Thursday, January 04, 2007

Bringing Up Marriage in 2007

Author Note: You'll notice a change in the tone of the blog in this New Year...many thanks for all the great educational articles previously posted, and don't forget to visit them in the archives! I'm Michele Olson, Communications Director at Foundation for a Great Marriage, and you'll notice that we're moving to a more conversational mode. We really want to hear from you and your thoughts on marriage in our culture. Please blog often, the blog will never be as good as it could be if you aren't participating! Blessings to all!

If you’ve been attending some holiday parties the past few weeks, you’ve probably made more than your share of small talk. From sport teams to the weather to family news, you’ve been bringing up topics and lending your thoughts to the conversations.

This year, why not bring up a topic that may be a surprise to your circle of friends and colleagues.

Talk about the state of marriage here in Wisconsin.

Stay with me, it really is something worth thinking about.

Ask people if they think about it much, and what they feel about marriage. See if anyone has given much thought to the sad statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce.

If you think bringing up this topic could be the proverbial “wet blanket” and cause a few eyes to roll, let’s imagine what the conversation could be like.

You: Hey, anyone else tired of hearing the statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce?

Them: Yah, we’re tired of it. But, that’s the way it is…anyone see that new reality show?

You: Wait a minute... I’ve decided that I can’t live with that statistic. In fact, the very act of thinking about marriage and what it means to us as a community has really stirred up something inside of me…

Them: Really? There are a lot of things to think about; world hunger, poverty, wars, crime…

You: All important, no doubt…but it’s good marriages that are at the root of the well-being of children, the prevention of poverty, the dignity of women and men…the health of our society really stems back to the health of our marriages.

Them: Sounds like you have been thinking about marriage! I guess I can honestly say, I have never given much thought to the fact that I should think about marriage… that I could do anything to affect the breakup of the family.

You: What would be the impact if we agreed to just start thinking about the importance of marriages and healthy families…what would be the effect? What kind of conversations would we hear at the water cooler and the local coffee shops? Just getting the conversation going could make a big difference

Them: Sounds easy enough, to really start exploring what that statistic of 50% divorce rate means and learning more about it. What got you so excited? How did you begin?

You: I went to the internet and found out that there are other people that are thinking about the importance of marriage. A great first stop is an informative website that has wonderful resources in the form of articles and programs that promote marriage…
Explore the site. That’s a good first step. Next…I’m going to bring up the topic of marriage, and get people talking. I want to do something about the marriage statistic because in the end…statistics are people, and people matter.

Them: Explore a website and start thinking and talking about marriage. Sounds pretty doable for anyone.

You: Are you with me?

Are you with us? Can we count on you to explore the website at You’ll find a wealth of information in the resources and research area…enough to get you thinking about marriage and bringing it up in your next conversation!

We’d love to hear your stories of what happens when you bring up marriage…
Together we can affect a really sad statistic…

Let us hear from you!


Benjamin Olson said...

I agree that the statisic of marriages ending in divorce is staggering...and that the virtues of marriage really should be a more discussed topic, however, I also believe that in many cases, that statistic can be, and is used as an excuse. An excuse to either avoid marriage or to end one. Obviously not in all cases, but i have had many conversations to the effect of:

Them: "Why bother getting married? Everyone i know that got married regrets it and are no longer what's the point?"

I feel that it is even more important to ignore the 50% statistic and instead, carry on conversations about the benefits of marriage. It's important to lead by example, and if you are one who has been blessed with a great marriage, then isn't it your responsibility to contradict the "marriage is bad" stigma with a real life example of marital bliss?

Statistics are always interesting, sure...and factual even...but that doesn't change the fact that each marriage is different, just as each person is different. Regardless of a statistic, if you begin your marriage with determination and trust in God and you hold that throughout, then i really don't see any reason that a polled number should affect anyone. If everyone were to go through a marriage with a "that statistic doesn't apply to me" mentality, perhaps over time, we could change that statistic all together.

I don't know...just a thought.

The Foundation for a Great Marriage said...

Good thoughts! Changing that "sad" statistic as we like to call it is what we're all about. Kind of falls into the old philosophy "You get more flies with honey"...right? Talking about the virtues of a good marriage instead of the opposite is a great way to go. I guess the point is to get the "talk" going at all, and you are doing your part by just blogging! Thanks for posting and we look forward to hearing from you often!

Anonymous said...

I think the biggest problem with all adult relationships is the lack of relationship skills - whether married or not. That's where we should put the focus - on teaching people better communication and consideration for each other.

The Foundation for a Great Marriage said...

Hi Anonymous,
You're singing our song! We are all about relationship skills and I hope everyone reading this will check out the excellent resources area of our website for fantastic, though provoking articles...and check our calendar too, where we post classes available to help build relationship skills. Thanks for you excellent points and keep blogging!
Michele from FGM

Graham & Danae said...

Wow! It's such a blessing to see there's others that feel the same way! Yes!!!! If we can all work together we can change our generation. said...

Thanks for the comment...please comment on more recent blogs and keep blogging!

Anonymous said...

I find the high rate of divorce in our country alarming. Being raised in a two parent family definitely had advantages. My father sacrificed to attended all of our sporting events. He also taught me about honesty, hard work, and integrity. My mother did a fine job at supervising us after school and teaching us what it meant to be "part of a family." However, I also believe that many familes today are better off with parents who share custody. If a mother and father constantly argue and cannot find common ground or if one belittles, disrespects, cheats or ignores the other partner what kind of example is that to display to our children. I understand that many people should never get married in the first place but being in my 20's I guess I don't hold as much sanctity of marriage as the generation before me. Whatever works for the betterment of the entire family is what I'm in favor of. Why be miserable and have your kids know it when you could be an important part of their life as a single/divorced or remained parent? said...

Hello Anonymous,
Thanks for commenting...we too agree that divorce is sometimes necessary. We are about the business of helping families where it was not necessary if the couple had learned how to communicate and resolve conflicts without the fighting and bickering in a way that was respectful to everyone. There was something that brought that couple together in the first place, and we can help preserve that when couples learn skills we aren't born to communicate and resolve conflicts in a healthy way. Then the kids can grow up in an intact healthy you said, the best way to grow up.
Keep blogging!