They say if you win an Oscar for best actor…and you’re female, you better start sizing up a new ring because if your marriage isn’t already on the rocks, it’s about to be. It’s the Oscar curse, and women who get one soon find themselves divorced.
I don’t know how true this really is; however, it may be beneficial for everyone to separate reality from any sort of scripted romance or idea of “love” that is fed to us through pop culture and Hollywood.
Those romantic comedies are entertaining, the dramas can tear at your heartstrings, but the best kind of marriage to have, in my humble opinion, is the real kind.
One that includes dirty dishes and different personalities, missed birthdays and belly laughing mishaps, things the whole world knows about (for better for worse), and those most precious things shared only between the two of you.
That’s where real lives.
And why, you may wonder, should anyone want to have a marriage at all…real or not?! With some statistics saying half of people who get married end up divorced, why would anybody want the heartache…or headache!
Statistics only tell part of a story and in this case, it may be very misleading. Most people tend to focus on that scary 50% number. Be forewarned: What you focus on expands, so watch your thoughts!
First, let’s consider those statistics: half of people who get married get divorced. That means half of them stay married!
I know. That’s my half-full optimism coming out. But what makes me more curious is the story behind the success. The ones who got up after being knocked down. How? Why? To what end? Was it worth it?
Then, when you dig a little deeper into the research and statistics you get a bigger sense of what is going on. Research shows those with more education tend to stay married, those whose parents are still married (to each other) tend to stay married; those who have been married more than a certain number of years stay married, and the distinctions go on.
This information suggests the 50% statistic is not set in stone. Things we do, or don’t do, can positively affect the success of your marriage.
You have control!
In fact, studies show good news in the world of marriage. The number of people choosing to stay married is on the rise!
You see, divorce rates peaked at 50% in the 1980’s and have been sliding down since then. It seems we are becoming more resilient and perhaps re-thinking the idea of a “disposable society” when it comes to people we promise to share a life with.
Also, for those with some education under their cap (graduate high school and earn a BA degree), over 70% will stay married to their first choice. Then, when you’ve made it beyond the first decade of marriage, your chance of sharing those golden years together increases dramatically.
What are some benefits of marriage? Studies show married couples
- Make more money
- Are more physically and emotionally healthy
- Have more sex than those “swinging” singles
- Live longer
So marriage, even though it may be the most challenging relationship you have in your entire life, may just be the thing which allows you to do and become all you can during your life journey.
But it’s not for the faint of heart because, it really can be tough. Tough because, in a real marriage you have to be, well, real. You can’t fake it or put on a show like you may have done while dating. You have an opportunity to discover someone at a deeper level. And sometimes, that can take the lustre out of the relationship.
Afterall, in our always on world of social media and not-so-reality shows, our real life can start to feel, kind of “less than”…what other people have.
But less than what is the real question.
What does a great marriage look like, after all? Do we see it on television or the big screen? Is it what we see reflected in snapshots online? Is it about the size of the diamond, the level of exotic in the vacation, the rooms in the house, or the number of shoes in your closet
Or, is about something else?
Could it be about something a little more ordinary like sharing goals, being friends, sharing secrets, exploring intimacy in the bedroom and diving even deeper as you discover each other’s soul, being silly, being free, being you, becoming “us” and “we” more often than “I” and “me.”
Could it be about the opportunity to discover life on a whole new level and in an entirely different way?
Not losing who you are…but becoming more than what you ever thought you could become.
Whether you’re in it, or searching for it, marriage is something worth pursuing…and protecting.
You protect it by observing and living the lessons of other successful couples who have gone before you:
- Friendship is important..very important
- A spiritual life helps keep things in perspective
- Be kind and be honest
- Play together
- Laugh together
- Be grateful
- Show gratitude
- Love…in the way God intended
- Praise in public; express any concerns in private
- Be spontaneous
- Be respectful
- Be sure the good moments outnumber the bad (the ratio is 5:1….really!)
- Limit the hours you watch television
- Have sex…often
- Be happy…it’s easier than you think
- Exercise (together) as often as possible
- Share an interest
- Allow some “me” time
- Have plenty of “us” time
- Build friendships with other married couples…successful marriages are contagious and that’s a good “germ” to spread around!
Another quality successful marriages have is they simply stay married. They endure. They thrive.
They are very clear about what’s important, and what’s not. And often, anything that’s not good for their marriage, ultimately, is not important.
They have the good fortune to stick with it even when, especially when, things seem impossible. It’s in those moments where the magic happens. You discover who you are individually and as a couple. The challenges are where strength, character, and grace are revealed and real love grows.
Do you have a love story you know of and want to share? Maybe it’s your own? Let me know…write for us!