1. 41 percent of first marriages end in
divorce. 60 percent of second marriages end in divorce. 73 percent of third
marriages end in divorce.[i]
Photo Credit: babble.com
2. In 2009, from the eastern United States
to the western, 46,291 couples married in New Jersey, while 23,978 divorced; in
my home state of Missouri, 39,797 married and 23,299 divorced; and Washington
State performed 40,357 marriage ceremonies and certified 26,251 divorces. In
all, approximately 2.1 million couples were married during 2009, while states
certified about 1.1 million divorces.[ii]
3. Marriage rate: 6.8 per 1,000 total
population; the Divorce rate: 3.6 per 1,000 population (44 reporting States and
average marriage now lasts just over 11 years.[iv]
average length of a marriage that ends in divorce is eight years.[v]
Photo Credit: Mirror UK
6. Only 45% of African American households
contain a married couple, compared to 80% for Whites, and 70% among Hispanics.[vi]
7. People are getting married later in
life. The median age of those married
for the first time is currently 28.3 for men and 25.8 for women. Compare this to the numbers from 1960, when
the median age was 23 for men and 20 for women.[vii]
8. Of first marriages that end in divorce,
many end in the first 3 to 5 years.[viii]
9. Living together prior to getting
married can increase the chance of getting divorced by as much as 40 percent.[ix]
10. Asian-Americans have the highest
percentage of marriage (65 % versus 61% for whites) and the lowest percentage
of divorce (4% versus 10.5% for whites).[x]
your parents are happily married, your risk of divorce decreases by 14 percent.[xi]
12. Both men and women have higher life
expectancies when married than those who are single or divorced.[xii]
Photo Credit: Chris Cornell News
13. The United States has the highest
incidence of divorce in the free world.[xiii]
When I started to read Artis Henderson’s Un-Remarried Widow, I’d assumed I was
reading a work of fiction. Intrigued by the title, I’d grabbed the galley at
the Book Expo of American (BEA) a few weeks back almost as an afterthought. There
wasn’t much information to preview, but the title somehow drew me in. As I
continued with the interesting and easy to read narrative, I was awestruck by the
too-real-to-be-fiction account of five year old A.J., her flight with her
father in his single-engine Piper Cub, the plane’s mechanical failure during flight, and the crash landing. A.J. survived, but the aftermath for A.J. and for her mother was daunting.
As the pages continued to turn, the author
later referred to the main character no longer as A.J., but as Artis. It was
then that I realized Un-Remarried Widow
wasn’t fiction or autobiographical fiction, but a memoir. (Actually, the book’s
title is, in fact, Un-Remarried Widow: A
Memoir, but in my defense, the words, “a memoir,” are written very, very
Anyway, the phrase, un-remarried widow (URW)
is a military designation for the wives of soldiers who are killed in action. Un-Remarried Widow is Artis Henderson’s heartbreaking tale
of her romance with a Miles, a pilot just like dear old dad, Miles’s deployment
to the Middle East, his death, and Artis’s life after the loss. It’s a pretty
While Henderson’s writing contributes to the
ease by which the pages turn, her story is the attraction. Henderson
begins in 2004 before she met Miles as she speaks to "Psychic Suzanna" in
Tallahassee, Florida. As psychics are (apparently) apt to do, Suzanna predicts
with astonishing accuracy the unlikely path that Artis’s will take. From there,
Henderson takes the reader on a journey through time. She travels back to her father’s death two
decades earlier in the Piper Cub crash and back to the first decade of the of the millennium when
Artis and Miles marry, Miles is deployed to the Middle East and is killed when the Apache helicopter he
piloted crashes during a sand storm. Throughout, Henderson skillfully examines the ironies
and parallels that occur in life, the devastating void left by the death of a
loved one, and the ways that those who remain behind learn to cope.
While this is The Single Father’s
Guide Blog, my instinct to pick up a copy of Un-Remarried Widow at BEA was a good one. The military aspect of
the story appeals to men, while the romantic side will interest female readers.
Particularly helpful for anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one is
Henderson’s description of coming to terms with Miles’s death and the decisions
she made to create for herself a happy, fulfilled, and productive life.
ends as it began, with Henderson speaking to a psychic about her future. Just
as she did when her life as a young adult was filled with promise and hope, she
is once again at a starting point in her life. Henderson’s a little older and
she’s a little wiser. She still holds her love for Miles with her, but she is
once again encouraged by the prospect a new beginning.
will be available in stores in January 2014. I’ll be more than a little surprised
if this not the choice for more than one high-profile book club and on several bestseller lists. PRE-ORDER Un-Remarried Widow: A Memoir HERE!
This installment of The Favorite Son Saga is an oldie, but a goodie.
More a policy than a rule in our family is my belief that we use the actual name of whatever it may be that we're discussing. For example, if my son wanted to know what it was I was using to turn the soil in the garden, I would tell him, "I'm using a shovel." Or, after I boiled pasta for dinner and my daughter wondered what it was I used to drain the water, I'd answer, "That's a colander." At the very least, I reason, using the correct words for things improves vocabulary. I also reason it would discourage potentially embarrassing uses of slang.
My policy also extends to anatomy. At a very early age, all of my children knew where to find their uvulas were, mostly because I like to say, uvula. Considering TFS and I share the same gender, he has known for a long time that the thing that hangs between his legs is called a "penis."
By now, readers of The Favorite Son Saga know that TSF is the curious sort. Shortly after he started kindergarten, he asked me if girls have penises. There is a great deal about the fairer gender that I don't yet understand, but one thing about which I'm certain is that girls don't have penises. I explained that girls have a vagina. Neither of us made any big production of the new word and he accepted this new bit of information in stride.
Later that week, as it happened, I had a previously scheduled conference with TFS's teacher, Sue Bonetti, who is a quality and an experienced teacher. I'd already had established a good relationship with Sue years earlier when she taught The Second Beautiful Daughter's kindergarten class. So, at this meeting I sensed that Sue had something difficult to discuss with me.
"So, how is (TFS) doing?" I asked Sue as I sat down.
"Really good. He's a fun kid, but there's something I think we need to discuss first," Sue cautioned.
"Okay," I answered warily.
Sue began, "As you know, we just started the alphabet. We're learning on the letter B. I had all of the kids on the rug and asked the class if one could tell me a word that started with a B. (TFS's) hand shot straight up and I called on him. He said, 'I know a word that starts with B. Buh-gina!"
I couldn't help but laugh, but I could clearly see that Sue was concerned. I wondered if Sue had imagined that our dinner table talk revolved around a discussion of genitalia. When I explained my "Call-It-By-Name" policy, she was greatly relieved.
So much for discouraging potentially embarrassing uses of slang.