Love and Marriage

People always believe they are in love at the moment they become engaged and at the moment the officiant pronounces them husband and wife. Often they are right, and their strong, almost intoxicating belief carries them for many years. Yet our divorce statistics are all too sobering: the marriage rate keeps falling (down to 7.5 per 1,000 in 2005), and the divorce rate has also been falling slightly to 3.6 per 1,000, the lowest rates since the peak in 1981 (5.3 per 1,000). This still means that slightly less than half of the couples who marry will divorce.

Only 63% of American children grow up with both biological parents—the lowest figure in the Western world. About 44% of custodial mothers and 56% of custodial fathers are either separated or divorced. In 2002, the latest year for accurate numbers, 7.8 million Americans paid $40 billion in child and/or spousal support. 84% were males. The new census may yield better numbers, but how fast can these sad statistics change?

So why, on a wedding officiant site, would I announce these sobering data? Because for you it does not need to be this way. You have choices to make, and if you make the right ones, you can maximize your love and your marriage. You can defy the statistics.

Love is the child of freedom, never that of domination. (Erich Fromm)

Love, and be patient with yourself to let love in. If you find yourself thinking about your love and what you are getting out of it, think again. Consider what love you are giving to better understand what you are getting. The love you take is equal to the love you make. (Beatles)

Love is wanting what you have, not having what you want. (Jaci in Alaska — an on-line love story)

I love you, not for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. (Roy Croft)

Love is not a matter of counting the years; it’s making the years count. (Wolfman Jack Smith)

Love creates an “us” without destroying a “me”. (Unknown)

Marriage is a partnership and must be nurtured. The most successful partnerships are those that average out to be a 50:50 relationship. Here’s how: A couple who would be partners understands that they each, as individuals, brings unique skills to the marriage. No decisions can be effective if two partners can’t agree, so they divvy up decision-making so that each, according to their skills, “owns” 51% of certain decisions. If Mary is a banker and George is skilled at woodworking, then Mary may own a 51% stake in money questions and George may own 51% in how to fix the house decisions, and so on. The marriage averages out to be 50:50, but no single decision ends in a tie when one of them owns 51% of the vote. Of course, they discuss each issue openly and honestly, but there will be no ties in making the decision. Will it work for you? Give it an honest try and see.

Your day, your way!