The survey results are in. And they are interesting. A few weeks ago I wrote about a survey in the Utah Journal which asked if married people would marry the same spouse again. Of their respondents, about 60 percent said "yes" and 40 percent said "no." I stated that 60 percent may be a little low for those answering "yes" and suggested we do our own survey in this column.
I invited readers to respond to the following question: "Knowing what you now know, would you marry the same person again?" One hundred forty-eight of you (131 women, 17 men) responded. What were the results? Ninety-three (80 women and 13 men), or 63 percent, wrote and said "yes," they would. Fifty-five (51 women and 4 men), or 37 percent, said "no," they would not. From this survey, any of the following observations might be made:1. The survey results are accurate and suggest trends reflected in the Utah Journal Survey a few weeks ago.
2. The survey was not scientific and the respondents were not representative of the readership at large.
3. The same people responded to this survey that responded earlier to the Utah Journal Survey.
4. Very few men read this column.
5. Men read this column but do not respond to invitations to write to newspaper columnists.
6. The vast majority of people who read this column are women.
7. Women are more prone to respond to newspaper surveys than are men.
8. People who are dissatisfied with their marriage are more likely to respond to surveys such as this than are couples who are happily married.
9. The majority of married people are happy with their marriage and find it enjoyable and satisfactory.
10. There is a rather large segment of married women who are unhappy and/or highly frustrated with their marriage.
If I had to conclude anything from this survey, I would choose items No. 9 and No. 10.
As I read over the 148 letters, I was impressed with two themes that seemed to be repeated. Many who wrote and responded "yes" indicated that their marriage had not been without struggles and difficulties. Yet their commitment to each other, often based on religious values, helped them survive the turbulent times.
Others, mostly women, who wrote and responded "no" indicated that the gradual erosion of their marital satisfaction had occurred over a number of years. Although a few of the wives indicated both physical or emotional abuse, the vast majority of women noted that neglect of the relationship during the years was a major contributing factor.
Many husbands do not think of themselves as wife-abusers. Yet a significant number of men are apparently wife-neglecters. Abuse is more noticeable and abrupt. Neglect is less observable and occurs over time. Yet the end results are the same.
Even though my survey was not scientific, it does suggest a sizable number of people stay married but are disenchanted with the relationship. A more scientific and reliable survey would be interesting. Dan Jones and Associates, where are you when needed?
If you have comments or insights about the survey results, please write to me at the Hartford Building, 3355 N. University Ave., Suite 275, Provo, UT 84604. I will making further comments about the survey results in future columns.