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Monday, April 2, 2012

A Facebook ad recently caught my eye. Next to a picture of a broken heart were these words: “Divorced? Get your wife back. It’s easy, just follow the video instructions.” Of course the link was to one of the many sites/products promising instant and easy “marriage miracles.”

You have probably heard or seen other similar ads: lose weight without changing your eating habits, get out of debt without reducing your lifestyle, get a sculpted body in five minutes a day, win the lottery, get rich quick.

Everybody is offering easy, pain-free fixes for the worst of life’s problems.

Something for Nothing

Something-for-nothing promises are everywhere. Some would say they play on our hopes and optimism. Others would say they play on our laziness and sense of entitlement. It’s probably some of both.

Don’t be fooled by the hype! Building an intimate, passionate, enduring marriage takes effort. It will cost you, and it will require you to make sacrifices. Sometimes you‘ll have to lay down your rights for the sake of your relationship. A great marriage requires you to be diligent and attentive to your spouse, to be purposeful in how you do your marriage.

When it comes to marriage, as for so many other important things in your life, you get out of it what you put into it.  It's a little like the spiritual principle of "you reap what you sow."

No it’s not easy, but it is so very worth it!

The Payoff

What are the long-term benefits of investing consistently in your marriage?

In a 2009 study published by the American Psychological Association, author Bianca Acevedo explains that long-term marriages that are able to maintain intensity, engagement and sexual interest are associated with overall well-being and high self-esteem, in addition to marital satisfaction.

In short, a good marriage is good for you!

According to the APA study, the key to keeping that romance alive is simple: hard work. No, simple is not the same as easy.  “Research has suggested these couples spend time and really care about the relationship; they seem to be able to resolve conflicts relatively smoothly,” said Acevedo.

The Lie of Inevitable Decline

There’s a popular misconception that long-term marriage is a path to inevitable decline in passion and intimacy. There’s a belief that the fiery love of early marriage fades eventually into a safer, more comfortable kind of relationship. I call it the “roommate syndrome.” Don’t believe it.

The same APA study quoted above challenges the roommate syndrome. By examining a number of prior marriage studies, they found significant evidence that what they referred to as romantic love (consisting of intensity, engagement and sexual interest) can be maintained for the long haul. They challenge the assumption that romantic love cannot endure, and point to this prevalent notion as being to blame for so many “status quo” relationships. "It's to be expected."

Some couples are satisfied with barely avoiding divorce “for the sake of the kids.” But how much better would it be for the kids to see their parents passionately, demonstrably in love? We are seeing what happens to married roommates once the kids are gone by way of the recent significant increase in divorce rates among empty nesters.

Could a culture chock-full of vibrant marriages reverse the widespread societal discouragement over marriage, with its accompanying decline in the marriage rate and dramatic increase in cohabitation and out-of-wedlock births? 

I think so.  Do you?

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Did you know that Journey to Surrender has a Facebook page! It’s got lots of extra  marriage-related stuff like videos, links, news stories, and conversations not found on my blog. Come on over and let’s meet up!


Jan Stevens said...

This is a great post, Scott! And I agree. No matter what people might say about relationships being easy, making them last and grow into strong, mature relationships full of love takes hard work -- harder than most of us would imagine -- but it is completely worth it!

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