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Value of Marriage: How Teens Feel About Real World Issues

How Do Teens Feel About Marriage?55% of teens find a positive value in marriage...which means many don't.

Here you'll find StageofLife.com's summary report on teens' attitudes toward "marriage," compiled from the data, insights and essays shared by students in high school and college participating in StageofLife.com's proprietary student writing contest series.

Additionally, below is a collection of over 80 of the essays from high school and college students as they answered the writing contest writing prompt..."What is the value of marriage?"


Student Reach:

Over 4,520 students from all 50 US states and dozens of countries visited the StageofLife.com writing contest page during the month of essay contest (Feb. 2011), and scores of high school and college students submitted their thoughts about marriage via their 500 word essay.  From the essay submissions, five themes/trends emerged:

Trends:

1.Religion: Religion played a huge role in many of the essays. Students used religion—mostly Christianity—to describe the importance of the sacrament of matrimony.

2.Parents: Students’ parents’ marriages affected how these students viewed marriage: if the parents’ marriage was successful, then the student viewed marriage positively; if not, then the students often resented marriage.

3. Marriage definitions: Most students summed up marriage using the same, or similar, words—that marriage involves both love and commitment. These two values were detrimental in defining a successful marriage.

4. Reality strikes: Many students wrote about the “reality” of marriage as much as they wrote about the idealism and romanticism of marriage. These students understand the commitment involved in marriage—not one student wrote about the positivity of divorce.

5.  Marriage is serious:  Whether positive or negative in tone, almost all of the students agreed on one thing - marriage is serious.

Data: 

Of the high school and college students participating in the essay contest...

  • 55% had a positive view of marriage (see below essay samples)
  • 28% had a negative view of marriage (see below essay samples)
  • 17% had a neutral or took an unbiased approach to the topic (see below essay samples)

The Essays: 

    Immediately below, you'll find featured links to the StageofLife.com winning essay, our semi-finalists and over 80 other essays from teenagers that answer the question, "What is the value of marriage?"

    Please take a few moments to read an essay or two. 

    If you have the time, make a comment on the responses you enjoyed the most.  We know the student writers will love hearing your positive input (they'll get an email notifying them if you comment on their contest entry).


    Student Writing Contest Winner


    Winners (2 this month):



    High School Finalists:

    College Finalists:

    Aside from the finalists, we had a wide variety of passionate teen essays about the topic of marriage.  We've categorized the essay responses into three buckets (in no particular order):

    How do teens feel about marriage?

