Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Married for Life

This weekend (August 17) my wife and I celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. I feel that is something special because of the high divorce rate in this country today. We managed to buck the trend and stay married, thanks to the grace of God and my wife’s patience. Why do so many marriages not survive today?

Marriage has worked reasonably well for thousands of years. What seems to be the problem now? Why is there a 50% divorce rate? I think one major factor is that life has changed significantly in the past 50 years. There seems to be a lot more stress and pressure, and it takes its toll on relationships. Some of that stress is self-inflicted: we work harder and harder for the “good things” in life, we try to do it all and have it all, getting into debt more than we should.

The number one reason for disagreements within a marriage is money problems. Many couples are seriously in debt immediately upon getting married, mainly because of the expensive wedding. Average cost is $30,000. Others get into debt very quickly because they have to have that expensive house, plus the big SUV and the BMW in the driveway.

Also, people are incredibly busy, either trying to make money, or seeking some sort of fulfillment. The kids are involved in a hundred different activities, all of which require you to drive them someplace. To keep our marriages on track, we must to try to reduce the stresses in life to whatever extent we can.

One way to do that might be to put off that new purchase so that we don’t become overextended financially. We should also look at our marriage as a safe sanctuary, where discussions can take place in a partnership environment rather than in a confrontational mode.

A good way to keep our marriages on track is to work to reduce the stresses in life by working as a team, realizing that there will have to be compromise. That means working together for the common long-term good of the family, maybe having to make some sacrifices, and relying on God for guidance.

More on the topic of marriage in a future post.

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