Keeping Love Alive in a Lasting Marriage
Keeping Your Marriage Alive
by A. Gagliardi
The most famous biblical definition of love can be found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things; believes all things; hopes all things; endures all things.” The Bible preaches that we should love one another and incidentally has a wonderful prescription for staying in love.
Falling in love is easy. Staying in love is much harder. What does it take to have a long-term relationship that continues to be successful? Marriage has traditionally been the indicator that we love someone enough to commit our entire life to them; to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things and endure all things within that relationship for the love of our ‘better’ half. Although marriages change, the keys to sustaining a healthy, lasting marriage are companionship, communication and commitment.
‘There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion, or company than a good marriage.”
- Martin Luther (1483-1546) German priest & scholar
Bill Doherty states: “The only thing that rivals for sheer challenge in today’s world is marriage, which holds our fondest hopes and our worst fears about permanence of relationships in life.”
Here are some tips for staying married.
1. Marry someone with similar core values as you. Don’t go into your marriage thinking your will change your lover into who you think they should be.
Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads, which sew people together through the years. -- Simone Signoret
A soul mate marriage does not at all mean that you have found someone you match up with on all the cards – on all the issues, on everything. That would be the most deadly dull thing to even imagine. Instead, it means you've found someone and they don't ever want to blow out that little light inside you. And you feel the same way about them. -Diane Sollee
It is sometimes essential for a husband and a wife to quarrel - they get to know each other better. -Goethe
In marriage, as in all things, the perfect can be the enemy of the good. -unknown
Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction. - Antoine De Saint-Exupert
When a guy is happily married, no matter what happens at work, no matter what happens [during] the rest of the day, there's a shelter when you get home. There's a knowledge, knowing that you can hug somebody without them throwing you downstairs and saying, 'Get your hands off me.' -Danny Perosa, NPR "Story Corps" Morning Edition
2. Marry your friend. Friendship is more important that lust or physical attraction, because that friendship is what keeps the marriage together. Heart-thumping passion will change throughout your relationship, but friendships most often deepen over the years.
Marriage, ultimately, is the practice of becoming passionate friends. -Harville Hendrix
Between husband and wife friendship seems to exist by nature, for man is naturally disposed to pairing. -Aristotle,Nicomachean Ethics
Only choose in marriage a man whom you would choose as a friend if he were a woman. -Joseph Joubert
It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages. -Friedrich Nietzsche
For wherever you go, I will go: And wherever you lodge, I will lodge, Your people will be my people, And, your God, my God. -Ruth 1:16
Be on the lookout for strain in each other, and with compassion and
understanding, lend a helping hand and a mature heart. Helping each other
manage emotional strain can yield creative alternatives and build a new
foundation for heart-based communication and hope. -Doc Children
Why would a couple that lives and sleeps together every night need dates and rituals? Precisely because they live and sleep together. -Bill Doherty, Take Back Your Marriage
3. Mutual respect and affirmations on a regular basis are important to keep your friendship alive and growing. Let’s face it, if your partner only has negative things to say to you and about you, life gets pretty grim. On the other hand, if you can only think of negative qualities and actions of your spouse, how is that coming across? And how is that reciprocated? Two negatives in a long-term relationship do not add up to a positive.
Marriage is our last, best chance to grow up. -Joseph Barth
William James, the father of modern psychology, way back in 1890, said, "My experience is what I agree to attend to." In other words, what we direct our attention to creates our experience; sets our outlook, perspective, our mood, and behavior. Do we focus on how our partner loves us, or how he/she fails to love us? On how our marriage fulfills, or fails us? Is the story we present to ourselves and others, that our marriage is half empty, or half full? -Diane Sollee, Smart Marriages
Being married is like having somebody permanently in your corner, it feels limitless, not limited.
-Gloria Steinem, 2000 (upon marrying for the first time at age 66)
There is a proverb. "As you have made your bed, so you must lie in it, " which is simply a lie. If I have made my bed uncomfortable, please God, I will make it again. -G.K. Chesterson
Be presidents of each other's fan clubs. -Tony Heath
A good marriage is a contest of generosity. -Diane Sawyer
Having someone wonder where you are when you don't come home at night is a very old human need. -Margaret Mead
4. Genuine affection for each other becomes more important as you age and doesn’t replace sexual activity, but becomes more important. So, in addition to loving your spouse, you should look for someone you like a lot and in whom that ‘liking’ continues to grow. Sexual affection is more important in the early years of your life, even though many older adults continue to enjoy a healthy sexual relationship, too. However physical affection and kindness continue to be more important to keep your marriage going than intercourse.
