Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Posted by: Michele Olson

This is a long, but really important blog. Grab a “cup of joe” and let’s talk.

At thinkmarriage.org we have many resources available for anyone reading this blog…A Marriage Myth Buster Guide, A Love Letter Kit, A Fact Sheet, A DVD and of course all the great resources on our website.

That’s one aspect of thinkmarriage.org.

We also list classes on our web calendar available throughout the state, with our thinkmarriage classes available in six key counties: Brown, Marathon, Outagamie, Waukesha, Milwaukee and Fond du Lac.

But there’s another part of thinkmarriage that may not be as apparent. That is our efforts to start a grassroots movement. These type of movements are funny things because you can’t necessarily “light the fire” just through advertising or public awareness. At the basis of every social movement is: the passion of many people.

Think of the big social movements we have witnessed in our lifetimes…

The tear falling down the weathered face of a Native American that ignited the reduce, reuse, recycle movement…which led to our current “green” movement.

The civil rights movement…equality regardless of race or creed.

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, DARE, stop smoking in public places…it’s the passions of many people that ultimately keeps something going in society.

To help you become a passionate member of our movement, we have to look at where we may be misunderstood.

When we are at an event handing out Marriage Myth Buster Guides, we start to see a pattern of people’s reactions to accepting a guide.

From a mature, divorced, woman or man we will usually see a degree of bitterness. They aren’t interested because they have been burned by marriage and have thrown the baby out with the bath water so to speak.

This is a misunderstanding.

From dating or newly married, we often see the anxiety of wondering if they have to become a statistic. They don’t think a fragmented family is in their future, but from watching what is happening around them, they hope they are the exception.
Again, it’s a bit of a misunderstanding.

To someone who has been married a long time, happy or not…they have an aura of “been there, done that”, and your cause is not for me.

Another group not understanding.

From a single Mom either from out of wedlock childbearing or divorce, they think that we might be against the struggle that they are living through…we could just be one more burden to bear on the hard road they often have to travel.

Totally a misunderstanding.

From people living together to widowed individuals to people married with six kids…we can be misunderstood.

Here’s why…the minute someone thinks we are looking at them “personally” with any type of agenda or judgment, they have not understood what we are about.

We are simply about telling the story of what is available and what is possible when people include healthy marriage as the gold standard if they choose to enter into a relationship with another person.
We know from statistics, not matter of opinion, that when a healthy marriage is the goal…people’s lives can be easier and better in a world that throws a lot of obstacles our way just by the very fact that we wake up every morning on the planet.

A higher standard of living…a longer, healthier life… kids with less issues…(Ask for our Marriage Myth Buster Guide...it’s all in there!) We know that the probabilities of this being your life experience are higher if you are in a healthy marriage relationship.

NOW! We all know people who aren’t in a healthy relationship who are living wealthy, healthy, happy lives.

But, don’t misunderstand. While it’s possible, it’s not as probable.

So when we look at society as a whole…the big picture…
what should we encourage people to shoot for?

The point is, no matter where you are in your life right now…it’s the next step you take that we hope to help influence. What we all should want for our culture is to give everyone the best possible chance at sound, healthy relationships.

We know from over 20 years of social science research that healthy relationships are far more probable if single people understand communication and conflict resolution skills and how to look for a life partner…with classes like How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk(ette!)

These relationships are more probable if people wait to have children until after marriage, if engaged couples take a pre-marital inventory of some type before they are married, and if people who are married will continue to work on their communication and relationship skills all through their marriage with classes like Marriage Links, Family Wellness, Prep and 10 Great Dates.

Then we need couples who have been married with healthy relationships to mentor other couples. That’s just a small list of what can happen to achieve the gold standard more often as society. There’s even more we could talk about how a community can work together to help this happen, but that will be another blog!

So, no matter where you find yourself in life right now…you can be a Marriage Champion and be a part of the healthy relationship movement. It’s as simple as that.

I’m sure your coffee cup is empty by now. Do you think we can work on understanding each better?

Are you ready to become a passionate marriage champion?