    Positive View of Marriage

    1. Marriage: I Gotta Watch You Get Old? (Marriage is how God binds us to Him forever)

    2. Marriage: Something ‘More’ (Marry someone you love—who loves you just as much)

    3. Marriage: You’re Stuck With Me (She wonders why anyone would question the value of marriage)

    4. Marriage: Values are Slowly Slipping (Marriage is sacred—but Americans don’t realize that)

    5. Marriage: The Adhesive That Loses Stickiness (This writer wants to find someone to love her forever)

    6. Marriage: The Reminder (Love is the most important value in our life)

    7. Marriage: It’s Priceless (Marriage should make you feel like the luckiest person in the world)

    8. Marriage: The Unit of Humanity (Marriage is a blessing from God)

    9. Marriage: What Does God Say? (Marriage is not a snap decision)

    10. Marriage: ROTFLOL (Technology should not replace “organic” love)

    11. Marriage: Together Forever (Two people should not live together before they are married)

    12. Marriage: A Prepared Couple Can Make It (Marriage is a huge responsibility)

    13. Marriage: How I Won the Genetic Lottery (Marriage is about patience and love)

    14. Marriage: Here Lies the Key to a Life with No Regrets (Marriage strengthens people)

    15. LATE—Marriage: Maybe Arranged is Better (This writer comes from a long line of successful arranged marriages)

    16. Marriage: The Viaduct to Sempiternal Bliss (Marriage can help two people grow as individuals)

    17. What Is the Value of Marriage? (This writer believes marriage is about companionship and commitment)

    18. Marriage: My Opinion (Marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman)

    19. Marriage: A Doubtless Forever (Marriage should be a doubtless decision)

    20. Marriage: The Wedding Words (Marriage is both a promise, and a journey)

    21. Marriage: My Prince Will One Day Come (This writer looks forward to marriage)

    22. Marriage: Disney’s Designated Future (Marriage has both charming and practical factors)

    23. Marriage: My Views (Marriage is a commitment—and it involves sacrifice)

    24. Marriage: A Brief Essay (Love is the value of marriage)

    25. Marriage: Marriage and Its Values (Marriage is very valuable)

    26. Marriage: The Real Thing and Why It’s Great (Marriage ties two people together—and must be taken seriously)

    27. Marriage: The Commitment (Marriage is the eternal union of two people who love each other)

    28. Marriage: More Than Just the Title Husband and Wife (Marriage is the promise of loving each other and protecting each other forever)

    29. Marriage: The Most Loyal and Sacred Form of Love (Marriage is the best sign of love)

    30. Marriage: A Sacred Stage (Marriage means spending your life with one person)

    31. Marriage: Let Me Keep My Childhood Dream (Marriage is a risk worth taking)

    32. Marriage: A Perfect Design (Marriage must not deviate from God’s plan)

    33. Marriage: A Commitment to Keeping a Promise (Marriage is a promise to love each other for a really long time)

    34. Marriage: Becoming One (Marriage is love—and an experience)

    35. Marriage: An Underrated Blessing (Everyone should appreciate marriage more)

    36. Marriage: Lawful Best Friendship (This writer doesn’t want a Hallmark-induced type marriage)

    37. Marriage: Sure, Why Not? (Marriage is an enjoyable life opportunity)

    38. Marriage: An Idea of the Past? (Marriage is an important sacrament that needs reviving)

    39. Marriage: True Unification (Marriage is a great investment to make towards your future)

    40. Marriage: An Act of Promise (A successful marriage means keeping the promises you make at the altar)

    41. Marriage: What are its Values to You? (Marriage is, simply put, about love)

    42. Marriage: It Only Works With the Perfect Person (This writer is waiting for the “perfect” person before she marries)

    43. Marriage: The Greatest Joy (This writer’s parents taught her the values of a good marriage)

    44. What is the value of marriage? (This writer thinks it is a good idea to live together before you are married, to make sure the person you are with is the right person)

    45. Marriage: A Fairytale I Hope Comes True (This writer hopes marriage is like a fairytale)

    46. Marriage: Loving Each Other (A story about the writer’s friend—who after becoming pregnant and broke, met the guy of her dreams)

    Negative View of Marriage

    1. Marriage: Isn’t What It’s Cracked Up to Be (People need to take marriage more seriously than they do)

    2. Marriage: A Right or a Privilege? (Homosexuals are discriminated against because they are not allowed to marry)

    3. Marriage? (Don’t get married because it might not last)

    4. Marriage: The Highway Leading to Hell? (Love does not solve everything)

    5. Marriage: Thinking Beyond the Vows (This writer’s parent’s divorce has left her feeling jaded)

    6. Marriage: Overrated, and Yet Something Beautiful (This writer thinks that people do not understand the true meaning of marriage)

