Archive for Married

Is Your Relationship Healthy?

We want to be healthy.  41.3 million Americans currently belong to some kind of fitness club.  Americans spend an average of more than $30 billion each year on weight-loss products and services.  Americans spend about $27 billion on yoga products annually.  Yet, how many ask if our marriage is healthy? Would we be willing to spend time and money to help make our relationship healthy? 

But, what makes a relationship healthy?  Researchers have identified seven habits of stable couple and marital relationships:

First, couples must CHOOSE to make their relationship a priority.  This includes making a sustained commitment to the relationship, exploring what it means to create a healthy marriage, and envisioning a healthy future together.

Second, time must be given to KNOWing each other.  People must move from an idealized knowledge of their partners to a real, intimate knowledge.  Time must be given for sharing intimate thoughts and feelings.

Third, genuine CARE must be demonstrated.   Individuals should understand partner’s pressures and needs, be respectful in valuing differences, and be intentionally express support and kindness. 

Forth, couples need to CONNECT with a supportive community.  This includes cultivating relationships with extended family members, serving together in community groups and organizations, and finding joint sources of meaning (spirituality and values).

Fifth, people have to SHARE their feelings, interest, and time.  Couples must be willing to accept influence from each other, be positive in their communication, and be make time to be together.

Sixth, couples must MANAGE differences and stresses.  People need to learn coping skills that include maintaining a positive emotional climate, team-oriented decision-making, and offering forgiveness.   

Last, individuals need to maintain CARE FOR SELF.  This includes maintaining good physical health (eating, sleeping, and physical fitness), avoiding dangerous behaviors like substance abuse, and learning to effectively manage stress.   

Getting fit physically is a worthy goal.  Getting fit relationally should be a worthy goal too.  In fact, the two are linked.  Adults in healthy marriages have lower stress levels and better health habits.  Also, couples in healthy relationships experience overall better mental and physical health.

Remember When

Alan Jackson had a huge hit song from 2003 called “Remember When.”  He began by singing, “Remember when I was young and so were you and time stood still and love was all we knew.”  The song goes on to remember the ups and downs of his relationship with his wife.

For those who are currently struggling in their marriages, there is power in remembering.  Margaret Barber once said, “To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it more fit for its prime function of looking forward.”  Couples look back to see what brought them together.  Couples look back to see what brought them through the difficult times.  Couples look back to cherish the memories.  Couples look back to gain perspective.  Couples look back in hopes of creating a new future.

People should dust off that photo album.  People should break out those old home movies.  People should rewatch their wedding videos.  People should relisten to the love songs they used to listen to.  People should once again walk down memory lane.  Couples should do these things together.  Couples should relive those memories anew.

2010 Marriage Awards Videos

In 2010 we held an event celebrating healthy marriages.  At this event we gave awards to married couples who based on community nominations and a screening process exemplify healthy, long term marriage.  Here are videos by those recipients sharing what has helped make their marriages work.

Talleys

 

Stiggers

 

Sorrells

 

Myers

 

Johnsons

 

Downs

 

Browns

 

Relationship Facts

From Why Marriage Matters, 2nd Edition.

Among the research findings summarized by the report are:

About Children

  • Parental divorce reduces the likelihood that children will graduate from college, and achieve high-status jobs.
  • Children who live with their own two married parents enjoy better physical health, on average, than children in other family forms. The health advantages of married homes remain even after taking into account socioeconomic status.
  • Parental divorce approximately doubles the odds that adult children will end up divorced.

About Men

  • Married men earn between 10 and 40 percent more than single men with similar education and job histories.
  • Married people, especially married men, have longer life expectancies than otherwise similar singles.
  • Marriage increases the likelihood fathers will have good relationships with children.  Sixty-five percent of young adults whose parents divorced had poor relationships with their fathers (compared to 29% from non-divorced families).

About Women

  • Divorce and unmarried childbearing significantly increases poverty rates of both mothers and children. Between one-fifth and one-third of divorcing women end up in poverty as a result of divorce.
  • Married mothers have lower rates of depression than single or cohabiting mothers.
  • Married women appear to have a lower risk of domestic violence than cohabiting or dating women. Even after controlling for race, age, and education, people who live together are still three times more likely to report violent arguments than married people.

About Society

  • Adults who live together but do not marry—cohabitors—are more similar to singles than to married couples in terms of physical health and disability, emotional well-being and mental health, as well as assets and earnings.  Their children more closely resemble the children of single people than the children of married people.
  • Marriage appears to reduce the risk that children and adults will be either perpetrators or victims of crime. Single and divorced women are four to five times more likely to be victims of violent crime in any given year than married women. Boys raised in single-parent homes are about twice as likely (and boys raised in stepfamilies three times as likely) to have committed a crime that leads to incarceration by the time they reach their early thirties, even after controlling for factors such as race, mother’s education, neighborhood quality and cognitive ability.