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Chapter Eight – Relationship Issues & Trends. Relationship Issues Intermarriage Same-Sex Marriage Infidelity Spousal Violence Divorce. Honesty Kindness Respect Compatibility Humour Dependability Love Values Religious Commonality Communication.

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Relationship Issues


Same-Sex Marriage


Spousal Violence


Top 10 characteristics that people want in a partner









Religious Commonality


Top 10 Characteristics that people want in a Partner

Top 8 reasons people marry

Feeling that marriage signifies commitment

Moral values

Belief that children should have married parents

It is the natural thing to do

Financial security

Religious beliefs

Pressure from family

Pressure from friends

Source: Reginald Bibby, A Canadian Hopes & Dreams, published by the Vanier Institute of the Family, 2004

Top 8 Reasons People Marry

Top 5 reasons why couples divorce

Different values & beliefs

Abuse – physical & emotional

Alcohol & drugs


Career-related conflict

Source: Reginald Bibby, A Canadian Hopes & Dreams, published by the Vanier Institute of the Family, 2004

Top 5 Reasons Why Couples Divorce

Why couples are breaking up by donna mccloskey transition dec 1997

  • Why are couples breaking up?

    • “Do your own thing” individualism has eroded the sanctity of marriage

    • Married too young

    • Knowing you partner for only a short time before marriage

    • Women earning their money

Why Couples are Breaking Up?By Donna McCloskey (Transition Dec. 1997)

What happens to people who divorce

15 yrs after the divorce, couples are still not settle, not happy

More complicated, more depleting, more lonely than they expect

Decline in the standard of living

Many women are far behind their ex-husband in terms of education & job experience – most never catch up

Non-custodial father finds his role in his children’s lives somewhat diminished

What happens to people who divorce?

Divorced man has a larger pool of potential mates than the divorced women

Women are more likely to report psychological symptoms, far more men received repeated or long-term psychiatric hospitalization

More divorced men kill themselves than divorced women

What about the kids

Children are more affected by ongoing fights, lower standard of living, a move to a new Neighborhood or mommy’s or daddy’s new “friend” that by the divorce per se

Preschoolers plagued by nightmares, teens 3x more likely to be in psychological counseling, 5x more likely to be suspended or expelled from school

As adults, many avoid intimacy because they fear abandonment, less likely to earn a good income and are more likely to get divorced themselves

What about the kids?

What can we do about divorce

Two-tiered system that would make it harder for parents to get a divorce

Make divorce counseling or courses mandatory before you can get a divorce

Increase public awareness using the radio, TV to encourage divorcing parents to cooperate in the best interest of their children

What can we do about divorce?

Offer more and better courses on how to have a good marriage

Intensive marriage education in high school

More people should have access to subsidized counseling through employee assistance plans

Divorce in canada

  • Few countries do not permit divorce

  • There are no written laws on divorce among Natives prior to European arrival

  • Between 1867 & 1968, the only effective ground for divorce was adultery

  • Canadian laws derived from English common law where a double law existed

  • Because divorce was difficult to obtain:

    • Some sought it in Mexico or USA

    • Some fabricated adultery

    • Some simply separated

Divorce in Canada

Divorce act 1968

  • Grounds included:

    • Addiction to drugs, alcohol

    • Desertion for not less than 5 years

    • Separation for not less than 3 years

    • Marital offence – adultery, physical, mental, cruelty

    • Divorce rate in Canada lower than in UK, USA

    • Median age for divorce has declined

    • Average length of marriage for those seeking divorce is 10.7 years - 1985

    • Rates are highest in Alberta & BC and lowest in NFLD & PEI

Divorce Act 1968

Divorce act 1985

Grounds included:

Mental or physical cruelty


Living separate for 1 year

Divorce Act 1985

Divorce facts

More than 30% of marriages end in divorce

The older you are when you marry the more likely you are stay married

Average age of males & females at the time of divorce was 39, 37

Federal law – must reside in province 1 year before filing

Can file immediately if adultery or abuse involved

Spousal support is based on level of income, length of marriage and is payable if, as a consequence of the divorce, there is an economic difference between parties – could be 5 year of lifetime depending on many factors

Must equalize assets that each party is receiving half

Divorce Facts

Impact of divorce on children

40% of children have a difficult time bouncing back – scarred, resentful

Gender & age of child are influencing factors

Children can’t take severe, prolonged conflict on a continuing basis

Children need to feel assurance that it’s not their fault

Boys are more prone to acting out, behavior problems

Girls typically turn inward with distrust, become overly dependent on male

Impact of Divorce on Children

Divorce is good for parents and bad for children – have to mourn and rebuild

Custody & access regulated by Children’s Law Reform Act

Children from divorced homes were lower in self-esteem, school performance, confidence in their future

As adults many avoid intimacy because they fear abandonment

Report low levels of satisfaction with leisure activities, friendship and family life

More likely to get divorced themselves