Read these 34 Did You Know Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Marriage tips and hundreds of other topics.
Conflict is inevitable in a relationship. If conflict is used creatively, it can be a catalyst for growth in marriage. Couples and family members need to learn to communicate openly and to negotiate in good faith with each other, recognizing that each person is unique and that conflict is necessary and can help facilitate positive change.
Marriage is a sexual union. Marriage elevates sexual desire into a permanent sign of love, turning two lovers into “one flesh.” Marriage indicates not only a private but a public understanding that two people have withdrawn themselves from the sexual marketplace. This public vow of fidelity also makes men and women more likely to be faithful. Research shows, for example, that cohabiting men are four times more likely to cheat than husbands, and cohabiting women are eight times more likely to cheat than spouses.
(Reference: Tabulations by Linda J. Waite and Kara Joyner from the National Health and Social Life Survey. See Linda J. Waite and Maggie Gallagher, (in press) 2000. The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better-Off Financially (New York: Doubleday): See Chapter 6.)
Married love tends to be more utilitarian than the romantic love couples experience when dating. William Lederer and Don Jackson suggest that “spouses who have been married for more than three or four years rarely state spontaneously to an interviewer that they are in love with one another.” Instead of talking about feelings of love, these more experienced couples are more likely to talk about love in action: “He is honest, hard-working, and enjoys spending lots of time with the kids.” “She is well-respected in her work, and I can always count on her in a crisis.”
There are some good and bad reasons for marrying. Marriages based on good reasons are often the most satisfying. Good reasons to marry include:
1) sharing your life with someone else.
2) sharing love and intimacy
3) finding support in your partnership
4) having a good sexual relationship
5) sharing parenthood
Did you know that researchers have been able to observe newlyweds marital conflict discussion for three minutes and predict divorce? While this is interesting I find it more interesting in what the coders used to measure the conflict patterns. Below are the categorized affects that were displayed:
Five positive codes (interest, validation, affection, humor, joy), 10 negative affect codes (disgust, contempt, belligerence, domineering, anger, fear/tension, defensiveness, whining, sadness, stonewalling), and a neutral affect code.
I believe it is very interesting that 3 minutes into a conversation can be so predictive. However, in observing these communication patterns in couples I too have seen the negative patterns destroy marriages.
Recently, I was attending a local story telling festival and heard the following comment on marriage. If dating is blind, then marriage is a real eye opener. I thought that is a good description of marriage. I believe marriage should be an eye opener because it provides us with the opportunity to learn about ourself and another person in-depth.
Recently, I was reading about the benefits that marriage can have on individuals physical and mental health. A few statistics about the benefits of marriage are offered below.
a) The level of martial happiness is by far the strongest predictor of overall life satisfaction.
b) On the average, married men and women live longer and suffer fewer illnesses than do single men and women.
c) Men and women are at greater risk than average for being depressed if they do not have an intimate, confiding relationship.
Marriage can have so many benefits. Researchers are now finding that married individuals who are able to confide their personal thoughts to an accepting spouse will have improved functioning in the immune system whereas episodes of marital conflict result in diminished immune system functioning.
A good marriage is one of the best ways to have good long term health.
Many people falsely believe that marriage can solve feelings of loneliness. However, an unhappy marriage may, in fact, product loneliness. Lederer and Jackson two family scientists suggest, “Loneliness is better tolerated by those who live alone; they have no expectations and thus, no disappointments. Lonely people who live together have about the same chance of realizing their expectations as the host who insists that everybody have a good time at his party” (Lederer & Jackson, 1968—“The Mirages of Marriage.” New York: Norton).
Too many times I hear people say, if I could just get him/her to do this. Or our problems will go away if we can just get through this time. Through my experience as a therapist, I have come to believe that most people continue to have problems. So the biggest issue is how we solve the problems we have today. Therefore, I suggest that if we want to make our marriage work OR if we want to resolve other problems, we should make sure that we consider how OUR actions will impact our spouse and our family. In most cases it is important to include our spouse in any major decisions.
