New Pew survey reinforces Mormons' top goals of family, marriage
"There's nothing to suggest that family life is less valued in the United States over time," she said, "but there's more that suggests that people are feeling like it's not possible for them to attain that."
The pressure comes when a "successful" marriage is defined as having a good job, a hefty retirement account and a lovely home with a white picket fence, Cornwall said. So when people can't achieve that in today's tough economy, many feel like they've failed.
"For Mormons, there's a spiritual aspect brought to that (definition of success)," she said, "an effort, in terms of sermons, to try and downplay the material and place more emphasis on the relationships."
When the survey asked Mormons about working arrangements in families, nearly six out of 10 Mormons indicated they would prefer a marriage where the man works and the woman stays home to care for the home and the children.
LDS college graduates liked this marital structure more than any other subgroup, with 71 percent of them preferring the man to work and the woman to stay home.
In the general population, only 30 percent of Americans would prefer a marriage where the husband works and the wife stays home. Among religiously unaffiliated Americans, it drops to 15 percent who would pick such a scenario.
Almost four-in-10 Mormons would prefer that both parents work and both parents help with child rearing and housework.
For American Fork mom Ruth Ann Dupaix, 37, it's not a black-or-white decision. Throughout her marriage she has both worked and stayed at home.
"The way we look at it, we try to make it a partnership," Dupaix says. "It's more who's able at the time to do it best. It's working together, a give and take."
When she and her husband, Geoff, were first married, her job helped pay for his school. When he finished, she kept working because her employer would pay for her to complete her degree, and education was important to both of them.
Dupaix stopped working when her sixth child was born but has recently gone back to work at a local grocery store three nights a week to help fulfill a family goal to reduce their debt load.
It's a big pay cut from the job she used to have at a bank, but it's a more family-friendly schedule.
"As part of a family you make sacrifices," she said. "I'm gone when the kids are asleep, but I'm still here during the day when they need me."
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