In marriage, each partner is to be an encourager rather than a critic, a forgiver rather than a collector of hurts, an enabler rather than a reformer. -- H. Norman Wright and Gary J. Oliver
Empathy means resonating with the “not self”. In empathy you know everything is connected, so whatever you do to something else or someone else is done to you. -Harville Hendrix
Real giving is when we give to our spouses what's important to them, whether we understand it, like it, agree with it, or not. -Michele Weiner-Davis
There is no greater happiness for a man than approaching a door at the end of a day knowing someone on the other side of that door is waiting for the sound of his footsteps. -Ronald Reagan
One of the great illusions of our time is that love is self-sustaining. It is not. Love must be fed and nurtured, constantly renewed. That demands ingenuity and consideration, but first and foremost, it demands time. -- David Mace
5. Continue to build intimacy. This means that in addition to being friends,(or because you are friends) you and your partner share emotionally. You tell each other your most intimate feelings; your worst fears and worries, your hopes and dreams, and all the minutia of daily living. Building intimacy still involves passion and keeping the romance alive as you know more about each other’s body than anyone else: you know the smell of their sweat, the curve of their hip and the feel of that hollow at the front of their throat. And more, much more than these.
Jane Fonda at the age of 73, says about aging gracefully: "It means I can bring my whole self to the table," she said, adding that "[aging] can be a time of tremendous sensuality... because you know your body." (See her new book: “Prime Time” Random House out in 2011)
People think they have to find their soul mate to have a good marriage. You're not going to "find" your soul mate. Anyone you meet already has soul mates. Their mother. Their father. Their lifelong friends. You get married, and after 20 years of loving, bearing, and raising children, meeting challenges - then you'll have "created" your soul mate. -- Diane Sollee
Marriage, like a submarine, is only safe if you get all the way inside. --Frank Pittman
Sex is a conversation carried out by other means. If you get on well out of bed, half the problems of bed are solved. --Peter Ustinov
Marriage is like a gas stove. Even if the burners aren't on all the time, you've always got to keep the pilot light lit. --Brian, a husband giving advice on Oprah.com
The goal of sex is the big O…(and it ain’t orgasm).It’s Oneness. Loving the whole person, not just the body parts. Connecting at a deeper level. --Tim Gardner,Sacred Sex
6. Humor is a key source of fun and will lighten even the most intense debates. A relationship with humor as one of the main characteristics stands a better chance of lasting. Every relationship needs to have lighthearted laughter and fun, but remember to also have time for down-to-earth, serious talk that is not made fun of. Humor should not be malicious; but should be balanced. Too many practical jokes, gag gifts, witty remarks, funny stories, off-color jokes can become as counter-productive as a relationship with no laughter.
As for his secret to staying married: "My wife tells me that if I ever decide to leave, she is coming with me." -- Jon BonJovi
I told him after we had made up once again, “I love you honey, but you are gonna’ have to stop pissing me off.” -A. Gagliardi
Sheila and I just celebrated our thirtieth wedding anniversary. Somebody asked her, what was our secret? She answered, “On my wedding day, I decided to make a list of ten of Tim’s faults which, for the sake of our marriage, I would always overlook. I figured I could live with at least ten!” When she was asked which faults she had listed, Shelia replied, “I never did get around to listing them. Instead, every time he does something that makes me mad, I simply say to myself, ‘Lucky for him, it’s one of the ten!’” -Tim Hudson from Chicken Soup for the Romantic Soul, 2002
Lust fades, so you'd better be with someone who can stand you. -The Story of Us
The RealAge web site recommends finding a "reminder buddy" to improve your health, one with whom to exercise, eat right, etc. "Reminder Buddy" - such a nice term for the role of a spouse, sounds so much better than "nagging". -Diane Sollee,
7. Don’t keep score. No relationship gives equal amounts of love, attention, resources, etc. to both parties. It just is not the case with any union. My husband’s uncle told us to always give 150%, that way when one of us cannot give their share, we still will make our allotted love amount. It sounded reasonable when he said it over 40 years ago.
Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and
integrity, they think of you. --H. Jackson Brown, Jr
To get the full value of joy You must have someone to divide it with. -Mark Twain
You win or the relationship wins. --Terry Hargrave, The Essential Humility of Marriage
8. Communication. So many women tell me their spouse just doesn’t talk to them. Partners who are in marriage for the long term talk to one another about (almost) everything.
When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory. -- Friedrich Nietzsche
Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation.-- Oscar Wilde
No man is truly married until he understands every word his wife is NOT saying. --Unknown
Then there was the guy who loved his wife so much, he almost told her. --Unknown
One advantage of marriage, it seems to me, is that when you fall out of love with each other, it keeps you together until maybe you fall in love again. --Judith Viorst
Don't be a buzz kill. When your spouse shares something exiting, match their enthusiasm. --Stan CoMarriage
The most important marriage skill is listening to your partner in a way that they can't possibly doubt that you love them. -- Diane Sollee
The goal is to have a conversation in a way so that you can have another conversation tomorrow. --Unknown
I like not only to be loved, but to be told that I am loved; the realm of
silence is large enough beyond the grave. --George Eliot
9. Commit to the institution of marriage. For those couples who feel divorce is not an option, or at least the very last resort, find themselves working harder to keep their relationship strong. Seeing the marriage as bigger than their own immediate need to be first, to be right, to get their needs met, helps people work together for a solution, and to work longer at a solution.
