Monday, April 18, 2005

Thought Experiment

It was great fun hosting our friends D and SH for the last two weekends. We played tour guide and they bought us dinner. A wonderful time was had by all.

Looking back on their visit, one thing that is bouncing around in my head was a conversation I had with D about London. He was impressed with the architecture and the measures in place to keep the old buildings from being destroyed. While taking the bus down Regent Street, D asked how old the buildings were and I responded that they were built in the 1780s, about the same time as the American Revolution. D said, "We'd never let anything hang around this long, we'd tear it down and build something newer and bigger."

D hit the nail on the head. One of the premier cultural traits of Americans is the love of all things new and big. New and Big are inherently better. We buy a new car because our current one is just old. We buy new homes because they are better than those older things. We are transfixed by "new and improved" labels on products.

So here is my thought experiment... "Does the American cultural trait of love for "the New" contribute to the high divorce rate in America?"

I'm not saying it is the PRIMARY reason. I just wonder how much of a contributing factor it is. European divorce rates are 1.9/1000 citizens and America's is 4.1/1000. Americans have 2 times as many divorce per 1000. Is the acceptance that "newer is better" rubbing off on our relationships? Because the American culture accepts newer is better, does that mean we culturally condone a "newer is better" outlook on marriage?