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In Marriage, Will Love Really Keep You Together?


A new study has revealed what happy couples have, perhaps, known all along: It takes more than love to keep a marriage strong and thriving. Other factors, such as age difference, children from a previous relationship, smoking habits and parents’ relationship history, all play a significant role in the success of marriages.


Love, it turns out, is not always enough to keep your marriage strong.

The study, called “What’s Love Got to Do With It, “ followed nearly 2,500 couples for six years and issued the following detailed findings on the longevity of marriages:

  • As the age gap widens, so does likelihood for divorce: A husband who is nine years or older than his wife is twice as likely to get a divorce
  • Bringing children into the marriage: One-fifth of the couples with kids from a previous relationship or current relationship separated compared to the nine percent of couples who didn’t bring children into the marriage
  • Women who desired to have children much stronger than their partner were in a higher bracket for divorce
  • Parent’s marital past: 16 percent of couples whose parents were separated or divorced went through the steps of marital separation themselves
  • Number of marriages: Partners finding themselves in a second or third marriage were more likely to separate than those in their first marriages
  • Money and unemployment: Nearly 16 percent of the couples struggling from financial difficulties or unemployment issues had separated
  • Up in smoke: In marriages where one was a smoker and one wasn’t odds were stacked against the longevity of the relationship

Most people when getting married think about loving each other always and growing old together, but that’s not always what happens. Being aware of common marital problems that can ultimately end in divorce is taking a proactive approach to keeping your marriage healthy. Communication or lack of is one of the leading contributors to marriage breakdown and miscommunication. Below are the top 10 reasons couples find themselves under heavy marital strain that often leads to divorce.

The 10 Leading Divorce Issues

  • Infidelity: Nearly a third of divorces fall under this category and over half of broken marriages have experienced some kind of adultery. Most adultery is the result of resentment or anger with the spouse and sexual boredom.
  • Poor Communication: Inability to hold a meaningful conversation is a quick route to communication breakdown in marriages. In some situations the spouse may become verbally abusive and may only know how to communicate through dysfunction. In these situations, it’s best to seek out a professional mental health provider.
  • Physical, Psychological or Emotional Abuse: Signs of physical abuse include violence, fighting, manhandling or physical bullying of an individual. Psychological and verbal abuse can consist of verbal insults, taunting, humiliation, intimidation and constant negative reinforcement.
  • Financial Strain: Financial problems are one of the most common reasons for divorce or breakdown of the family. Disagreements frequently ensue over money allocation and how to spend it.
  • Sexual and Intimacy problems: When sex drives begin to fall out of synch with one another, the incompatibility of the couple is magnified.
  • The Seven-Year Itch: It’s a known fact that couples naturally grow apart or simply become bored of one another after a certain amount of time.
  • Religious and Cultural Differences: Couples of different cultures, ethnicity or religion may find themselves having to conform to their partner’s lifestyle and in turn begin to grow resentful.
  • Child Rearing Views: Differing opinions on issues such as where to send the child to school or how to deal with a child’s specific behavior is enough to initiate divorce proceedings.
  • Addictive Personalities: An addiction is defined as any behavior done compulsively, so this goes beyond drugs and can extend to food, gambling, the Internet and games. These addictions can impede the ability to function on a daily basis and is another reason for divorce as it affects the priorities of the marriage.
  • Unfulfilled Expectations: This is when one partner realizes how different their partner really is after they walk down the aisle. It can also be a situation where priorities change drastically due to a change in life priorities such as severe medical problems or deaths in the family.

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How to Keep Your Marriage Strong

As struggles among families exacerbate with the ever-changing and unstable economy it’s now more important than ever to maintain a strong foundation in marriage. Both partners need to work together to maintain a healthy and happy marriage. Here are some helpful tips to maintaining a successful and long-lasting marriage:

  • Keep communication lines open

Good communication is essential to any marriage and communicating openly and honestly about finances, children and your feelings will build a strong bond between the two of you. Don’t expect your partner to be a mind reader. Talk to them and let your feelings be known.

  • Connect with your spouse with physical touch

A touch on the shoulder or back, hugs and kisses are all forms of staying connected with each other and can make a big difference in the strength of your relationship.

  • The art of forgiveness

Forgiving your spouse is a way of saying that you know nobody is perfect, including yourself, and that you understand everyone makes mistakes. Forgive, pick up where you left off and move on with life.

  • Earning and building trust

Keeping an open and honest relationship with your spouse naturally builds the trust factor. It also is representative that you are supportive of your spouse, believe in them and encourage them to accomplish their goals and dreams.

  • Don’t forget to take time for yourself

Establish and keep your own personal goals and dreams and continue to pursue them so you don’t risk losing your individuality. This will help keep you grounded and maintain self-fulfillment.

Recommended Reading

Are You at Risk of an Unnecessary Divorce? The Secret Relationship Killer You Need to Know About

10 Ways to Make Your Marriage Last -- Even Get Stronger -- During the Recession


Yahoo News July 14, 2009

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