouse and children. When trouble comes cleave to each other and make Christ's words the foundation of the marriage. Finally, unite together, spiritually, mentally and physically.
Might they live happily ever after.
Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.