Oct 302013 3 Responses

It’s Happening Everywhere

It can be overwhelming at times.

It can feel as though marriages everywhere are falling apart:

  • A couple at church is divorcing
  • A co-worker is struggling
  • A sibling is trying to adjust to life on their own

At times it can seem every marriage is a bad marriage.

But this is a deception.

While some marriages are dissolving and others are wasting away from apathy, there are many men and women who are working hard at building a better marriage.

  • Some have understood from the beginning the importance of always working at marriage.
  • Some have awoken from a time of apathy and are discovering anew the value of a vibrant marriage.
  • Some are overcoming horrible mistakes but are sticking together to work it out.

No matter the situation, many people have a meaningful marriage which is a place to which they can go to find peace, joy, and satisfaction in the midst of a very demanding world.

When you think of marriage, do you think most of them are falling apart or most of them are successful? Strangely enough, what you believe matters. It matters because it will deeply influence your marriage.

Believing that every marriage around you is falling apart will hurt your marriage.

Believing that many marriages around you are thriving will help your marriage.

Expectations, specifically expectations about marriage, matters.

This is why the common marriage statistic which is tossed around is so dangerous. Many people report that the divorce rate in America is 50%. It’s likely true if you take the number of divorces and the number of marriages that on average the percentage will be one divorce for every two marriages.

However, believing your marriage is nothing more than a coin toss is a lie.

Consider how statistics work. Imagine a very possible scenario: Couple X divorces in January because the wife is having an affair. She moves out, moves in with her boyfriend and the two are married by July. Yet the relationship is rocky from the start and by the end of the year the relationship ends in divorce. Using this scenario, the divorce rate (2 divorces and 1 wedding) would be 200%.

Of course it is an extreme example, but it’s not that extreme and a few situations like it greatly influence the national divorce rate. While it might be true that there are half the number of divorces as weddings every year, if we removed the serial divorcee from the statistics, the divorce rate would greatly change.

In her book, For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage, Tara Parker-Pope reports the divorce rate has continually fallen over the last few decades. While everyone quotes a statistic of 50%, she says the statistic has been terribly misused. One example: for college graduates who got married in the 80’s but waited until they were 25 to get married have an actual divorce rate of 19%. Is marriage simply a coin-flip or is it possible that many marriages are far more successful than we realize.

The problem with believing that half of all marriages fail is it causes a couple to look for signs of failure, even if they aren’t there. Generally speaking in marriage and in life, you will find whatever you are looking for. If a couple believes most marriages fail, when they experience hard times they will assume they are headed down the path of failure. However, if a couple believes most marriages succeed, when hard times come they are more likely to believe they can endure the tough times.

This leads to an often overlooked but key component of a healthy marriage: Surround yourself with happy marriages.

One of the most dangerous things which can happen to your marriage is for close friends to divorce. Yet one of the best things that can happen to your marriage is for those marriages around you to succeed.

If we intentionally surround ourselves with happy marriages, we will have:

  • Living examples of a good marriage
  • Couples to turn to in times of trouble
  • Accountability if we are tempted to make foolish decisions
  • Encouragement to know having a happy marriage is possible

Parents often worry about peer-pressure with their children. They pray that their children will not be negatively influenced by their friends. In marriage, we can use peer-pressure for good. It can assist us in having a vibrant marriage.

It’s happening everywhere. While the affairs, divorces, and broken marriages might get all the attention, in every area of life, men and women are making wise decisions and building their marriages.

Why not you?

What is your next step in building a successful marriage?



3 Responses to It’s Happening Everywhere
  1. […] know better. I’ve seen people change, marriages come alive, addictions cease, prodigals return... https://www.kevinathompson.com/dead-dormant
  2. […] Marriage has tremendous potential. (See: It’s Happening Everywhere) […]... https://www.kevinathompson.com/marriage-can-never

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