Grow old along with me. The best is yet to be - the last of life for which the first was made . --Robert Browning
I didn't marry you because you were perfect. I didn't even marry you because I loved you. I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn't a house that protected them; and it wasn't our love that protected them - it was that promise. --Thornton Wilder, The Skin of Our Teeth
Commitment is making a choice to give up other choices.- -Scott Stanley
People stay married because they want to, not because the doors are locked. --Paul Newman
Commitment has kind eyes. He wears sturdy shoes. Everything is vivid when he is around. It is wonderful to sit and have lunch in his gardens around harvest time. You can taste in the vegetables that the soil has been cared for. --J. Ruth Gendler
Marriage is the hardest thing you will ever do. The secret is removing divorce as an option. Anybody who gives themselves that option will get a divorce. --Will Smith (11 years into his second marriage)
The Marriage Edge: As my daughter Elizabeth's wedding approaches, a thought has come over me: their entire convoy of family and friends would not be trekking from all over the country to Minnesota for the celebration if they were simply moving in together. The launching of a marriage is light years different than launching a cohabitation. --Bill Doherty
10. Choice. Marriage is choice: choice of partner; choice of self; choice of growth, even choice of passion & adventure. Marriage is the continuing choice to stay together even when your spouse has just pissed you off for the last time, or gotten on your last nerve for the umpteenth time. Aside from the commitment to the institution of marriage, the fact that each day in many ways you choose to keep working on the relationship, you choose to think the best of your spouse, you choose to be loving instead of hateful and you choose to grow in your relationship instead of throw in the towel. The many times daily that you choose to honor your relationship and keep working on your marriage helps keep it intact.
“Marriage is survived just on the basis of ordinary etiquette, day in and day out. Also cooking together helps a lot. I've seen all these marriages that failed. Those people are always hollering at each other. That doesn't work. Do you remember the '70s, they had all these 'empowering' groups where you tell everybody everything? That doesn't work in a marriage either.” --Jim Harrison
One of the nicest things you can say to your partner, "If I had it to do over again, I'd choose you. Again." -Unknown
I think a man and a woman should choose each other for life, for the simple reason that a long life with all its accidents is barely enough time for a man and a woman to understand each other and . . . to understand - is to love. -- William Butler Yeats
Choose your love; then love your choice. --Unknown
Being in a long marriage is a little bit like that nice cup of coffee every morning - I might have it every day, but I still enjoy it. --Stephen Gaines, documentary filmmaker
Here are some resources for building and maintaining your marriage:
Catherine Bateson, Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom .
William J. Doherty Ph.D, Take Back Your Marriage, Guilford Press, 2001
William J. Doherty, Ph.D, Putting Family First, Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2002.
Lesli Doares, MS LMFT, Blueprint for a lasting Marriage: The complete Guide to Building your happily ever after.
Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley and Susan L. Blumberg; Fighting for Your Marriage: Positive Steps for Preventing Divorce and Preserving a Lasting Love, Jossey-Bass, 2001, ISBN 0-7879-5744-5.
Penguin Group USA (2011), 30 lessons for living: Tried and true Advise from the Wisest Americans. Hardback - 288 pages - ISBN 1594630844
Tips For a Long Lasting Marriage: Why Long Term Marriages Last By Sheri & Bob Stritof, About.com Guides
“Lasting Marriages “ File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobathttp://abcnews.go.com/GMA/jane-fonda-living-making-life/story?id=14242308#.Tzp-TCNUHSs
National Fatherhood Initiative Why Knot? handbook
www.yourtango.com/200918820/25-secrets-loving-lasting-marriageMay 5, 2009
Keys to Lasting Marriage
Want a Lasting Marriage ? Personality Match May Not Matter | Fox ...
National Healthy Marriage Resource Center at: www.healthymarrriageinfo.org
The Marriage Garden at: www.arfamilies.org/family_life/marriage/default.htm.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
Still having fun after 40 years of marriage
Lasting Marriage Quotes: What makes a marriage?
Gathered by A. Gagliardi
A marriage is a gift. It should be opened up and enjoyed.
A good marriage is the union of two good forgivers.
- Ruth Bell Graham
A great marriage is not when the 'perfect couple' come together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.
-- Dave Meurer
What a happy and holy fashion it is that those who love one another should rest on the same pillow.
A good marriage is that in which each appoints the other guardian of his solitude.
-Rainer Maria Rilke
Don't marry the person you think you can live with; marry only the individual you think you can't live without.
-James C. Dobson
A good marriage is at least 80 percent good luck in finding the right person at the right time. The rest is trust.
