Category: Marriage


In a study from one of our favorite marriage data resources, state of our unions, we see the top 5 predictors of marital satisfaction and divorce proneness.

The Top Five Indicators Of Marital Satisfaction and Divorce Proneness Among Married Mothers and Fathers

In the Survey of Marital Generosity, the following factors are the best predictors of marital happiness and of not being prone to separation or divorce among today’s husbands and wives (aged 18–46) who have children in the home.

Wives

“Very Happy” in Marriage:

  1. Above-average sexual satisfaction
  2. Above-average commitment
  3. Above-average generosity to husband
  4. Above-average attitude toward raising children
  5. Above-average social support

Not Prone to Separation or Divorce:

  1. Above-average commitment
  2. Above-average sexual satisfaction
  3. Both spouses have above-average marital spirituality
    e.g., report God is at the center of their marriage)
  4. Above-average social support
  5. Wife has above-average marital spirituality

Husbands

“Very Happy” in Marriage:

  1. Above-average sexual satisfaction
  2. Above-average commitment
  3. Above-average generosity to wife
  4. Above-average attitude toward raising children
  5. Both spouses have above-average marital spirituality

Not Prone to Separation or Divorce:

  1. Above-average commitment
  2. Above-average sexual satisfaction
  3. Both spouses have above-average marital spirituality
  4. Both spouses attend religious services weekly or more often
  5. Above-average generosity to wife
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The Nature of Love

Actually there isn’t anything natural about the love that I’m going to talk about in this post. Maybe I should have titled today’s soapbox Loving Unnaturally

I was reflecting recently on some interesting exchanges that Tracy and I have had with a couple we ministered to through the Dance of Marriage. They are a really fun couple and are a pleasure to be around. As a matter of fact they could easily be the life of the party in most social situations. There are times though that the dynamic changes. When things aren’t fun anymore they often appear to be at a loss. Outside of fun there seems to be little peace, little patience, little kindness etc… It is like fun is a drug; then when the “fun” high wears off, the withdrawal begins and all bets are off. This couple is not alone in their struggle for harmony. Maybe you have felt the same.

I believe that our nature is often solely focused on the care and feeding of our feelings. It is only natural to pursue fun and self-satisfaction in life and also in our marriage relationship; we frequently see it in the dance partnership. It is very easy to spot a partnership where the dancers are dancing for their own benefit. Our society seeks almost desperately for the “fun” high and feelings of elation. But what happens when the ride stops? Realistically we could never live in perpetual fun; and wouldn’t life have little meaning if we were to try to?

How then can we find fulfillment in life and in relationships outside of a state of elation? I offer that there is only one possibility…, in love. And it is a type of love that is unnatural to us. This love is so filled with security that no matter what state of mind we find ourselves in, we will be at peace.

We can spend a lifetime learning to give and receive this type of love. Our relationships and especially our marriage provide the perfect vehicle for transporting this invaluable treasure. Please, the next time you experience a lack of fun in your relationship, consider it an opportunity to love. It might have an effect that is better than fun!

See you on the dance floor!

First off, Tracy and I would like to thank Family Life and Premier Christian Cruises for inviting us to join them for this innagural event. We can’t praise the leadership teams enough for the planning and effort that it took to produce such an incredible, and meaningful, week!

Secondly, you are going to want to be on the next one! The speakers on the cruise were all excellent. Each message was relavent and made a significant impact toward building a healthy and sustainable marriage. The music, comedy and other entertainment was of the highest quality!

We got a sneak peek of the ship, ports and some of the artists for next year…, wow! Count on Tracy and me to be encouraging every couple that we know to attend. Check out the video from this years cruise with video host Memphis Jones. Watch for Tracy dancing with Memphis!

While a pretty strong statement, this particular blogger offers that it is possible for dancing to…  Fix your marriage!

Tango on the High Seas

What could be more romantic than to waltz under the starlight on the deck of a cruise ship?  Or maybe dancing a late night Tango in a dimly lit nightclub is more your style.  Others may think moving to the rhythms of merengue and salsa music at a beach party sounds more like them.  It really doesn’t matter because it all sounds like fun doesn’t it?  Well then run, don’t walk, or simply surf on over to http://www.lovelikeyoumeanitcruise.com/ and join us and an unbelievable line up of presenters and performers for a fabulous 5-day cruise for Valentine’s Day 2011. 

FamilyLife & Premier Christian Cruises have partnered to bring you the first ever fully chartered Christian marriage cruise.  The hosts for this memorable event are Dennis & Barbara Rainey.  The list of other remarkable presenters and entertainers is too long to list here.  Simply click on the link above to explore the possibilities!

The Palmer’s will be bringing their unique combination of dance instruction and marriage enrichment to the party as well.  What could be more fun than holding your one and only in your arms as you learn a step or two at one of Stuart and Tracy’s enlightening and entertaining dance sessions?  The Palmer’s guarantee a pain free experience that is “better than therapy and much less expensive” according to one of their student couples!

You won’t want to miss this opportunity to invest in each other and Love Like You Mean It!

We’ll see you on the dance floor and at the beach!

