The Ripe Age for Marriage

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Have you ever been given the advice that you should wait to marry until after 25, or maybe even as late as 30? Would you give that same advice to someone else?

Chances are, most of us have heard at some point in our lives that getting married too young is a recipe for disaster. And when it comes to basic divorce statistics, such wisdom seems to be supported. But what is too young? Is there really something magical about 25 years old?

According to Norval Glenn at the University of Texas at Austin, 25 years does make a significant difference in the success of marriage, but it may not be in the direction you think.

The Best Age

In his study, Glenn argues that one of the main reasons we are seeing a large incline in the average at at first marriage, approaching 30 for men and 28 for women, is consistent findings in research that the risk of divorce continues to drop with age. Teen weddings are clearly not supported. And since 30 year olds show a lower risk of divorce ... Read more »


Putting Your Marriage on the Operating Table

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One of our followers asked the question “Is divorce ever healthy?”

That is a good question, and to really address it let’s start with the word healthy.

Health is defined as proper and normal function.

Whenever we are sick and go visit a doctor, their goal is to fix whatever is not working right and return us to health.  But what happens when it cannot be fixed?  The best option for our survival is to remove the unhealthy part completely. When it comes to divorce, it may also help to put “marriage” under the surgical light and see what is really going on.

Healthy Marriage

Based on years of research, we have a pretty good idea of what a healthy marriage looks like.  While we could create a very long list, I have chosen some of the most important aspects which represent the majority of research:

A healthy marriage is…

safety for deep connection and intimacy. effective communication and problem solving. respect for each other. teamwork in providing the best possible care for the family. support and involvement. trust and loyalty. dedication. effort to forgive, sacrifice, and make things right.

Usually, when we are ... Read more »


The Goldilocks Theory of Marriage and Divorce

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I never know what I’m doing when I pick produce at the grocery store. I try to look like I’m a knowledgeable adult by knocking on the watermelons, squeezing the tomatoes, smelling the oranges. Really, I know nothing. All I can do is pick the best I can, and wait until I get home to see how well I did. Sometimes I get duds, but other times I have some really delicious fruits and vegs.

Research suggests that there is a ripe time for marrying, just as there is time when my produce is best for picking (I should probably look at the latter before shopping again). While it is true that people change and every couple will hit hard times throughout their relationship, science can give us a helpful hand to know our prime age for successful marriage.

The Goldilocks Theory of Marriage and Divorce

Researcher Nicholas H. Wolfinger studied the best time to get married in order to lower your risk of divorce. Then, to assure he got it right, he did it again. Both studies indicated that there’s ... Read more »


Are Your Marital Problems Hurting Your Kids?

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Marital Fight

There’s a popular Carrie Underwood song out right now, “Little Toy Guns”, that talks about a little girl hiding in her closet listening to her parents yelling and praying, “I wish words were like little toy guns, No sting, no hurt no one, Just a bang bang rollin’ off your tongue…” and so on.  We love the lyrics because they take an honest look at how marital discord can really impact our kids emotionally.

 

**Disclaimer** We don’t want to shame any parents who feel like they fit in this category–we’re all human and we all make mistakes–we just want to bring these dynamics to your attention so you can do something about them while you still have a chance.  (a.k.a. Before your kids leave the house)

 

Research has been clear in the recent years that disagreements in a marriage have the potential to actually help kids emotionally in the long run, but more often than not end up damaging kids because they’re handled poorly.  The instability and fear children feel when they hear parents yelling or storming out on one another ... Read more »


The 10 Seconds That Might Save Your Relationship

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10 Seconds

Ten seconds.  It’s the amount of time it takes to climb in or out of your car on the way to work or the store.  It’s the amount of time you spend every day putting on your socks or deciding on your breakfast cereal.  Ten seconds is nothing.  Yet, 10 seconds might be all that stands between you and a long-term and happy relationship.  Impossible you say?  Not if you understand the power of perception and the nature of human emotion.

 

Our perceptions about the world around us are what determine everything we do.  You see a preview of a new TV show and you immediately determine within 30 seconds if you think it’s interesting.  If you decide it’s not, you’ll likely roll your eyes every time someone makes a positive remark about it.  What do they know? After all, it was so clear to you that the show was a waste of time.  Our relationships aren’t much different.  Every single interaction with our partners, from the first time we meet, to the hundredth time your partner tells you the ... Read more »


5 Simple Ways to Make Sure Money Doesn’t Cause Your Divorce

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Money

Chances are, you’ve been stressed about money before.  You might have noticed how much that stress can affect your own happiness as well as that of a partner if you were in a relationship at the time.  If so, you might have also tried to avoid talking about these money issues because you were afraid it would ruin your relationship.

Instead of trying to avoid talking about such an important part of life, however, maybe you can try following this advice on how to talk about the money from Dr. Craig Israelsen at Brigham Young University.

 

1. HALT

Follow the HALT principle.  If you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired, you might find it more difficult to communicate what you really need or mean.  So before discussing anything of importance, such as money and finances, consider how you are feeling.

 

2. Prepare

One way to help you feel at ease when you talk about money, you might try preparing ahead of time.  Figure out with your partner a good time to talk about some the concerns you have and then do some preparation beforehand.  You ... Read more »


3 Simple Ways to Avoid Falling “Out of Love”–Part 1

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Fall in Love

We’ve all heard the line, probably multiple times.  Whether it comes from popular television shows, movies, or from friends, the phrase “We’ve fallen out of love” has become a common excuse for many people to leave significant and long-term relationships.  In many cases, this same phrase is uttered as the reason to leave a marriage and children behind.  As relationship experts, we have dedicated years of research to understand exactly why some people believe they no longer love the person they once thought was their one and only.  Today’s blog is the first in a series of posts exploring why some couples fall out of love and how to avoid this in your own relationships.

1. Different Interests and Hobbies.

This issue is extremely common in many romantic couples.  Those little differences that appeared when you first dated didn’t seem like a big deal.  Who cares that he plays video games and I don’t?  Who cares if she loves just sitting on the couch reading a book when I haven’t picked one up since high school?  Whatever these differences might ... Read more »


The Main Reason Happy Marriages End in Divorce…

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Happy Couple

Justin Lavner and Thomas Bradbury of UCLA recently published an article that explored why some happy marriages end in divorce.  They assumed they’d find a connection between low commitment, negative communication, lack of support, low self-esteem, high levels of stress and divorce.  What they found, however, surprised them and the greater research community.

They invited 172 happily married newlywed couples to come discuss a topic they disagreed on for 10 minutes, while someone watched for good and bad communication skills.  At the end of 10 years of following these couples, about 15% of them were divorced.  When the researchers looked at the differences between couples who stayed together and couples who divorced, they found a few major differences.  Divorced couples had gotten married younger by about 2 years, the husband’s income was lower, the husbands’ parents were more likely to have been divorced, and most importantly, the couple had more negative communication in their marriage.

Negative Communication

Couples who are happy with their marriage from the time they get married can still fall prey to the ever increasing divorce rate if there’s ... Read more »