Happy marriages begin when we marry the ones we love, and they blossom when we love the ones we marry.
Marriage is like a violin. After the beautiful music is over, the strings are still attached.
You don't develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.
Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate.
-Barnett R. Brickner
Marriage is not a noun; it's a verb. It isn't something you get. It's something you do. It's the way you love your partner every day.
-Barbara De Angelis
A good marriage is one which allows for change and growth in the individuals and in the way they express their love.
-Pearl S. Buck
The art of love ... is largely the art of persistence.
Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, and half shut afterwards.
A deaf husband and a blind wife are always a happy couple.
We come to love not by finding a perfect person but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.
The goal in marriage is not to think alike, but to think together.
-Robert C. Dodds
A long marriage is two people trying to dance a duet and two solos at the same time.
-Anne Taylor Fleming
Love seems the swiftest but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.
-- Mark Twain
Marriage isn't supposed to make you happy - and satisfied. It's your job to make your marriage happy - and satisfying. Same goes for sex. It isn't supposed to make you passionate and "hot". It's up to you to make it passionate and "hot" - and intimate.
-- Diane Sollee
Motto for the bride and groom:
We are a work in progress with a lifetime contract.
-- Phyllis Koss
Our wedding was many years ago. The celebration continues to this day.
-- Gene Perret
The bonds of matrimony are like any other bonds - they mature slowly.
-- Peter De Vries
The more you invest in a marriage, the more valuable it becomes.
-- Amy Grant
There is such pleasure in long-term marriage that I really would hate to be my age and not have had a long-term marriage. Remember, sustaining a pleasurable, long-term marriage takes effort, deliberateness and an intention to learn about one another. In other words, marriage is for grown-ups.
-- Cokie Roberts, From This Day Forward
We all have a childhood dream that when there is love, everything goes like silk, but the reality is that marriage requires a lot of compromise.
-- Raquel Welch
What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.
-- Leo Tolstoy
When asked his secret of love, being married fifty-four years to the same person, he said, "Ruth and I are happily incompatible."
-- Billy Graham
You don't marry one person; you marry three:
the person you think they are,
the person they are, and
the person they are going to become
as a result of being married to you.
-- Richard Needham
What a concept.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
-- Kahlil Gibran
I have no way of knowing whether or not you married the wrong person, but I do know that many people have a lot of wrong ideas about marriage and what it takes to make that marriage happy and successful. I'll be the first to admit that it's possible that you did marry the wrong person. However, if you treat the wrong person like the right person, you could well end up having married the right person after all. On the other hand, if you marry the right person, and treat that person wrong, you certainly will have ended up marrying the wrong person. I also know that it is far more important to be the right kind of person than it is to marry the right person. In short, whether you married the right or wrong person is primarily up to you.
-- Zig Ziglar
Love is what you've been through with somebody.
Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they
are always watching you.
The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.
If the marriage ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
The heart of marriage is memories.
I was talking to a friend who said she wants her children to be able to look back and
say, "I want a great marriage like my Mom and Dad had." That struck me. I think we have a good marriage but do we put each other down sometimes? Yup. Do I snap at him for silly reasons? Yup. Do we seem really happy to our kids? Not sure. I hope so.
My dad told me on the day of my wedding, 'Never go in a place that you wouldn't take your wife.'
-David Gibbs, Mt. Juliet, TN, married 51 years
We heard this at a wedding: 'If you are going to argue, argue naked.'
-Peg and Harry Williams, Nashville, TN
My dad always asks my wife, "Is he treating you right?" It reminds me of my responsibility to be a good husband.
-National Fatherhood Initiative
We took our time [preparing for marriage], we looked forward to it; didn’t want to run into something and have nothing to count on but love...”
-Aunt May, Spider-Man 3, 2007
A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
Ann Meara of the comedy team Stiller and Meara observed awhile ago in a New York Times interview of her 30-plus year marriage, "Was it love at first sight? It wasn't then - but it sure is now."
-Ann Meara, New York Times
There is nothing more admirable than two people who see eye-to-eye keeping house as man and wife, confounding their enemies, and delighting their friends.
-Homer, 9th century BC
‘Borrowed’ from Pittman: Why is it that people get married? Because we need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet. 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, every day. You’re saying “Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed - because I will be your witness.”
-Wife in the movie, "Shall We Dance?" 2004
I knew couples who’d been married almost forever – forty, fifty, sixty years. Seventy-two, in one case. They’d be tending each other’s illnesses, filling in each other’s faulty memories, dealing with the money troubles or the daughter’s suicide, or the grandson’s drug addiction. And I was beginning to suspect that it made no difference whether they’d married the right person. Finally, you’re just with who you’re with. You’ve signed on with her, put in a half
century with her, grown to know her as well as you know yourself or even better, and she’s become the right person. Or the only person, might be more to the point. I wish someone had told me that earlier. I’d have hung on then; I swear I would.”
