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This page is where I put interesting things regarding marriage I have run across. It is not based on any extensive review of marriage advice.

For Better by Tara Parker-Pope lists some characteristics for success/failure of marriages:

  • Five small positive interactions (touching, smiling, paying a compliment) for every negative one (sneering, eye rolling, withdrawal)
  • How you treat your partner during the first three minutes of a fight determines whether the argument will be good or bad for your marriage
  • Snoring and other sleep problems can contribute enormously to marital unhappiness.
  • Almost without exception, men and women say they value monogamy in relationships.
  • It's really not about different male or female objectives for marriage, it's about who has the power in the relationship. If you don't recognize that it's a power struggle then you're never going to get an even playing field.


One Christian friend who had done a fair amount of marriage counseling told me that marriage counseling does not have a good record. 75-80% of couples still get divorced.
See WARNING: Marriage Counselors Do More HARM Than Good Unless You Know... at marriage-success-secrets.com.

He said the biggest marriage issue is a focus on problems. Even working on solutions is still aimed at the problem.
It is important to pick your battles in a marriage. Ask yourself which problems are really important.
Start looking for positives in your spouse.
See "Make the best aspects of your marriage shine" at StormyBrain.hubpages.com

In "The Four Loves of a Successful Marriage: A Marriage Guide", Keith Brown, a Presbyterian pastor who has led many marriage enrichment seminars and counselled hundreds of couples, says,

"I've become convinced that it takes four kinds of love to build a successful marriage.
I first learned of these four loves when reading C. S. Lewis' book, The Four Loves. Lewis tells of four Greek words known to the people of Jesus' day: philia, storge, eros and agape, each illustrating a different kind of love. Philia is the Greek word for the love of friendship; storge is the word that defines attentive, caring love; eros describes romantic love; and agape, in my view, illustrates the most important of the four loves the commitment of unconditional love."

I heard an interview with John Gottman, author of many marriage books including ("The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work : A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert", 1988) which prompted me to google some of the topics he discussed.

Gottman's studies showed that all couples argue and get angry with each other. Successful couples did not put their partners on the defensive and moved toward resolution rather than escalation in an argument.

See:
Creating a Strong and Satisfying Marriage missouri.edu
Helping Couples Negotiate Work/Life Balance

Is Marriage Good for Your Health? - NYTimes.com April 18, 2010
Smalley Marriages by Dr. Greg & Erin Smalley
The 5 Love Languages web site ( Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.) by marriage counselor Gary Chapman

Divorce rates:

  • Divorce rates peaked in the 1970s and has been going down ever since.
  • The 20-year divorce rate for couples who got married in the 1980s is actually around 19 percent.
  • Couples married in the 1970s have a 30-year divorce rate of about 47 percent.
See Divorce Stats.
The health - marriage connection:
In 1858 a British epidemiologist named William Farr did a sutdy called the "conjugal condition" of the people in France and found that the unmarried died from disease in undue proportion to their married counterparts. Of course correlation doesn't imply cause and effect. Unhealthy people may be less likely to get married.
However current studies have found the same thing. In 2009 the Journal of Health and Social Behavior published a study which grew out of work by researchers at the University of Chicago. It not only found that married people were healthier, but people who had been single their entire lives were healthier than people who were married and divorced or widowed.

As a widower who is healthier than most of my friends my age, I think these studies are all flawed. Many men rely on their wives to prepare healthy meals, and when left alone resort to junk food and an unhealthy lifestyle. As long as you take care of yourself and maintain social relationships thru organizations, friends, church, ... I think single people can be as healthy as their married counterparts.

See: Is Marriage Good, NY Times April 18, 2010


Esther Perel author of the 2006 best seller Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, says,
"In order for couples to remain interested in one another, they require distance, transgression, surprise, and play. We must be able to stand back from our partners, to view them as separate, mysterious people, for them to remain objects of our desire." She poses some interesting questions like "can desire be sustained over the long haul?" and "does intimacy make for a satisfying sexual relationship?"
See her TED Talk
Books:
"For Better": The science of marital unhappiness, by Tara Parker-Pope
Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, Esther Perel

Links:
Love
Divorce Rates and religion
Unmarried Women having Children
Divorce Stats
Parenthood
Lasting Relationships Rely On 2 Traits - Business Insider

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last updated 4 Jun 2010