I recently ran across a group on Facebook called, "I Love My Husband." It encourages women to publicly proclaim their affection for their partners. I love that this group exists because marriage often gets a bad rap.
Let's face it-at times a marriage can feel more like a business partnership than an exciting plot in a romance film. If not fostered, the spark that brought a couple together in the first place can quickly dwindle, being trumped by the stresses of finances, work and children.
A recent study by the Creighton University Center for Marriage and Family found that for married couples ages 29 and under, the greatest concerns were these:
- Debt brought into the marriage by one or both partners
- The couples' finances
- Balancing jobs and family
- Frequency of sex
Couples 30 and over shared with their younger counterparts the concerns of balancing jobs and family and frequency of sex, but they added another problem area-constant bickering and expectations about household tasks.
According to Dr. Ted Huston, professor of human ecology and psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, another factor that contributes to divorce is "disillusionment." Lovers initially put their best foot forward, ignoring each other's shortcomings. But after they tie the knot, hidden aspects of their personalities emerge, and idealized images give way to more realistic ones. This can lead to disappointment, loss of love and, ultimately, divorce. Huston says couples are most vulnerable to disillusionment when their courtship is brief.
Although all married couples eventually lose some of that honeymoon euphoria, those who remain happily married don't consider this a crushing blow. Instead, they see it as a natural transition from"œromantic relationship" to "working partnership."
The following are factors that predict marital satisfaction, according to Dr. Jeffry Larson of Brigham Young University's Family and Marriage Therapy Program.
- Similarity of values
- Long acquaintanceship
- Good communication skills
- Good conflict resolution skills and style
- Older age at marriage
- Healthy family of origin experiences
- Happy parental marriage
- Parents' and friend's approval of the relationship
- Significant education and career preparation
Most of us can agree that marriage is one of the most gratifying and difficult of all human relationships. While none of these traits alone guarantees a successful marriage, giving serious consideration to these factors that predict marital satisfaction is a good way to navigate the joys and challenges of married life.
If you find your marriage needs a tune-up or even a complete re-haul, RMH Behavioral Health can help by offering confidential couples counseling. Contact RMH Behavioral Health at 564-5960 for more information.
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