Our society often focuses on how our childhood impacts the rest of our lives. Fortunately, unhealthy childhood attachments can be replaced with good strong marriages. A recent study suggested that women who experience insecure attachments to their mothers during childhood are more apt to have insecure attachments with their own children, unless they marry men who have the capacity to attach securely to others (Lewis and Gossett, 1999).
One of the most difficult things to understand in marriage is having a depressed spouse. Many individuals feel responsible to make their spouse happy. However, in many instances depression is not caused by the marriage partner. In order to help someone who is depressed in a marriage it is important to take time to evaluate what you can and cannot do to help with the depression. Be supportive, but don't take it upon yourself to solve your spouses depression. That could make you depressed.
There are many reason that marriages fail. Below are the most common listed by women and men. Women report infidelity, drinking, abuse, lack of similar values as common reasons for marital problems and divorce. Men often report their wife's affair and their own actions as the most common reason for marital problems. It is interesting that men report their own misbehavior, whereas women say that it is their husbands actions. If you have some ideas why this is I would love to hear from you. You can do that by emailing me a question.
Marriage is a personal bond. Marriage is the ultimate avowal of caring, committed, and collaborative love. Marriage incorporates our desire to know and be known by another human being; it represents our dearest hopes that love is not a temporary condition, that we are not condemned to drift in and out of shifting relationships forever.
There is growing evidence that couples who cohabit have more struggles than those who are married. Researchers have postulated that couples who cohabit may be less religious, more prone to argue, receive increased pressure to marry by society, and the list goes on. Regardless of the reason researchers have found that those who cohabit prior to marriage are more likely to divorce than couples who do not cohabit prior to marriage. Furthermore, couples who cohabit without marrying are less satisfied than couples who marry over time. If you have any explanations I would like to hear them.
Some people hold to cultural stereotypes about the sexes: that women are more emotional than men, men are more skillful with tools, women are more intuitive than men, and men are more sexual than women. These beliefs inhibit communication and intimacy by emphasizing differences rather than similarities.
Marriage is a sacred promise. Even people who are not part of any organized religion usually see marriage as a sacred union, with profound spiritual implications. “Whether it is the deep metaphors of covenant as in Judaism, Islam and Reformed Protestantism; sacrament as in Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy; the yin and yang of Confucianism; the quasi-sacramentalism of Hinduism; or the mysticism often associated with allegedly modern romantic love,” Don Browning writes, “humans tend to find values in marriage that call them beyond the mundane and everyday.” Religious faith helps to deepen the meaning of marriage and provides a unique fountainhead of inspiration and support when troubles arise.
When people misbehave many of us focus on the misbehavior. However, I believe we would be more productive if we dealt with the beliefs that lead to the misbehavior. Our beliefs are powerful as they are the authorizers of our actions or behaviors. Below are a few beliefs that can help and hurt your relationships.
a) I should always treat my spouse with respect.
b) I should be faithful to my spouse no matter what.
c) I should be kind and considerate of my spouse.
d) I should expect to be treated with respect and my spouse should expect that I treat him/her good.
e) Marriage is a commitment that should last a lifetime and I will do everything I can to make it work.
a) My spouse should do anything I want him/her to do.
b) If my spouse really loved me, he/she wouldn't disagree with me.
c) If we fight too much we can always get a divorce.
d) As long as I am not hurting myself, my spouse shouldn't care what I do.
e) I should be able to criticize my spouse.
These are just a few of the helpful and hurtful beliefs that some individuals have. I would invite you to analyze your beliefs and see how they are impacting your marriage.
Romance, which many spouses mistake for love, is not necessary for a good marriage. A more genuine kind of mature love helps ensure a good marriage: “When satisfaction or security exists, then a more deep state of love exists” (Lederer & Jackson, 1968). Marital love is devotion to and respect for one's spouse equal to one's own self-love.
Lederer & Jackson, 1968—“The Mirages of Marriage.” New York: Norton).
