We were recently in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada interviewing happily and successfully married couples as we finalized the research for our new book, How to Marry the Right Guy. This research represented the continuation of a research project of ours that has spanned 32 years.
After spending just 72 hours in Halifax and environs we are struck with the beauty of the Canadian Maritime Provinces and friendliness of the people.
We fell in love in Canada on this trip. You can, of course, read that two ways. Those of you who have followed our writings and musings about love and successful marriage know that we fell in love with each other some 48 years ago. And it is true that we fall in love all over again each day of our lives together. But on this trip, we fell in love with Canada!
We sat in a wonderful seafood restaurant for dinner today overlooking the Halifax Harbor. The water is undeniably beautiful! Seeing the many boats and ships of all sizes pass effortlessly and relentlessly through the water of the Atlantic Ocean makes your mind drift back to the days of tall ships and the romance of the sea. The mist rolling through the harbor is, in many ways, more surreal than real. It has a mystical and magical look to it and almost felt dreamlike today as we admired it over a glass of delightful Nova Scotia Chardonnay from a nearby vineyard. And the seagulls were graceful and splendiferous as the squawked their way from granite outcropping to granite outcropping. Oh, yeah, there was definitely romance in the air in Halifax!
Secondly, the warmth and friendliness of the people is simply awesome. Everywhere we have gone so far – our hotel, the local seafood restaurant we visited today, the airport, the rental car kiosk, the back country store on the northern part of the island, the tall ship we sailed on, the service station – we are greeted by people who are polite, relaxed, good natured, humorous, and in love with life. We have been smitten by the Canadians! They are delightful and wonderful!
And the seafood here has been amazing. Just tonight, we ate at a nearby seafood restaurant with great food and even better service. Our waitress was Helen and she made our whole romantic meal even more romantic. She just turned 30. And she is in love! We darn near adopted her as our own!
Today we interviewed a delightful couple in Halifax and another in Bedford. Tomorrow we head northwest to a little town near the Bay of Fundy. Thursday, back to Bedford. We finish our interviews on Friday in Halifax. Here is what we have discovered so far—marriage is alive and well in Canada!
Several years ago, an article appeared on the front page of The Globe and Mail (called Canada’s “National Newspaper”) entitled “Canadians redefine the family.” With no offense to the editors of this newspaper, we thought their interpretations were among the most egregious misrepresentations of factual data we seen in our many years of “crunching numbers” about marriage. The article completely misrepresented and distorted the reality of the state of marriage in Canada and we are, frankly, quite perplexed about why a newspaper would so blatantly distort the data to the point of grossly misleading the country’s citizenry. There has to be an agenda and/or a political purpose. Let us explain why we believe Canada is still very much in love with marriage.
First of all, the couples with successful marriages we have interviewed on this trip mirror the results of our interviews in the USA and around the world that we have conducted over the past 32 years. And contrary to the conclusions in the newspaper article we referenced, Canadians still are engaging in traditional marriage in overwhelming numbers. Here are the facts—in 2001 a little over 70% of Canadian “families” were headed by married couples. In 2006, that figure still hovered near 69%. So-called “common law couples” represented 14% of “families” in 2001 and a little over 15% in 2006. We have found no credible evidence to suggest that these numbers are different today.
Now, here is where all this gets interesting. We have a saying in academia that we repeat often, “Statistics are for liars and damn liars.” The aforementioned newspaper chose to talk about the percentage growth in common law couples instead of the actual percentage of “families” headed by them implying that common law marriages were becoming more popular than traditional marriages. This is sort of like saying that there are more marriages in Montreal than there are in Halifax, so Montreal is more “marriage friendly” than Halifax. To conclude such is absurd! Montreal is a much larger city than Halifax with more than four times the population—of course they would be expected to have at least four times the number of marriages! The newspaper article we read committed the same misapplication of statistical data, and shame on them! ! Their logic is somewhat analogous to saying that an increase from 1 to 2 is a 200% increase while an increase of from 100 to 125 is a 25% increase; hence 2 is larger than 125!
Canadians should celebrate the fact that traditional marriage is still something that nearly 70% of “family structures” in their country mirror. To suggest otherwise is to mislead the public into believing something that is not true. Canada is still in love with marriage and no “playing around with the data” is going to change that.
Love and marriage are alive and well in Canada!
By Dr. Charles and Dr. Elizabeth Schmitz
America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts
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