Is it possible to have real love and passion in your marriage? Don’t people just get tired of each other and grow apart with time? Is monogamy realistic, or are we expecting something which is contrary to the way human beings are wired? Does sex get old and boring if you have the same partner for a lifetime? Is new sex better sex? Our culture keeps telling us marriage isn’t important, but let me tell you why marriage matters.
What if you’re recovering from the pain of an affair? Can you ever feel truly in love again? What does it take to get past the sadness? How do you rebuild trust? How can you forgive? Can a marriage be truly good again after an affair? If so what does it take? Most importantly, can YOUR marriage survive and come out even stronger on the other side?
Our culture questions marriage
People are asking why marriage matters, and the whole concept of marriage is being questioned by our culture. Some are becoming cynical and giving up, saying it’s unrealistic. Yet deep down, isn’t that what we all want? Don’t we all want a passionate and fulfilling marriage that includes a life partner who is our best friend? Someone we can share life’s ups and downs with?
An exhaustive study of today’s college students revealed this important truth: “They are desperate to have one and only one marriage, and they want it to be happy. They don’t know whether this is possible anymore.”-The Case For Marriage, Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher, Page 3
Let us leave aside personal bias and look at the facts on why marriage matters.
“The evidence from four decades of research is surprisingly clear: a good marriage is both men’s and women’s best bet for living a long and healthy life.”
– Linda Waite, The Case for Marriage, Page 64
The following is based on years of scientific research by Linda Waite (and other researchers), and are documented in her extraordinary book “The Case For Marriage”.
Why marriage matters statistically
- 93% of Americans rate having a happy marriage as one of the most important objectives.
- When men fail to be good husbands, they often fail to be good men.
- Being married (but not cohabitating – surprisingly) boosts your standard of living by a third.
- Married couples have better mental health and greater well-being than never-married, cohabitating, divorced and widowed.
- Professor Harold Morowitz of Yale University observed based on data collected in the Hammond report of 1963 (the one that resulted in the Surgeon General warning on all cigarette packages stating: Smoking is hazardous to your health) that divorce is as dangerous to a mans health as picking up a pack-a-day cigarette habit. (Linda Waite suggests perhaps condom packages should also contain a warning: Not being married can be hazardous to your health.)
- “Statisticians Bernhard Cohen and I-Sing Lee, who compiled a catalog of risks that increased chances of dying, concluded that for both men and women, “… being unmarried is one of the greatest risks that people voluntarily subject themselves to.”
- Studies revealed higher levels of depression among divorced people.
- Widowed and divorced persons are about three times as likely to commit suicide as married people.
- People who live together are less happy and less satisfied with their sex lives than married people. (This is research – not opinions.)
- People who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce later than those who don’t.
- Married people have more sex and better sex than singles do. (Based on extensive research – not someone’s opinion.)
- If more money is your aim, getting married (and staying married) makes it far more likely that you will attain that part of the American dream.
- The longer people stay married the greater their wealth accumulates.
- When a marriage ends, the same process that worked to build family wealth now work in reverse to drain the savings account. Everyone suffers, husband, wife and children.
- Getting and staying married is by far the best strategy for acquiring assets.
- According to research not only were married people more sexually satisfied than singles, but married people who attend church weekly and married people who strongly believe out-of-wedlock sex is wrong, were much more likely to be sexually satisfied than married people with less-traditional views.
The meaning behind partner attraction
According to marriage therapist and author Harville Hendrix in his imago theory: “it’s no coincidence that you’ve attracted your partner; that person is there to help you do the work of recovering from old wounds.”
Relationships are not solely a romantic pursuit, but a spiritual partnership that’s meant to change how you see yourself and the world. As my husband, Brian Bercht, likes to put it, “your marriage is meant to help you grow up,” and growing up is a good thing. We need to stop seeing relationships as nothing more than an act of selfishness. This me-ism philosophy is robbing people of experiencing the true love they so desperately long for in the deepest place of their hearts.
What does a good marriage mean?
A good marriage is not about finding your soul-mate, some magical person who alone can make you happy. (I wonder how many people who were sure they met their soul-mate retracted that statement a few years into marriage.) A good marriage is about learning to “be” the right person more so than about “finding” the right person. True love is about giving, not selfish gain. It involves sacrifice and commitment and those who find it experience the best life has to offer. Everything of value in life requires effort. You get out of life in direct proportion to the effort you are willing to put in.
A good marriage is not a coincidence, and it’s not about being lucky, it’s about learning the skills and principles that make a marriage work. We educate ourselves in every other area of life. Why do we think having good relationships will just happen? In school we teach our children everything except the one skill that could do more for their personal happiness and well-being than any other, and that’s how to have a happy marriage.
Are you going to leave your marriage to chance?
Use a crisis as an opportunity to grow
If you’ve had an affair in your marriage, are you going to just give up and quit? If you never loved your spouse, if your marriage has been miserable throughout its duration, then perhaps there’s no time like the present to get out. Not every marriage is salvageable after an affair. But if you and your spouse love each other, if you’ve shared happy years together, we suggest you use this crisis as an opportunity for growth. We did it and we’re not extra special. If we can do it, you can too. We’ll show you how.
In their book The Case for Marriage, Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher conclude:
“Marriage (not divorce) is the means to health, happiness, wealth, sex and long life. In love victory goes not to the half-hearted but to the brave: to those ordinary people who dare to take on the extraordinary commitment marriage represents.” Page 46, brackets mine.
Don’t hesitate. Find out more about our up and coming marriage seminars, because this is a place where you can learn how you can make your marriage work!
For information about confidential coaching with Brian or Anne click here