-Anne Tyler, "A Patchwork Planet"
I now think of marriage like I think about living in my home state of Minnesota. You move into marriage in the springtime of hope, but eventually arrive at the Minnesota winter, with its cold and darkness. Many of us are tempted to give up and move south at this point, not realizing that maybe we’ve hit a rough spot in a marriage that’s actually above average. The problem with giving up, of course, is that our next marriage will enter its own winter at some point. So do we just keep moving on, or do we make our stand now – with this person, in this season? That’s the moral, existential question we face when our marriage is in trouble.
What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined for life - to strengthen each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent, unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting.
-George Elliott (aka Mary Anne Evans), Adam Bede
There is such pleasure in long-term marriage that I really would hate to be my age and not have had a long-term marriage. Remember, sustaining a pleasurable, long-term marriage takes effort, deliberateness and an intention to learn about one another. In other words, marriage is for grown-ups.
-Cokie Roberts, From This Day Forward
It's you I like,
It's not the things you wear.
It's not the way you do your hair,
But it's you I like.
The way you are right now
The way down deep inside you
Not the things that hide you
Not your diplomas...
They're just beside you.
But it's you I like,
Every part of you,
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings,
Whether old or new.
I hope that you'll remember
Even when you're feeling blue,
That it's you I like,
It's you yourself, it's you
It's you I like!
Dear Abby: Some months ago, you printed a letter from a reader who was disturbed that the spark was gone from her marriage. I asked my husband whether the spark is gone from our 18-year marriage. His response: "A spark lasts only a second. It lights a fire. When the flame burns down, we are left with the hottest part of the fire, the embers, which burn the longest and keep the fire alive."
-Betty in Cap May, N.J.
There is a saying in social research, ‘A mother is a mother all of your life, but a father is a father only when he has a wife,’ ”
-Leah Ward Sears,
chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court
Marriage orients men and women toward the future, asking them not just to commit to each
other but to plan, to earn, to save, and to devote themselves to advancing their children's prospects.
-Daniel Patrick Moynihan
According to an internationally known market research company, Iconoculture, a long time first marriage say, 25 years or more, has become a status symbol in corporate America.
-The Wall Street Journal, March, 1999
Getting married is a way to show family and friends that you have a successful personal life. It's like the ultimate merit badge.
The Marriage-Go-Round, 2009
Interviewer: "For so long you were the poster boy for American bachelorhood. Now that you've settled into a marriage, do you find monogamy difficult?" Warren Beatty: "No. I would imagine that marriage without it is difficult."
-NY Times Sunday Magazine, Oct 1, 2006
Monogamy has much to offer. We should trumpet its benefits far more loudly in
sex-education classes and teen magazines. The chastity pledge 'Just say no'
has failed to catch on; 'Just with you' should be an easier sell.
-Cristina Odone, The Observer
A happy wedlock is a long falling in love.
The divorce rate would be lower if instead of marrying for better or worse
people would marry for good.
He who finds a wife finds what is good.
In a good relationship people get angry, but in a very different way. The Marriage Masters
see a problem a bit like a soccer ball. They kick it around. It's 'our' problem.
-John Gottman, PhD,
on observations at his U. of Washington "Love Lab"
It is necessary but insufficient to stay married for the children's sake. It is also necessary to stay happily married for the children's sake. I'm so glad someone noticed that marriage doesn't have to make you miserable. It is just so easy to be happy I don't understand why it isn't more popular.
If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.
-Winnie the Pooh
When it comes to marriage, the more you focus on the bad stuff, the more you focus on the bad stuff.
People think they have to find their soul mate to have a good marriage. You're not going
to "find" your soul mate. Anyone you meet already has soul mates. Dozens of them. Their mother. Their father. Their lifelong friends. You get married, and after 20 years of loving,
bearing and raising children, meeting challenges - then you'll have "created" soul mate status.
The success of marriage comes not in finding the "right" person, but in the ability of both partners to adjust to the real person they inevitably realize they married.
The development of a really good marriage is not a natural process. It is an achievement.
-David and Vera Mace
Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.
The challenge is to help couples turn "I Do" into "We Can."
-Scott Stanley, prepinc.com
If you didn't want to be improved, you shouldn't have gotten married.
-Nancy (Mrs Scott) Stanley
It's true what they say – all the good men are married. But it's marriage that makes them good.
-Gay Talese, Thy Neighbor's Wife
And, on the case for finding Mr. or Ms. right, the case for pacing and a 2-year courtship:
There was a study about children, marshmallows and delayed
gratification. Researchers found that children who can delay
gratification by saving marshmallows until a later time turn out to be
happier and better adjusted later in life. We feel better when we are
in control of our desires and, particularly, our behaviors.
The temptation is to have it NOW. One man wrote to me and said:
I have learned that everything in life is instant gratification. I
just don't know the instant it will happen. So I just do what is
in front of me to do, be patient, and wait for that instant.