    7. Marriage: Cause Love’s Such an Old Fashioned Word (Marriage is about being accepted by society)

    8. Marriage: To Each His or Her Own (Marriage seems like having another parent)

    9. Marriage: The Aftermath (A narrative about how a woman must take care of her ex’s dog)

    10. Marriage: The Hidden Truth (Marriage can be very intense and hurtful)

    11. Marriage: Call Me Romantic… (Marriage is no longer a sacred bond)

    12. Marriage: Only A Label (Two people don’t have to be married to stay together forever)

    13. Marriage: Nothing Lasts Forever (A poem about her father leaving her mother)

    14. Marriage: Probably Not For Me (People should focus on “self love” and independence)

    15. Marriage: An Illusion, But Who’s It Fooling? (A prose piece about a mother leaving her husband and children)

    16. Marriage: A Lost Cause? (This writer questions whether or not any marriage can make it)

    17. Marriage: It’s Not Worth It! (A prose piece about the negative effects of some marriages)

    18. Marriage: Not Even An Option (This writer’s parents’ negative relationship has adversely affected her life)

    19. Marriage: Key to Success! (A marriage’s success depends on how much you value marriage)

    20. Marriage: Why Are Rights Restricted? (This writer questions why gay marriage is outlawed in most states)

    21. Marriage: My Rules (This writer will only get married if her potential spouse passes her rules)

    22. Marriage: No Way Jose (Marriage is illogical and pointless)

    23. Marriage: Stay Strong (Marriage is “hard labor”—but it can also be rewarding)

    Neutral View of Marriage

    1. Marriage: Do I or Don’t I? (This writer is not sure whether or not she wants to get married)

    2. Marriage: A Word (Marriage is a word for two people in love)

    3. Marriage: For Some But Not For All (Marriage may work well for some people, but not for everyone)

    4. Marriage: A Legal Binding (Marriage is legal work; love is binding)

    5. Marriage: Imagine Them Ugly, and the Time You Can Endure (When you marry someone, make sure you know what you are doing)

    6. Marriage: Something to be Thought About (Marriage is what you make of it)

    7. Marriage: The Idea (A person shouldn’t rush into marriage)

    8. Marriage: A Fairytale Ending (Marriage means different things to different people)

    9. What is the Value of Marriage? (Marriage is a must for a country’s success)

    10. Marriage: Can anyone really define it? (Marriage has no formal meaning)

    11. Marriage: Worthwhile or Worthless? (This writer cannot define the value of marriage, because so many people view marriage differently)

    12. Marriage: Do I Need It? (This writer is open to the idea of marriage, but not committed to it)

    13. Marriage: It’s for sum. (This writer isn’t deciding on marriage until she is older)

    14. Marriage: Soul Mate Wanted (A person should marry their soul mate)


    Last Words:  We could not list all of the essays submitted for this contest, but we thank every student that participated in the conversation about marriage.  To enter the current Stage of Life monthly writing contest for high school students and college students:

     

    Stage of Life - Student Writing Contest Press Release

    55% of Teenagers View Marriage Positively - Which Means Many Don't

    YORK, Pa., March 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the wedding season kicking off in mid-spring,StageofLife.com—a resource and  blogging website for high school students, Baby Boomers, and every life stage in between—asked its teen and college visitors, "What is the value of marriage?" This question is part of StageofLife.com's ongoing monthlyblogging contest series.

    (Logo: https://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100929/DC73342LOGO)

    Over 4,520 students from all 50 US states visited the marriage writing contest page.  From those who submitted a blog entry to StageofLife.com on the topic, 55% of the teenagers shared a positive view about marriage, 28% had a negative view, and 17% took a neutral, unbiased, or more academic approach.  In less than 30 days, over 41,500 words were uploaded to StageofLife.com as students shared their opinions and feelings about marriage.

    The winning college student essay, You're Stuck With Me, came from Kaleigh Somers, a Creative Writing minor at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.  When asked why she submitted an essay, Somers explained, "As soon as I read the contest description, I had this strong visceral reaction to it. I knew that I wanted to remind people that college students haven't lost sight in marriage. Some of us, myself included, still believe in the sanctity of marriage. Writing it out was the best method to express that."

    Outside of the positive or negative emotional reaction, five common themes/trends about marriage emerged from the scores of essays written by high school and college students:

    1.  Religion:  Students used religion—mostly Christianity—to describe the importance of the sacrament of matrimony.  However, some students took an anti-religious tone.  

    York College of Pennsylvania junior Michelle Pease confessed in her essay, A Word, "I don't care much for the religious undertones in the word marriage. Words don't belong to certain groups of people, and so there is no reason for the religious to "triumph" the non-religious in the gay marriage debate."