Marriage in Paradise

Marital bliss, we’d all like to be there. But can it be a reality? Can we really get there? I suppose that depends on how you define marital paradise, bliss, nirvana etc…

The truth is paradise in marriage is not a destination constantly lit by a warm glow and filled with tummy tingles. While those things do exist they are not what most happily married couples would say keep them together after ten or more years of marriage. Once the hormones of the honeymoon are gone we have to actually work hard not to lose that loving feeling. Now that may seem obvious to many, but then why is our divorce rate so high? People really believe and say that they have fallen out of love! They actually expect to have the feelings of love forever. Sorry to be a killjoy, but in practice love is more of a verb than a noun.

So where is paradise found in marriage? Here is a short list-

  • When disagreements and simple conflicts don’t escalate to verbal warfare.
  • When we say or do something hurtful to our spouse and wish to apologize immediately.
  • When we’re genuinely interested in what our spouse has to say.
  • When being with our spouse is fun regardless of the activity.
  • When the things that once bugged us about them become meaningless.
  • When there seems to be a warm glow everywhere, and our tummy tingles… oops! I got carried away.

How do we get there as couples? I like to keep this list short, just two items-

  • Be a forgiver. If we believe that our spouse’s faults are bigger than our own; it is likely that we are not a good forgiver.
  • Be happily incompatible. Realize that the vast list of differences that we have actually benefits us. If we don’t embrace our differences as individuals we’re being self-centered.

My wife Tracy says that marriage is like a home improvement project that never ends. I like that for two reasons; the words improvement and never ends. Marriage is not the money pit home improvement project that sucks the life out of us. Like a good wine or investment it is something that improves over time. With the right attitude and some genuine effort we can have paradise in marriage. So bring on the tummy tingles ‘cause I’m all in!

Lesson One: Adaptation

Here is what you can expect at your first dance lesson together.

When you walk into the studio you’ll be walking as you would normally. You might be holding hands or maybe walking arm-in-arm, but it will feel very natural like you’ve been doing it for many years, which you have. It is much like when you were living on your own. There wasn’t anyone impeding or altering how you lived your life. You moved about with little or no thought to how you might be affecting someone else. You enjoyed a freedom only experienced solo. But everything changes when you start walking, dancing or living with someone, as you are about to see. 

Your instructor leads you onto the dance floor and says something comforting to relax you and then adds “You know, dancing is just like walking. The only difference is that you have to walk completely synchronized with another person in your arms while moving to the music and avoiding the other traffic on the dance floor.” At which point you forget the part about it being just like walking and start to worry about smashing your partners toes or something even more horrifying. Yes again, it is like your relationship or marriage; you are no longer able to live life without consideration for your partner. If you do, you’re going to step on your partners toes or, dare I say, even something more horrifying.

As you learn to move together on your first dance lesson or in life you’ll find yourself constantly adapting to your partners movement. Over time both partners will develop a sensitivity to the others nuances, quirks and habits. You’ll learn to hold each other in a consistent fashion and make your strides move in harmony. As you develop this ability to move together you will be rewarded with a sense of accomplishment, and probably require less bandaging or other medical attention. But remember that as partners you will most likely each learn at a different pace. This will require additional adaptation and adjustment.

As your first lesson comes to an end you breathe a sigh of relief. Hopefully you’ve experienced a little success and have adapted to moving in each others arms.  If not, don’t worry, you’re not trying to be Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. You’re just there enjoying each others company and investing in the quality of your relationship.

Until next time; see you on the dance floor!

Every Marriage Needs a Little Salsa

Sunset, mango salsa, live Latin music, my wife Tracy.  These are the ingredients for a perfect date for me.  Yes, I’m a man; and yes most of the time a woman would be more inclined to describe a perfect date with these ingredients.  The truth is, and every married man that takes his wife dancing knows what I’m about to say, husbands that dance get more…, respect.  Honestly, this one activity incorporated into date night exponentially helps my wife feel more loved.  And that leads to a number of fringe benefits. 

My wife and I have taught ballroom dancing as a vocation, and currently as an avocation, for many years.  We became professionals with the Arthur Murray Studios in our 20s and have never lost the love that we have for teaching dance.  And after all these years we continue to see that couples who dance together generally have better relationships and deeper intimacy.  Not only that, but just about every couple we’ve taught proclaims that learning to dance together parallels learning to have a better relationship.  And it’s true; the couples that look the best on the dance floor have learned to be better partners.  They understand their individual roles and know how to enhance their partnership.  “They move as one” is often how you hear their dancing described.  “Moving as one” is a great way for a marriage or significant relationship to be described.  And just like learning to dance, it isn’t easy.  It takes understanding and intentionality to become a better partner.  It also takes practice.  Practice doesn’t make perfect but it does make permanent. 

If you’re looking for a way to light the fire in your relationship or simply turn up the heat; I recommend that you add the right ingredients.  Swing, Salsa, Tango, Rumba and Waltz mix very well together!  But don’t forget to add the other romantic touches as well.  Your commitment will be well rewarded.  We’ll see you on the dance floor and at the marriage retreat!

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