-Steve Goodier's Life Support Blog
Both men and women live longer, happier, healthier and wealthier lives
when they are married. Unmarried co-habitation doesn't cut it. Cohabitation
does not bring the benefits - in physical health, wealth, and emotional wellbeing
- that marriage does. And, married people have both more and better sex
than do their unmarried counterparts.
What I realize as I get older is that Michelle is less concerned about me giving
her flowers than she is that “me doing things that are hard for me — carving out time.
That to her is proof, evidence that I’m thinking about her. She appreciates the flowers,
but to her romance is that I’m actually paying attention to things that she cares about,
and time is always an important factor.
-Barack Obama, Ebony, 2/2007
Perhaps the most unfortunate and damaging phrase for women's well being ever to catch hold is Steinem's "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." Who can blame men riding off on their bikes - waving and smiling as they head off for a bit more fishing. We need desperately to correct that. We need to say, "I want you and I need you - right here by my side raising these kids. Get off the damn bicycle and stay right here."
Gloria Steinem once said a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. That’s nonsense!
Isolation – not just physical isolation but emotional isolation – is traumatizing for human beings, men and women.
Marriage is not just spiritual communion; it is also remembering to take out the trash.
I often wonder when the wedding couple will realize just how much hard work they've taken on by consecrating that quirky emotion called love into the formal tie of marriage.
-Lois Smith Brady,
NY Times "Vows" columnist
In actuality, all marriages are "arranged" marriages whether they're arranged
by some website matchmaker, our parents, or by Mother Nature and her magic.
In each case you're matched up with someone you don't know and with whom
you need to – gradually and progressively – fall ever more deeply in love.
Smart Marriages Conference, 2001
As much as I would miss my wife if she were to die, I would miss what we are
together even more. Our "we-ness" our "us-ness."
-Carl Whitaker, family therapy pioneer
Once it's established that we are a team, I can demand of you and expect you to
demand of me. Life without pain is an addiction and the fantasy of perpetual happiness
is like the "delusion of fusion."
When it comes to marriage, we've been operating with good intentions, but terrible information. All that's about to change: the research shows anyone can learn how to have a Smart Marriage®. Welcome the new era: the Marriage Renaissance.
My grandmother had three sayings on her kitchen wall:
"It could be worse."
"It's a great life - if you don't weaken."
"We get too soon oldt, and too late schmardt."
I think this last one is where I got the idea for "Smart" Marriages®. The hope is to
help our youth get schmardt without having to learn the hard way - through
their own terrible marriage mistakes.
Love is a feeling, Marriage is a contract, and a Relationship is work.
-Lori Gordon, pairs.com
All those "and they lived happily ever after" fairy tale endings need to be
changed to "and they began the very hard work of making their marriages happy."
-Linda Miles, The New Marriage
Stephen Covey was asked after a speech about how to forgive someone who
has committed adultery. He said the question made him think of the old prayer,
"Oh Lord, let me forgive those who sin differently than I do."
-Stephen Covey, author
7 Habits of Highly Effective People
To get divorced because love has died, is like selling your car because it's run out of gas.
In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce.
The trick is to find, and continue to find, the grounds for marriage.
Some pray to marry the man they love,
My prayer will somewhat vary;
I humbly pray to Heaven above
That I love the man I marry.
-Rose Pastor Stokes (1879–1933), U.S. social worker. My Prayer.
If you made a list of reasons why any couple got married, and another list of the reasons for their divorce, you'd have a lot of overlap.
Marriage is a career, which brings about more benefits than many others.
-Simone de Beauvoir
Marriage is the foundation of the family and the family is the foundation of society: if we
strengthen marriage, we strengthen the family, we strengthen the children and we
strengthen the community. If your goal is to help improve the world, marriage is as good
a place as any to start.
Grand Rapids Family Summit, 1998
Marriage, families, all relationships are more a process of learning the dance rather than finding the right dancer.
Being married is like having a color television set. You never want to go back to black and white.
NPR "Story Corps" Morning Edition
To keep your marriage brimming, with love in the wedding cup, whenever you're wrong, admit it; whenever you're right, shut up.
When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.
People are often enamored with my Super Bowl ring. But it's my wedding ring
that I'm most proud of. And having a good marriage takes even more work
than winning a Super Bowl.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback
Marriage is our society's most pro-child institution. If you want kids to do well,
then you want marriage to do well.
There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or
company than a good marriage.
Marriage builds Community
Marriage is an important institution that builds community as much as it builds families. Authors, statesmen and researchers have much to say toward the support of marriage. Whether you agree with them or not, whether you are divorced or happily married, you cannot say that the state of our nation has gone unchanged in the last 30 years. With the advent of ERA and women’s right to work, right to abort their unborn babies, and right to (indeed their increasing ability and opportunity to) divorce their husbands, it has reached an all time high. Just because you can do a thing, doesn’t mean it is the best thing for you to do.
