Larry James' CelebrateLove.com BLOG

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Is It Time to Get Rid of Marriage?

Bob Hollander, JD, LCSW-C and Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, Guest Authors

I’m still not over Jennifer and Brad, and Mariah and Nick; but now, Ben and Jen? I really thought, or was hoping, their marriage would last. Every day we read about marriages breaking up. It’s very discouraging.

REL-DumpMarriageI was under the impression that divorce was decreasing in the U.S.; recently I searched for the facts. I found a review of marriage and divorce trends over the last 144 years. Using data from the National Center for Health Statistics, Randal Olson, researcher at University of Pennsylvania, plotted the numbers. It’s fascinating to see the correlation of marriage and divorce rates with historical events. Check it out.

The data shows that divorce rates have been steadily declining since the 1980s; however, so have the marriage rates. It also shows:

The rate of marriage today is at the lowest point ever recorded in U.S. history.

That was news to me. It made me wonder: Has the institution of marriage in the millennium outlived its usefulness? After all, we don’t necessarily depend on each other for financial support, childcare and housekeeping.

Bob and I see two glaring problems with marriage in this day and age:

1. Today’s marriages are based on romantic feelings of love – the weakest link in relationships. We assume love will last forever. The truth is love can last, IF we nurture, sustain and grow it over a lifetime. Sounds easy, but it’s a tall order in our hectic day-to-day lives.

2. We aren’t prepared for the job of being a millennial spouse. On our wedding day how many of us know:

• Feelings of romantic love will die if they are not consistently fed
• Hard work is required to sustain a healthy, loving marriage over a lifetime
• Skills including communication, negotiation and conflict management need to be learned and practiced
• Money and sex are the two issues couples have most conflict about
• Marital satisfaction statistically plunges after children are born
• The true job description of being a marital partner isn’t written down, not to mention we may not have the right training for the job?

marriages:divorcesIf you saw an ad for Spouse in the Help Wanted section, it would go something like this:

Job Description: Seeking committed, mature individual. Responsible for health and well being of self and others, physically and emotionally; dedicated to hard work; devoted and loyal for life, despite future offers; team player; ability to identify, analyze and face obstacles to team welfare; prepared to learn and practice advanced communication, conflict resolution and negotiation skills, especially around issues of money and sex; willingness to share and sacrifice own needs at times for team; stamina to persevere and maintain quality of job performance despite years of hard labor, multiple organizational changes and transitions; and only a 60% success rate.

Did you realize this is what you were signing up for? Sounds daunting.

However, Bob and I still believe in marriage. What could be better than weaving a life together, through good times and bad, persevering, learning and growing from tough times, being able to enjoy and appreciate your accomplishments, having companionship and a best friend along the journey to find meaning in this world?

In addition, research-based evidence shows that the job of spouse comes with incredible benefits. A review of the research by the US Department of Health and Human Services finds that married people have:

• Better physical and mental health
• Improved economic well-being
• Improved well-being of children as adults
• Better long term health
• Greater longevity

So add good health, long life, higher income, and healthier children to the job description. It is worth the work.

Have a conversation with your partner about the “relationship house” you have built and make a plan to repair any damage. Strengthen the foundation and redecorate based upon what you both want for the future. It’s never too late to make your connection even stronger.

Image Source: Rings image by www.Public-Domain-image.com

Copyright © 2015 by Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD. Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, is a licensed counselor and co-founder of Relationships Work, an innovative therapy practice and online resource center. Together with her husband, Bob, they encourage couples to consciously co-create their relationships in order to achieve a deeper, more intimate connection. You can visit Relationships Work online at: http://www.RelationshipsWork.com. Follow them on Facebook.

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CLoveLOGOLarry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why Do People Get Married?

Filed under: Marriage,Relationships,Weddings — Larry James @ 7:30 am

Everyone knows that there are ups and downs to putting a ring on it! Yet, thousands of couples get married every year. Love seems to be the main reason. What’s Love got to do with it? A lot. AND Love is never enough!

