Marriage News

Are you you own worst critic?

This amazing video emphasizes how critical we can be of ourselves. How do you view yourself? How does your view of yourself affect your life and your relationships? Remember that you will never consistently live in a manner that is inconsistent with what you believe about yourself! 

What is the secret to a long marriage?

John and Ann Betar have been married since Nov. 25, 1932, and this year will mark their 81st wedding anniversary. John is 101 years old, and Ann is 97. The couple have five children, 14 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

Love keeps them together; wed 80 years and the sparks still there. The couple says there is no secret to maintaining a long marriage, but they do follow some simple rules. “We just live with contentment and we don’t live beyond our means,” said John Betar. “Just go with the flow.”

Read the entire NY Daily News article

A New Challenge to Marriage!

The explosion of technology along with the advent of social media has changed our lives in ways that could not have been imagined a generation ago. Carol Bartz, CEO of Yahoo, was fired over the phone. Bartz responded by sending out the following email to Yahoo employees from her iPad:

To all,

I am very sad to tell you that I’ve just been fired over the phone by Yahoo’s Chairman of the Board. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward.


Another area of concern is text messaging. The number of texting affairs is rising. What begins as innocent texting or emailing can quickly become an emotional affair. Bob Rosenwein of Lehigh University has found that people communicating online or via text message often fall for each other in about a week. That’s two or three times as fast — on average — as those courting face-to-face. “When you don’t have nonverbal communication, the likelihood of being able to disclose at a deeper level is greater, because there’s less inhibition,” Rosenwein says. “So it’s going to feel like a more intimate relationship.”

The emotional affair may not lead into a physical affair. However, it is important to recognize that the emotional part of the affair is often more damaging to the marriage than the physical part.

Facebook is king of the mountain when it comes to social media’s negative impact on marriage. Following are some of the results from recent web search of “Facebook and divorce:”

  • Facebook Causes Divorce
  • Facebook is the new cause of divorce
  • Facebook fuelling divorce, research claims
  • Experts Say Facebook Can Cause Divorce
  • Facebook a top cause of relationship trouble, say US lawyers

More than a third of divorce filings last year contained the word “Facebook,” according to a non-scientific U.K. survey. And more than 80% of U.S. divorce attorneys say they’ve seen a rise in the number of cases involving social networking, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Facebook was the main culprit, with 66 percent of lawyers saying the popular website was the main source of online divorce evidence among their clients.

“We’re coming across it more and more,” clinical psychologist Steven Kimmons of Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., said in a news release. “One spouse connects online with someone they knew from high school. The person is emotionally available and they start communicating through Facebook. Within a short amount of time, the sharing of personal stories can lead to a deepened sense of intimacy, which in turn can point the couple in the direction of physical contact.”

According to Desiree DiFabio (from her online article Textual Affairs: When text messaging goes wrong) here are some signs that the texting relationship is going too far:

  • Text messages are exchanged at irregular times (i.e., middle of the night, during a romantic dinner with spouse, on vacation)
  • The texter feels the need to respond to each text, so as not to let the conversation end, even if there is nothing left to say.
  • The texter’s message inbox is constantly empty, indicative of frequent message erasing.
  • The conversation of the texts is not one that would take place in person, perhaps flirty, suggestive, or too forward.
  • The texter doesn’t think that s/he converses with this particular person anymore than everyone else.
  • The person on the other end of the text seems to know quite a bit about the texter’s personal life.

K. Jason and Kelli Krafsky, co-authors of Facebook and Your Marriage, say that based on all their work in this field, there are eight top ways Facebooking spouses wreck their marriage on the popular social network.

  1. Traipsing down memory lane with an ex-flame: Finding an old crush, hook-up, or boyfriend/girlfriend on Facebook is really easy. Reaching out to a past love interest and reminiscing about the “good ‘ol times” recalls the feelings for one or both of the people.  The longer the jaunt down memory lane, the better the chances that an emotional or physical affair will occur.
  2. Letting Facebook dominate every waking moment of the day: The smart phone allows people to be a few thumb clicks away from Facebook and access their News Feed anyplace, anytime.  This in turn can feed an addictive personality and create a sort of co-dependency with the site.  Unrealistically comparing the new and exciting information people are posting online with the drab and boring life from one’s own real-time existence can create all kinds of problems.
  3. Airing dirty laundry via status updates: The “What’s on your mind” question in the Status Update box is there as a suggestion, not a command.  Relationships have good times and bad times. Using Facebook to announce marriage problems, debate marital issues or rant on a spouse is only going to make a conflicted relationship more “complicated”.
  4. Over sharing on relationship problems with others through chat: Divulging marriage issues through a private, real time interaction with someone other than your spouse creates intimacy with that person.  Depending on the motives of one or both people in the chat session, things can quickly evolve from sharing about a current, bad marriage to setting a foundation for staring a new relationship.
  5. Caring for online citizens in Cityville or virtual animals in Farmville more than real time family and spouse: Playing games on Facebook is wildly popular. The excitement of the online game, the notification of new resources to help advance in the digital game, and the exchange of items for the game can leave real-time families and spouses wanting time and attention.
  6. Flirting on public posts, pictures and profiles: Commenting is a part of the Facebook culture. Watching what you post (and how it comes across to others) is part of online etiquette. Ensuring that comments are not inappropriate is a part of personal decency.  Flirting with no one but your spouse is a part of fulfilling the wedding vows.
  7. Friending people who directly or indirectly threaten the marriage: The Facebook log in page says “Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.”  Depending on who the people in your past and current life are, this could be a good thing or a bad thing.  And if they have a negative effect on a marriage, it’s even worse.  These include, but are not limited to: exes, negative influences, flirts, wacky family members, and crude friends.
  8. Refusing to talk about what happens on Facebook with spouse: Facebook is no longer a topic for “water cooler” discussions, it is the water cooler.  If it is something everyone is talking about, and where people spend a considerable amount of time each day, why shut your spouse out of this part of your life?  Taking Facebook off the table for discussion indicates that there could be something that someone is hiding.  Stonewalling on Facebook (or any other issue) is fatal for a marriage.