Family therapists and researchers generally agree that having children can test even a stable marriage because the couple invests so much time in rearing the children at the expense of their marriage. Some people try to “save” their marriages by having children, but this seldom works.
You come home from work, throw a frozen pizza in the microwave, pull out a ginger ale, turn on the evening news and wait for the next day to come. Perhaps on the weekend you go play a round of golf with some buddies or you go shopping with your friends. Ah, life without a family. NO stress...no worries about getting children to school, no after school ballgames, no one to complain about you being home late, no one to remind you that the front lawn looks like a forest rather than a place where people live. Think of all the things you would miss. Here is my short list:
a) The crying kids who want your hug to comfort them.
b) The runny noses that get all over your clothes and identify you as a dad or mom.
c) The ball games that get you out of work early enough to remember that the sun still does come out and the smile on your child's face when you pull up.
d) The spouse who really does care and love you even though he/she doesn't say it all the time.
e) A kind word after a bad day.
Dang! Maybe marriage isn't so bad after all.
People need loving the most when they deserve it the least (John Harrigan).
The first duty of love is to listen (Paul Tillich).
If your mind isn't open, keep your mouth shut too (Sue Grafton).
Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being (Goethe)
Have you seen the most recent statistics on marriage and families in the United States? Over the past decade nuclear families (meaning mom and dad with a child under 18 living at home) have decreased from roughly 25.5% to just over 23.5% of families. This means that the rest of ALL households are single people, single parents, couples cohabiting, etc. While the difference between 25.5% to 23.5% may not seem too big, remember this is a ten year time frame. Lets look at the numbers. If we had 100 households two less families would be together today in comparison to 1990. Now instead of 100 households lets make it 1,000,000.00 households. That would equate to an increase of 20,000 households over 10 years that are not the traditional mom, dad, and child make up. Does this concern you? It does concern me. I believe that our society is only as strong as our marriages and our families.
While there are lots of reasons for the decrease in nuclear families, we must learn how to strengthen families in an effort to combat the demise of the family. For more information on how I believe we can strengthen our marriages you can read my previous newsletters or tips on "Save Your Marriage"
There are three faithful friends--an old wife, an old dog, and ready money. (Benjamin Franklin)
Certainly there are lots of things in life that money won't buy, but it's very funny--Have you ever tried to buy them without money? (Ogden Nash)
Lack of money is the root of all evil. (George Bernard Shaw)
Marriage is a financial partnership. In marriage, “my money” typically becomes “our money,” and this sharing of property creates its own kind of intimacy and mutuality that is difficult to achieve outside a legal marriage. Only lovers who make this legal vow typically acquire the confidence that allows them to share their bank accounts as well as their bed.
Marriage is defined in Websters 1991 dictionary in the following way: 1)the social institution under which a man and woman live as husband and wife by legal or religious commitments. 2) the state, condition, or relationship of being married. 3) the legal or religious ceremony that formalizes marriage. 4) an intimate living arrangement without legal sanction. 5) any intimate association or union. 6) a blending of different elements or components.
Are you looking for a way to support marriages and strengthen them? If you are, you should be aware that there is a recent movement by three large organizations—these organizations got together in the Summer of 2000 and wrote a document called “The Marriage Movement.” You can find out more information about this document on the following site www.themarriagemovement.com. This site needs more signatures for support. If you read the document and like what you read you can sign the document and pass it on friends and family.
Marriage is a family-making bond. Marriage takes two biological strangers and turns them into each other's next-of-kin. As a procreative bond, marriage also includes a commitment to care for any children produced by the married couple. It reinforces fathers' (and fathers' kin's) obligations to acknowledge children as part of the family system.
Did you know that 90%-95% of all Americans will marry at some time during their life? In 1999 about 2 million 300 thousand Americans married according to National Center for Health Statistics (Sept. 6, 2000). Have you ever wondered why marriage is so common? I believe the reason has to do with human connection. Marriage provides us with a great opportunity to connect with someone else in a way that doesn't occur with anyone else.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|