Love usually tops the list with most people. Companionship is a close second. Marriage usually involves tradition, religion, family and/or culture. Signing papers conveys respectability. You don’t need a marriage certificate or label to be happy. It’s a public declaration of love for each other. It is a promise of fidelity. It’s socially acceptable.

Demographers project that at least 80 percent of Americans will marry at some point in their lives. Love does not make for a strong enough foundation. It is far from “all you need.” Love alone will not carry you the distance. It is not something that can stand alone. Mature Love is more than whatever you think marriage is.

Marriage isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. A healthy relationship takes constant attention to it. It’s something you must work on all the time, not only when it’s broken and needs to be fixed.

WhyMarriageAaron T. Beck, M.D., author of “Love is Never Enough” says, there is an art to loving and being loved. The ingredients in mature love are:

• Feelings of warmth
• Caring
• Expressions of affection
• Acceptance
• Empathy
• Sensitivity
• Understanding
• Companionship
• Intimacy
• Friendliness
• Pleasing
• Support
• Closeness

I would add 6 others:

• Working together – Teamwork
• Trust
• Best friends
• Keep Romance Alive
• Shared Goals
• Respect

The list above is but a small gathering of traits that we must become skilled in to have a long-lasting, healthy relationship. It’s a list that couples contemplating marriage should become familiar with because those traits are a part of being hitched.

According to most relationship experts, effective communication is one of the most difficult to master. In my mind, so is undelivered communication. We often don’t say what we know we should because the last time we did, someone got upset and we don’t want to go through that again, so we close down, don’t say anything and when our partner asks, “What’s wrong?” we say nothing. The next time our partner doesn’t take out the garbage we want a divorce and it’s not about the garbage… it’s about all the things we didn’t say.

It’s important to take communication one step further. It’s one thing to have great conversations when you are dating and quite another to know how to communicate when problems surface. No yelling is the #1 rule. Keep it calm. No name calling. You can learn to express your anger or disappointment in a responsible and loving way. That must be a high priority.

“If you want your relationship to work, let go of your demands and expectations for how your partner should be, and make peace with the way they are. Do your best to empower them and do everything you can to make sure they feel loved, accepted and appreciated.” ~ Bill Ferguson

So, why get married? Marriage is the ultimate level of commitment that our society recognizes. A marriage commitment puts a protective shell around your relationship that helps keep your bond strong when there are bumps in the road – it gives couples a sense of security that they’ll stay together no matter what. It’s serious business. You have finally identified each other as your this-is-it, once-in-a-lifetime partner.

Tax breaks should never be a good reason to get married. It’s a benefit, but not a good reason. Another benefit is that married people live longer than single people. A 2006 study performed by University of California researchers contended that single people are five times more likely to die of infectious disease, nearly 40% more likely to die of heart disease and twice as likely to die accidentally.

More sex, anyone? A study done by the Kinsey Institute, for example, suggests that 23% of non-married men periodically go a year without sex, while only 1% of married men experience 12-month dry spells. 😉 Procreation has always been a factor in why people marry.

A final reason people want to get married is the gala event the wedding has become. The wedding is not the marriage. Everyone is there to celebrate you and your love for one another. Weddings are beautiful events. I know. I’ve performed hundreds of wedding ceremonies. When the couple truly understand what “marriage” is really about… something wonderful happens as that leave the alter and step into their new life together.

“All these promises we make, and we break, why is it that people get married? Because we need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet, I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything, the good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things, all of it, all the time, everyday. You’re saying, your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed because I will be your witness.” ~ Susan Sarandon, in the movie, “Shall We Dance”

The truth is that when love wanes (and all the things that love entails), the marriage gets shaky; when the romance stops, the nuptials generally crumble. However, when you put in the extra effort required to make a marriage work, over time it becomes a strong, healthy, long-term relationship that can endure.

BONUS Article: Think Long and Hard…
Resist Exercising Your Voice Power…
Everything We Think We Know About Marriage and Divorce is Wrong!!

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2014 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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