    2.  Parents:  Students' parents' marriages affected how these students viewed marriage.  If the parents' marriage was successful, then the student viewed marriage positively; if not, then the students often resented marriage.  

    StageofLife.com blogger purpleoveralls broke away from this trend in the winning high school essay, Let me keep my childhood dream.  She wrote, "I know from personal experience the effect divorce has on children, and I would never put my own child through that misery. But instead of giving up on marriage...I will take the risk because I'm a fighter. I will get married, stay married, and raise my children with the one thing I lacked: the assurance that yes, marriages do last."

    3. Marriage definitions:  Most students summed up marriage using the same, or similar, words—that marriage involves both love and commitment.  These two values were also detrimental in defining a successful marriage.  

    High school contest finalist luvsleepcandy wrote in her essay, Key to Success, "Ever since I've been able to hold comprehensible conversations, my mom has drilled into my head: 'Don't ever rush into marriage. A good marriage ALWAYS needs a strong foundation, and it can't be built entirely on love alone. Successful marriages can only happen when a couple is compatible; the husband and wife's personalities balance each other out.'"

    4. Reality strikes:  Many students wrote about the "reality" of marriage as much as they wrote about the idealism and romanticism of marriage. These students understand the commitment involved in marriage.  Not one student wrote about the positivity of divorce.  

    Maddie Ann Cramer, a 10th grader in the International Baccalaureate program at Lakewood High School in Lakewood, CO, busted Disney's bubble in her essay, Stay Strong, when she wrote, "When picturing marriage, every little girl imagines the sensational Cinderella reunited with the glittery, but obviously uncomfortable glass slipper. She is gliding down the palace steps, arm in arm with the preppiest prince the kingdom had ever seen. She is escorted into a bedazzled carriage that disappears into the sunset with a staged kiss. But the little girl does not know that as soon as the curtain falls, Cinderella pushes our Preppy Prince off, wipes her lips, and demands to know why his breath smells like rotten tuna."

    5.  Marriage is Serious:  The majority of the essays submitted all revolved around one common thread: marriage is serious.  

    Dozens of students echoed one student's thoughts: Desiree van Arkens, a graduate from Horizon Honors High School, wrote in her essay, I Gotta Watch You Get Old?, "The value of marriage is decreasing rapidly in society today unfortunately, but if everyone knew the deeper meaning of marriage, I believe more couples would remain married."

    StageofLife.com organized a summary page from its findings on the "Value of Marriage" writing contest, which features links to more than 80 of the teen StageofLife.com essays on marriage at http://www.stageoflife.com/marriage.aspx.  

    For the March writing contest, StageofLife.com asks its student bloggers, "What form of media impacts your life the most, and why?"  Students have until Midnight (PDT) on March 31, 2011 to submit their 500 word essay.  Winners receive a gift card or cash prizes from national sponsors, along with swag from StageofLife.com.

    Previous StageofLife.com teen writing prompts addressed topics such as teens and stressteens and moneyteens and herosteens and education, and more.

    About Stage of Life®:  StageofLife.com is a free, non-partisan, grassroots online community that hosts blogs, information, and resources for teens, Millennials/Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomer generations.  Its specialized content allows users to share and archive their life stories. StageofLife.com includes free lesson plans and writing prompts for Language Arts teachers, monthly writing contests for high school students and college students, blogging resources, a platform that helps people promote their blogs, teen white papers, custom news feeds for each stage of life, and My Life Rewards, an area dedicated to providing relevant coupons and discounts exclusively geared towards each stage of life.

    If you'd like more information about StageofLife.com or an interview with CEO/Founder Eric Thiegs, please call (717) 244-0006, or use the Contact Us form on the website.  You may also contact PR/Marketing Coordinator Megan Colyer at (717) 654-9554 or megan.colyer(at)stageoflife.com.

    SOURCE StageofLife.com

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