The Generations Project: Baby boomers and marriage

Julie and Rob Banayote put their family first.
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INDIANAPOLIS - Saying "I do" has ended in divorce for many baby boomers. Boomers have been successful in the workplace, but many ended up struggling in their personal lives.

Boomers are the first generation to commonly have both parents working. Eyewitness News takes a look inside the boomer generation to see how they've changed views on marriage.

From the public eye to what happens behind closed doors, we see the lives of celebrity couples played out in the media. Baby boomers are defined by dramatic changes from marriage and family values to skyrocketing divorce rates. What played out in Hollywood was also happening in suburbia in homes around the country.

Kimble Richardson is a licensed mental health counselor who helps couples who are struggling in their relationships.

"Unfortunately the precedent has been set that divorce - even though it's not preferable - there's not a stigma attached to it anymore," said Richardson.

Generational expert Chuck Underwood says boomer men and women are career focused, and there's more pressure on couples, which led many families astray.

"As a result so many of them were time starved, absentee divorced parents and their Gen X children had to try to come of age in the midst of all that turmoil," said Underwood.

As boomers entered adulthood, they wrestled with dual careers - something that wasn't so widespread in older generations.

"The financial independence of boomer women makes you wonder how many women from the older generations, had they had the same career opportunities, would have left their own marriages," said Underwood.

New opportunities for boomers meant uncharted territory, and it was trial and error to find out how families would be affected. Some, like Julie and Rob Banayote, have pushed through to put their family first.

"Even on an off day I'd much rather spend it with her then most of my friends," said Rob.

"Our marriage is about being good friends and communicating and I think that's what gets us through each day," said Julie.

The couple's been married for 16 years, and work side by side at their photography business. This is Julie's second marriage. She and Rob raised her twin boys and are now parenting Anthony, their seventh grader.

"We're blessed given another round of parenthood," said Rob.

"It's good to give it a second shot," said Julie.

"I'm not sure if we're wiser, but we're making it through," said Rob.

Julie and Rob both came from divorced families. They say their parents set an example for them to follow.

"We were always put first. Whatever their differences were, we didn't really see them growing up. And knowing both of our parents now, we understood why they got a divorce," said Rob.

Like many boomers, juggling work and family life is a struggle...

'She's helped me with that balance, I think a lot," said Rob.

"I think so we balance each other out," said Julie.

That balance and the ability to communicate is how Julie and Rob keep their marriage going. They said nothing in marriage comes easy.

"I think too many people jump to divorce/ Besides trying to work it out and go to counseling they just divorce and don't put effort towards their marriage where they should," said Julie.

"Don't lose yourself, your identity. And again, when it gets rough you can't sulk. You look around. You pick yourself up and you move on. It's better than the alternative," said Rob.

Nearly 50 percent of marriages are now ending in divorce.

Baby boomers were the first generation to see the divorce rate skyrocket. What do you think? Is there a secret to staying married, or are we too quick to throw in the towel? Leave your comments below.

The Generations Project