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How can I save my marriage? Seek faith, family and friends.

Results of a study from the National Marriage Project help point the way for husbands and wives who ask, “How can I save my marriage?”

The study, released this month, looked at what it took to have a successful marriage among those were parents. Regardless of whether a couple has children, the study provides insight into what a successful marriage requires.

About happy marriages, psychotherapist Stacy Kaiser says:

 

Thimonth, the National Marriage Project released the results of a study of married men and women with children. Their goal was to pinpoint common traits shared by those who have managed to successfully combine marriage and parenthood. Most of the factors the researchers drew from their study are applicable to every marriage, whether or not there are children involved.
The traits that researchers found were shared by the happiest couples are a combination of “traditional” values as well as concessions to a more modern view of relationships. The “traditional” factors include religious faith, commitment, support of friends and family, a sound economic foundation provided by a good job, and quality family time. A few of the more “modern” factors are shared housework, good sex, marital generosity, date nights, and having a college degree.
None of these finding are particularly earthshaking, in fact, much of it may seem as if it is common sense. Like so many things in life, we often know what really works and what we should do, but that doesn’t mean we actually do it! I believe that if everyone in an intimate relationship took the time and energy to heed many or all of the findings in this report, there would be a lower divorce rate, stronger relationships and happier people overall. I also believe that we need to strike a reasonable balance between the values of past generations versus modern expectations of marriage — exactly what the study suggests.
In my experience, I have noticed that today’s couples do not want to have a relationship based on traditional “old-fashioned” values. Most typically stress to me that they do not want to be like their parents and grandparents — staying in a marriage for the long haul, even when desperately unhappy. Because they refuse to be “stuck” in that position, the pendulum has swung in in the opposite direction. The result is couples who struggle with ill-defined roles in terms of everything from who earns the paycheck to who does the housework. It has also led to the fairly recent phenomenon of “starter” marriages – those who divorce at the first sign of trouble. I see a generation of people who tend to struggle with commitment. I don’t mean commitment solely in terms of infidelity and betrayal, though plenty of both goes on. I am talking about a sense of commitment to the person you chose to marry and the commitment you made to keep your marriage growing and happy through every stage.
Exploring how to sustain a happy marriage for a lifetime has been a topic that I have been talking about as long as I can remember. In my book ‘How to be a Grown Up’ I talk about the 4 C’s of a quality relationship, which are my personal foundational principles for any good relationship:
Consider your partners feelings, thoughts and desires;
Compromise as often as you can;
Comfort your partner when he or she is in pain, even if you are the cause of their distress;
Compliment daily — it lifts people up, puts a smile on their faces, counteracts insecurities and it simply feels good.
Like the results of this study, the 4 Cs are pretty much common sense. But in today’s busy, rushed and complicated world, I have found that often times the greatest success comes from sticking to the basics. Make your parter and your marriage a priority, and encourage the same in return. Both of you will be left with something fulfilling and long lasting. Isn’t that what you planned on when you got married in the first place?

How can I save my marriage?The traits researchers found that were shared by the happiest couples are a combination of traditional values that make concessions to modern views. The traditional factors include religious faith, commitment, support of friends and family, a sound economic foundation provided by a good job and quality family time. A few of the more modern factors are shared housework, good sex, marital generosity, date nights and having a college degree.

None of these finding are earthshaking. Like so many things in life, we often know what really works and what we should do, but that doesn’t mean we actually do it! If everyone in an intimate relationship heeded the findings in this report, there would be a lower divorce rate, stronger relationships and happier people overall.

Christian husbands and wives hold the first key to a successful marriage in their faith. And this study also seems to point to something else: that it’s important for us not only to work to make our own marriages strong, but also to support others in their marriages.

In light of this research, Kaiser recommends:

  • Consider your partner’s feelings, thoughts and desires;
  • Compromise as often as you can;
  • Comfort your partner when he or she is in pain, even if you are the cause of their distress;
  • Compliment daily — it lifts people up, counteracts insecurities and it simply feels good.

 

Kaiser’s tips are common sense, even by her own admission. But common sense is common sense for a reason, isn’t it?

“How can I save my marriage?” For Christian husbands and wives, it seems, strengthening commitment to faith will help provide a solid foundation.

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