Each year, more than 2 million couples marry in the U.S. While most couples say they are madly in love, some really wonder if they have what it takes to build a strong marriage that lasts over time.
Whether you’re married now or planning to, you’ll want to know about a Life Innovations survey of 21,501 married couples from every state. It identified not only the top 10 strengths of happy marriages, but also the top 10 problems in marriage.
They are satisfied with the affection they show and receive.
There is a good balance of time alone and together.
Family and friends rarely interfere.
Partners agree on how to spend money.
Partners agree on spiritual beliefs.
Additionally, the research found that the strongest couples have strong communication skills, a clear sense of closeness as a couple, flexibility, personal compatibility and good conflict resolution skills.
Strong marriages have a balance between separateness and togetherness. These couples prioritize togetherness, ask each other for help, enjoy doing things together and spend most of their free time together.
Also, some of the common factors in the relationship roles in strong marriages include both parties:
Are equally willing to make necessary adjustments in their roles,
Reporting satisfaction with the division of housework,
Working hard to have an equal relationship, and
Making most decisions jointly.
The happiest couples said they were happy with the way they communicate. They said that they found their partner to be a good listener, which made it easy to express their feelings. They especially noted that their partner doesn’t use put-downs.
Obviously, conflict management/resolution skills are crucial. In strong marriages, both partners say that their partner understands their positions. They feel free to share their feelings and ideas; they take disagreements seriously and they work cooperatively to resolve conflicts.
According to the survey, the top 10 problems in marriage are:
Problems sharing leadership.
One partner is too stubborn.
Stress created by child-rearing differences.
One partner is too negative or critical.
Feeling responsible for issues.
One partner wishes the other had more time.
Avoiding conflict with partner.
One partner wishes the other was more willing to share their feelings.
Difficulty completing tasks.
Differences don’t ever get resolved.
For example, some common stumbling blocks are when one person feels most responsible for the problem, avoiding conflict and having serious disputes over minor issues. Sadly, relationships with unresolved differences can get into trouble. As a result, stumbling blocks become walls instead of stepping stones to build up the marriage.
Finally, no matter how in love you feel, bringing two personalities and their families together and learning how to dance can be challenging.
So don’t just prepare for your wedding – take time to prepare for your marriage. Learn how to build on your strengths, creatively address differences and work together for the best interests of your marriage. It will probably be the best wedding present you can give to each other.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Building-a-Strong-Marriage-e1597428405522.jpg248450Julie Baumgardnerhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJulie Baumgardner2017-10-04 00:00:002022-02-17 15:06:04Building a Strong Marriage
I was in my late 20s and Jay was 30 when we decided to marry. Both of us are children of divorce. I also had a lot of debt from putting myself through college, and I loved Jay and totally thought he was “the one.” But, I would be lying if I told you I didn’t have some anxiety about what might happen to us in the future. I had heard the statistics about the chances of divorce and felt like we were entering into marriage with the odds stacked against us in some ways.
At the time, I worked in mental health care. I remember asking one of my colleagues if he would consider doing some premarital work with us. With eyebrows raised, he said, “What for? Are you having problems already?” Even Jay looked at me quizzically when I mentioned we should sit down with someone who could help us prepare for the journey.
I didn’t know it then, but although we had risk factors for divorce, we actually had a lot more going for us than against us.
Experts studying marriage and divorce through the years found there are some factors that significantly decrease your chances of divorce.
Those who marry after age 18 have a 24 percent reduced risk of divorce.
Only 27 percent of college graduates will divorce by middle age.
Having still-married parents reduces divorce risk by 14 percent.
Having a combined income of $50,000 or more is associated with a 30 percent lower divorce risk.
Those with a strong shared faith who attend services regularly are 47 percent less likely to divorce.
Couples who participate in premarital preparation are generally up to 30 percent less likely to divorce.
Having one’s first child after marriage can reduce one’s divorce risk by 24 to 66 percent.
There are some factors that place couples at higher risk for divorce.
Couples who disagree on whether or not to have children are at considerably higher risk of divorce.
Being previously divorced markedly increases one’s risk for divorce.
Having divorced parents.
Looking back over our many years of marriage, neither one of us would say it has been challenge-free.
From raising a precocious, strong-willed child to brain surgery, job transitions, death of parents, financial concerns and more, the struggle is real. But, realizing that we’ve endured all of those things together has made us stronger.
If you asked us how we did it, we would say that the premarital preparation definitely helped us look at our potential areas of risk and talk about them instead of putting our heads in the sand. That was a good thing.
Our faith has certainly played a role. Surrounding ourselves with people who believed in our marriage has been helpful. Honestly, choosing intentionality and commitment to the relationship has also been huge. It gives us the freedom to be angry, scared, sad, or hurt, and to know that our marriage is a safe place where we can be real with each other. That makes all the difference.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Whats-My-Risk-for-Divorce.jpg9001400Julie Baumgardnerhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJulie Baumgardner2017-09-08 00:00:002022-08-04 10:24:44What’s My Risk for Divorce?