Of course I believe women in abusive relationships should get out of them. I am not advocating for loss of women’s rights, nor for women to continue being abused. However, both men and women who go into a marriage union without the proper commitment, with the idea that if it doesn’t work out, you can always get a divorce, does a disservice to themselves, their children, the families who support them, and to the greater society.
As a society we decided to not shame or blame unwed mothers. This effectively made it “a bit of alright” to have children out of wedlock. Perhaps unwed parents’ self esteem is in tact, but those same people who had the babies, are now noticing that they don’t have the resources to raise those babies. So, the community takes of or at least helps raise the babies. But, as research is find, children without both parents in a loving, committed marriage are doing more poorly in school, having a higher rate of drug and alcohol abuse and demonstrating a myriad of other learning and social discrepancies. Clearly, being in a committed marriage is a good thing for couples, for children and for our society.
When there is love in a marriage, there is harmony in the home; when there is harmony
in the home, there is contentment in the community; when there is contentment in the
community, there is prosperity in the nation; when there is prosperity in the nation,
there is peace in the world.
-Chinese proverb frequently quoted by David and Vera Mace
Optimism is America's birthright.... There is no social problem Americans
dare not attack. No problem, that is, except one: about marriage,
and marriage alone, we despair.
The happy State of Matrimony is, undoubtedly, the surest and most lasting Foundation
of Comfort and Love . . . the Cause of all good Order in the World, and what alone
preserves it from the utmost Confusion . . .
Rules and Maxims for Promoting Matrimonial Happiness, 1730
In the consumer culture of marriage, commitments last as long as the other
person is meeting our needs. We still believe in commitment, because we
know that committed relationships are good for us, but powerful voices
coming from inside and outside tell us that we are suckers if we settle for
less than we think we need and deserve in our marriage. Most baby boomers
and their offspring carry in our heads the internalized voice of the consumer
culture—to encourage us to stop working so hard or to get out of a marriage
that is not meeting our current emotional needs.
The Marriage Edge: As my daughter Elizabeth's wedding approaches, a thought has
come over me: their entire convoy of family and friends would not be trekking from all over the country to Minnesota for the celebration if they were simply moving in together. The launching of a marriage is light years different than launching a cohabitation.
Marriage is a promise. Not just between the couple but to
the community at large,to generations past and to those yet to be born.
Love the family! Defend and promote it as the basic cell of human society; nurture it as the prime sanctuary of life. Give great care to the preparation of engaged couples and be close to young married couples, so that they will be for their children and the whole community an eloquent testimony of God's love.
-Pope John Paul II, 2001
Isn't it time some real financial support was made available for the growth and
development of truly healthy and happy marriages?
-David Mace, 1982
Finally, preliminary research shows that marriage education workshops
can make a real difference in helping married couples stay together and
in encouraging unmarried couples who are living together to form a more
lasting bond. Expanding access to such services to low income couples,
perhaps in concert with job training and placement, medical coverage,
and other services already available, should be something everybody can agree on..."
Audacity of Hope, 2006, p.334
As we work to strengthen marriage on a societal level, we must not neglect our
own marriages. What good will it be for a man if he strengthens all the marriages
in the community and loses his own way?"
-Senator Bill Hardiman, chair,
Greater Grand Rapids Community Marriage Policy
They say it takes a village to raise a child. That may be the case,
but the truth is that it takes a lot of solid, stable marriages to create a village.
I'm not advocating for loveless marriages. But it's also the case that marriage
doesn't make us happy every day. No marriage does, but your marriage serves
as so much more than just a vehicle for immediate individual adult needs. It makes
one world for your child, and children will tell you that means everything to them.
Between Two Worlds
Society should try to help more children grow up with their two
biological, married parents in a reasonably healthy, stable relationship - not
to pay homage to a Victorian notion of propriety, but because the
overwhelming consensus of research shows that's the very best way to raise children.
Center for Law and Social Policy
The tenor of a marriage – or divorce – creates a kind of “emotional ecology” for children.
Just as a tree is affected by the quality of the air, water and soil in its
environment, the emotional health of children is determined by the quality of the
intimate relationships that surround them.
. . .even as parents obsessively strap bike helmets on their kids' heads and squirt antiseptic gels on their hands, the adults themselves cavalierly break up families with divorce and tolerate the rampant sexualization of prepubescent girls. In short, we're focusing on the wrong risks.
Nation of Wimps
A Step Parenting Rule: Generally, a woman can never love a man anymore than
her husband loves her children.
When almost 70 percent of children in a given community are born outside of marriage (as among African-Americans today) that's a tsunami blocking the intergenerational accumulation of human and social capital. So far, the silence about the issue among our leaders is deafening.
-Maggie Gallagher, Nov 2007
The increase in single-parent families—mostly due to unwed motherhood in the past few decades—accounts for virtually all of the increase in child poverty since 1970.