It is my hope that this article will serve as a wakeup call and/or a timely reminder of the challenges that social media brings to maintaining a thriving marriage. It is one more challenge that the already besieged institution of marriage faces in our technology driven culture. It is a true statement that “social media doesn’t ruin marriages, people do.” Never before have we had the ability to communicate with so many people so quickly over such great distances. This greatly increases the ability to stay in touch but it also requires that we establish appropriate boundaries in our use of social media to protect our marriages.

An Amazing Video!

We recently came across this amazing video by Dr. Brené Brown. She is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Dr. Brown has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. Her scientific research affirms biblical teaching that we were designed to connection (relationship). She describes the effects of shame and the power of vulnerability.

Barely Half of U.S. Adults Are Married – A Record Low.

The following are excerpts from the December 14, 2011 Pew Research study.

“According to the Pew Research Center in 1960, 72% of all adults ages 18 and older were married; today just 51% are. If current trends continue, the share of adults who are currently married will drop to below half within a few years. Other adult living arrangements—including cohabitation, single-person households and single parenthood—have all grown more prevalent in recent decades.”

“Public opinion about marriage echoes the declining prevalence of marriage. In a 2010 Pew Research Center survey, about four-in-ten Americans (39%) said they agree that marriage as an institution is becoming obsolete. Back in the 70s, only 28% agreed with that premise.”

Cohabitation is the answer for 9.7 million heterosexual couples. How is that working for them and society?

  • There is 20 percent possibility that a first marriage would end in a divorce or separation within 5 years. There is 49 percent possibility that a premarital cohabitation would break up within 5 years
    After 10 years have passed by, there is 33 percent possibility that a first marriage would break up while a 62 percent possibility that a cohabitation would terminate
    40% of American babies are born outside of marriage with a large percentage being born to cohabiting couples
    There is a 62% possibility that the cohabiting couple will break up before their child is 10

What is the answer for those of us who believe that marriage is the foundation of our communities, our nation, and the church? We can strengthen marriages. Proactive is always better than reactive. We like stability but nothing in this life is stable, it is either growing or decaying. The same is true of marriage. Is yours growing or decaying?

Premarital counseling is my favorite counseling because I get to guide couples on the path to a thriving marriage. It is a lot easier than trying to resolve ten or twenty or forty years of problems. Unfortunately for most couples premarital counseling is the only marriage counseling they ever receive. Even though statistics show the effectiveness of premarital counseling in promoting healthy marriages, the main reason for being counseled is to fulfill the pastors requirement to be married.

Leading family therapists estimate that only 3 percent of couples ever seek therapy and usually only when there is a crisis. One study found that coupes in struggling marriages wait an average of six years after major deterioration starts to seek counseling. Often counseling is a last resort. By then the relationship and marriage may be so damaged that it is too late to restore.

One of the keys to a great marriage is to invest in making it great. Once a year attend a marriage seminar or go on a couple’s retreat. Or get a marriage counseling session or two. Some of the most enjoyable counseling I do is with couples that have good marriages and want to make them even better.

A new solution to divorce – NOT!

An October 4, 2011 CNN article reports that a Mexico City legislator has proposed a 2-year marriage dissolution option. The article states that “out of 33,000 couples who got married in the past two years in Mexico City, around 16,000 filed for divorce.” Therefore, why not change the life long commitment of wedding vows into a short term marriage “contract.”

According the author of the bill, “couples would sign a marriage contract that would last two years. Once that term was over, the couple would have the option to renew. The contract would specify if property is owned by both spouses or separately. It would also state who would get custody of the children, if any, and how benefits would be distributed.”

The purported advantages of the contract approach are the elimination of divorce costs, “additional protection for children whose parents split, whose needs are often overlooked in informal separations,” and protection for couples who rush into marriage. Although it was not listed in the article, an additional benefit would be an immediate decrease in divorce rates in Mexico City. What a novel approach. Replace marriage vows with a marriage contract. Substitute a two-year agreement for a life-long commitment. Call it an un renewed contract not divorce. Pretend that the children would be better cared for by the security defined in terms of the contract than in a stable nourishing environment of a healthy marriage.

At Marriage Connect we strongly believe that it is better to help couples create healthy marriages and strong families than to decrease divorce statistics by calling divorce by a different name. We believe that marriage is the foundation of society and that it is worth investing in and fighting for. We are convinced that while communication skills and marriage strategies can be helpful, skills and strategies alone rarely create lasting change that produces thriving marriages and healthy family relationships. Skills and strategies will never replace transformation of the heart.

Learn how you can help.

Read the full CNN article.