Having Faith in Your Inter-Faith Marriage

Published | Tags: , , , , , ,


Times are changing, this is nothing new. One particular area of change has been marriage trends, especially who is marrying whom. Before the 1960s, only 20% of married couples were interfaith – with each spouse having their own faith different from the other – currently around 39% of marriages are.

Interfaith marriages bring with them a unique set of questions. How will God and spirituality be discussed in the home? Whose church will the children attend? Where will the marriage take place? Some worry that interfaith marriages dilute the faith of each spouse, leaving two people less strong in their convictions and beliefs. However, there are also significant upsides to interfaith marriage. Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell in their book American Grace, found that the more Americans got to know people of another faith, the more they liked them. Likewise, research by Naomi Schaefer Riley showed that marrying someone of another faith tended to improve one’s view of that faith.

For that 39% of couples, how can they best navigate this aspect of their relationship to get the most ... Read more »


Marriage: Ready or Not

Published | Tags: , , ,


Very few of us want to get married just to have the marriage end, but that seems to be a common result.  It’s no secret that about 50% of marriages end in divorce, and many of those occur in the first five years of marriage.

The high divorce rates have led many of us to believe that marriage is fragile and should not be entered into lightly.  Yet as a society, we still tend to favor marriage as an important life goal.  The result of these two conflicting views is a delay of marriage into the late 20’s and 30’s.  Instead of getting married young like so many generations before us, we want more time to prepare.

But this leaves an important question:

How do we know when we are ready?

In a recent study, Jason Carroll from Brigham Young University and a team of scholars from universities across the nation wanted to know how we answer that question.  They surveyed young adults across the nation to determine how young people today are preparing for marriage.  What they found revealed some important ... Read more »


The Formula for Fairytales

Published | Tags: , , , ,


Growing up I loved being read bedtime fairytales. The most important stories in my mind always ended with the same phrase: “And they all lived happily ever after.” Yet, I never could imagine my princes and princesses in any sort of married life. They weren’t couples doomed to argue over who did the dishes, or how to raise children, they just lived in the same continued bliss of their courtship, never getting older or becoming less in love, no matter how many years passed.

Now that I’m older, however, I realize how much work goes into finding “happily ever after;” it isn’t something that comes easy after finding the perfect fit for that glass slipper. That being said, I am always looking for a quick answer to one big question. Is there any way to tell whether a relationship is destined for a disastrous divorce or if it’s a happily ever after fairytale? According to Mathematician Hannah Fry, it may be as simple as a formula.

In her newly released book The Mathematics of Love, Fry explains that the ... Read more »


Are You Afraid of Marriage?

Published | Tags: , , , , , ,


As a student and marriage scholar, I have been fascinated by the attitudes so many young adults hold about marriage.  In fact, my Thesis is on that very topic.  I have taken particular interest in the increasing delay of marriage we see among young adults today.  According to the US Census Bureau, the average age at first marriage for men is 29 and 27 for women, and it appears this continues to increase.  So what is behind this increase in age?  Some might say young adults are just being smart because they are more mature at those ages. There appears to be some fears about marriage that suggest that many young adults believe that marrying at younger ages is simply irresponsible.

While the fears we have about marriage are often different and come from different places, research has revealed some common fears about marriage that are prevalent among young adults today.  While these fears are often based on valid concerns, they also drive many relationships to a less than satisfying end and a delay in one of the most rewarding ... Read more »


Consoling the Inconsolable

Published | Tags: , , ,


“To have and to hold…for better or for worse.”  This phrase is familiar to all of us, and many of us have heard the phrase, or one like it, directed towards us and a previous or current spouse.  While this phrase carries a lot of meaning, it highlights one of the key aspects of a successful marriage: supporting one another in good times and bad.

Many of us take this to heart and willingly give of ourselves in support of our spouse.  Whether it be supporting them in finding a job, working together as parents, or being a shoulder to cry on, we all recognize the value of support.  

But what happens when the support we try to give doesn’t seem to have any effect?  If you have a partner who doesn’t feel better with the support you have to offer, then what happens to that value?

According to a recent study by Gelareh Karimiha and a team of scholars from Canada, when the support we offer doesn’t work it can leave us feeling much less valued.

How Inconsolability Affects Us

When a ... Read more »


The Least Helpful Phrases of Your Marriage

Published | Tags: , ,


“You’re not doing it right.”  “These dishes go here.”  “Did you grow up in a barn?”

These phrases, or similar, may be familiar to you if you have ever lived with a romantic partner.  You probably heard them when you were trying to be helpful and ended up causing a fight because you weren’t “doing something right.”  If so, then you have experienced what scholars call Gatekeeping.

The purpose of a fence is to either a)protect something or some area or b)establish an area as someone’s property.  The gate, however, is the way for another to enter that area.  If we open the gate, then we are welcoming that person into our personal space and showing that we want them there.

Likewise, most of us have specific ways we do things, especially household tasks.  One person may sort their laundry by color while others sort it by fabric type.  Some may like to have all the dirty dishes cleaned and put away before going to bed at night while others like to do it in the morning.  But whatever our preference, we ... Read more »


Is Your Partner the Right Age For You?

Published | Tags: , , ,


Have you ever been told about the formula for calculating how young of a woman a man can date and marry?  It is simple.  For the man: divide your current age by two and add 7.  If I were 30 years old then this calculation might look something like this: 30/2 = 15 +7 = 22.  That means I should not date or marry any woman younger than 22 years old. But is there anything scientific about this formula?  Does it really matter how old our partner is?

In some ways perhaps it does, although it might have more to do with preferences and less to do with happy relationships.  According to Jane Conway and a team of scholars in The Netherlands, the age of the person we date or marry may have a long history from the days of evolution.  In a recent study, they found evidence for one theory about why we prefer certain ages in our romantic partners.

Men

Men generally prefer women younger than themselves.  Based on Evolutionary Theory, this may be because younger women are more fertile ... Read more »


Couples Who Laugh Together, Last Together.

Published | Tags: , , ,

laughter

When my husband and I were engaged my mother hosted an engagement reception for us. People my parents had known for years showed up, ate food, wished us well, and left, in the way most receptions happen. On a table by the door were slips of paper for every guest to put a piece of marital advice for us and place it in a jar. Most of the advice written out were things I have heard my whole life:

“Don’t go to bed angry” “Communicate with each other” “Be physically affectionate” “Admit when you’re wrong.”

One piece of advice I wish had been written out was “laugh together every day.”

The physical benefits of laughter are well known – laughter can improve health, and lengthen life expectancy in terminally ill patients – but how does laughter aid relationships?

Neuroscientist Robert Provine studied just that, and published his findings in his book Laughter: A Scientific Investigation.

What he found was that, beyond just diffusing tense situations and reducing anger and anxiety, laughter establishes (or restores) a positive emotional connection between ... Read more »


The Ripe Age for Marriage

Published | Tags: , , , , ,


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

Published | Tags: , ,


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 »