Congressional testimony, 1999
Successful treatment of domestic violence must restore the sense of father as protector for the well being of women, children, and society-at-large. Children do not need fathers to fight and die for them; they need fathers to live for them, to value them, and to value what they most value - their mothers. A father who truly protects his children cannot possibly hurt their mother.
Stepparents, remember this: Your partner will react to an act of kindness directed toward
their child as if you had extended two acts of kindness directly towards them (your partner). The same applies for an unkind act, but your partner is likely to react as if you had acted unkindly towards them (your partner) five times.
-Stepfamily Foundation of Alberta,
research study 2006
We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child--it's the courage to raise one.
-Barack Obama,Fathers Day 2008
Even with all its problems, I will support marriage as an institution
until something better comes along.
Institute for American Values
Marriage, the family unit, was the “original Department of Health, Education and Welfare.”
Marriage is a public good, not just a private relationship. We have a public stake
in healthy marriages and two-parent families. Our society suffers with the collapse
of the relationship of the couple who brings a child into the world.
-Bill Doherty, Ph.D
Take Back Your Marriage
The United States Administration for Children and Families (ACF) spends $46 billion per year operating 65 different social programs. If one goes down the list of these programs… the need for each is either created or exacerbated by
the breakup of families and marriages.
-Wade Horn, Assistant Secretary,
Administration for Children and Families (ACF/HHS) 2004
President George W. Bush has proposed, as part of welfare reform
reauthorization, the creation of a pilot program to promote healthy and
stable marriage. Participation in the program would be strictly voluntary,
and funding would be small-scale: $300 million per year.
This sum represents one penny to promote healthy marriage for every five
dollars the government spends subsidizing single parenthood. . . . The collapse
of marriage is the principal cause of child poverty in the United States. . .
Overall, some 80% of long-term child poverty in the United States is found among
children from broken or never-formed families.
-Robert Rector, 2003
(In 2006, Congress authorized $150 million a year for marriage
education pilot programs, so, for now, a 1/2 a penny will have to do.)
I am convinced that if we as a society work diligently in every other area of life and neglect
the family, it would be analogous to straightening deck chairs on the Titanic.
The effects of the decline of marriage on society are striking. The failure of
parents to marry and stay married leads to more crime, poverty, mental health
problems, welfare dependency, failed schools, blighted neighborhoods, bloated prisons,
and higher rates of single parenting and divorce in the next generation. Nearly every
major social problem has deep roots in the failure of adults to form and sustain healthy
marriages. There are other causes of these social problems, of course, such as economic
dislocations and the decline of civic life and social responsibility in the United States,
but the disconnection of childrearing from marriage ranks high on the list of what
ails our society and our communities.
-Bill Doherty, Philanthropy Roundtable, 2006
All children have the right to live in a two-parent, married family. Talk about a
Head Start Program - it's the kids with married parents that get the real head start.
Head Start Conference, 2001
We cannot renew our country when, within a decade, more than half of
our children will be born into families where there is no marriage.
-President Bill Clinton who in 1996,
signed the TANF welfare-reform bill that included among its goals "increasing the number of children living with their two married parents."
Eleven years as governor has not made me an expert in marriage nor has 30 years of marriage made me an expert. But 11 years as governor has made me somewhat of an expert on what happens when families fail. If you are married you are generally healthier, you have fewer emotional difficulties, your children are more likely to graduate from school and less
likely to be involved in deviant behavior.
-Gov Michael Leavitt, Utah
Divorce causes a decrease in wealth that is larger than just splitting a couple’s assets in half. By the same token, married people see an increase in wealth that is more than just adding the assets of two single people. On the other hand, divorce can devastate your wealth. Divorce drops a person's wealth by an average of 77%. Contrary to popular belief, the research shows that the wealth of divorced women wasn't significantly worse than that of divorced men, in terms of real money. If you really want to increase your wealth, get married and stay married.
Ohio State, Journal of Sociology, Jan 2006
As a country, we need to find a way to fund marriage-rescue help with 'insurance' or something. Marriage Insurance - what a concept! Marriage license fees could triple and they might cover such a thing! It could pay for the help couples need when their marriage is ailing or has crashed - pay for a Marriage Hospital.
Divorce Resource Center.com
Advocates of easy divorce say: How cruel it is to keep people tied
together when they are not happy! It's true that all restraints are in
a sense cruel, but without the sturdy fence, the bawling cattle in the
pasture would be destroying themselves in the green corn and damp
alfalfa. And so it is with the restraints on divorce.
Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, commissioner expressing
disapproval of changing from a 'fault-based' to a 'no-fault' system of divorce, 1970
Saying divorce is normal is like saying polio is normal, so let's just focus all our resources
on building a better iron lung – instead of spending money to develop a vaccine.
-Diane Sollee - USA Today, July 29, 2002