Have you ever wondered why so many people in Nashville get divorced? It turns out that the answer is not that you all are leaving your spouses to try to get with charming local political bloggers, but because of conservative Christians. Or, at least, that's what research out of the University of Texas suggests.
Researchers discovered that higher divorce rates among conservative Protestants were tied to earlier marriages and childbearing — factors known to ramp up divorce. Starting families earlier tends to stop young adults from pursuing more education and depresses their wages, putting more strain on marriages, University of Texas at Austin professor Jennifer Glass said.
But the study went a step further: Glass and another researcher also discovered that people living in areas with lots of conservative Protestants were at higher risk of getting divorced, even if they weren’t conservative Protestants themselves.
Yes, apparently you can catch divorce from your conservative Christian friends and neighbors.
I kid, but it is true that encouraging people to wait until they're married to have sex doesn't necessarily result in the best marriages. All it does is encourage people who think that, if they have to wait any longer to have sex, they'll simply burst, to marry the first person who will have them — not a great strategy for life-long happiness. We also know that it discourages use of birth control, since only people who are planning on having sex have birth control on-hand, and those of us who are planning on waiting until we're married, but, oh, god, this person next to me is so beautiful and really into me, are left with "oops, let's hope for the best" as our way of not getting pregnant. Hence all our teen pregnancies.
[Editor's note: Tennessee was 13th in teen pregnancies in 2008, the last year data was available. You don't want to be No. 1 on that list.]
Anyway, conservative Christians, carry on with your lives. I'd like to address the following remarks to the people who aren't conservative Christians who still feel pressured to get married early. Don't. Look at the divorce rates. Even if you don't get that perfect guy or gal before someone else puts a ring on him or her, you'll get your shot when they're single again. You don't have to hurry. Apparently almost everyone is coming back on the market sooner or later.