Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Living Deliberately in 2010

Posted by Michele Olson
Are you a New Year’s Resolutions person? Do they work for you? I’ll be starting my annual diet for a while, but overall, I’m not sure resolutions really work. Maybe if the Mayor of Munchkin City in the county of the Land of Oz came out and read it in a proclamation, I would take it more seriously. But since that hasn’t happened, I find resolutions can fall by the wayside.

How about a different idea? What if we choose instead to live deliberately in 2010? It’s a new year and a new decade. What if we deliberately decided to go the extra mile in our marriages?
What if we deliberately went back to acting toward our spouses as we act toward other people we are trying to impress? We see a stranger, and we are the “good guy” and hold the door. We see our spouse, and we just walk ahead. Hmmmm. That doesn’t seem very deliberate. That seems like just letting the moment happen and pass you by.

Deliberate living.

Worth considering.

What if we decided to attend a marriage or healthy relationship course with our loved one even if it’s not our cup of tea? (Or we have no idea if it is because we’ve never done it but we’ve decided ahead of time “that’s not what we do.”) What if we deliberately, because of statistics showing that it improves relationships, just decide to try it even once? Whether online or in-person, it's a pretty do-able, deliberate thing that you can do. It really is up to you.
What if we deliberately put "us" ahead of "me."
Wow. You yield a lot of power. What if you deliberately decide to put it to good use for your spouse, minus the cape and the kryptonite?

Deliberately choosing the higher ideal, the good, and the true.

How would that change your 2010?

I hope you do decide to be deliberate, and I hope I get to hear about it.

Happy New Year to everyone from thinkmarriage.org

How about deliberately deciding to become a regular blogger in this New Year? We would all love that!

Monday, December 28, 2009

On Facebook? Retrosexuals and more FB smarts.

Posted by Michele Olson

Your first kiss. Your first love. For some it was way back in the past. You have no idea what they look like today, but you remember all the good things at a much simpler time in your life. That used to be more where the story ended. Now with social networking like Facebook, it’s become much easier to find and connect with a past love. That was the subject of a September article by Claire Suddath in Time Magazine.
The article points out that it is easier than ever to make a connection with an old flame without fear of rejection.
In the old black and white movies, it was dramatic, intentional and took a lot of effort. Today it’s an easy inquiry and the ability to see pictures. Reconnecting even has been given a new term: retrosexuals, first coined by The Boston Phoenix as someone who is taking the plunge into recycled love.

This may be a way to meet someone you could really care about if you are single and your old flame is single. If you are married, or if you are single and your old flame is married, it’s become a real problem. Facebook is actually starting to be cited in many divorce proceedings.

If you are married or in a serious relationship: BEWARE!

Here’s a comment on a blog from someone dealing with the situation:

I wish I would have known about this problem months ago. I’m going through this with my wife of nearly 20 yrs right now! She started IM’ing an old boyfriend. I just thought he was an old friend of hers & everything was “innocent”. She went back to her old hometown & went out with him just “as friends”. Now she has “developed” unexplained feelings for him. MEN BEWARE!! I would have NEVER thought this would happen to my marriage!! NEVER!!

This type of “meeting” on Facebook can start out innocently, which makes it more dangerous. It can start to meet the emotional needs of the participants, leading to an emotional affair first.

For those getting divorced, FB can again cause problems. Pictures you’ve posted or been tagged in can be used in court in a custody case.

Or, your pics and postings can be looked at by a future employer. Don’t think of FB as your private journal. The world is actually watching and has easy access to what you think is private.

We’ve talked about this before on our blog, but it seems to becoming more of a problem. So here’s another reminder, especially for married, engaged and those in a serious relationship.
Think of FB as a fire in which you can get burned. You are not special when it comes this. You are not different. It can ruin a great relationship that you already have.

Be smart about who you “friend.” If you have the desire to seek out an old flame, or even find that if you were being honest with yourself, you are getting an emotional charge from someone on FB that would be inappropriate if you were out meeting for coffee in “real life”, put an end to it. You are going down a rabbit hole that will not end well.

Use this as an opportunity to realize you need to be connecting more with your spouse or serious relationship. Take the time you are putting into FB and put it into a relationship workshop, either online or in a classroom.

Do you have a FB story to relate? Have you found yourself heading down this slippery slope or are you single and had a wonderful reunion with an old flame? Let’s hear your story.

I have to go...I'm going to post this blog link on FB!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cheers to Britain…Seeing the Importance of Marriage!

posted by Michele Olson
Patrick Wintour and Nicholas Watt writing for the Guardian talk about what we’ve been talking about…marriage! They explore the idea put forth by the Tories Party in the U.K. that Marriage is becoming “a preserve” of middle-classes. Not exactly how we would word it here in the states, but the story is the same. They are concerned about what is happening to traditional marriage and family. If you are familiar with thinkmarriage.org, you know why. What happens to the family has a vast influence on society as a whole. In talking about the need for change, they cite David Willetts , the Tories shadow cabinet member as he refers to all the evidence in our country of how we are in danger of marriage becoming something only for the affluent elite, starting with the upper middle class. He also talks about the break-up of the family as a disaster for children. They are proposing changes and writing papers to influence what is happening with marriage in Great Britain. Latest UK figures show marriage at an all time low with only 270,000 people married last year compared to 480,285 at the peak in 1972. They are having an issue with marriage in their tax system as well…one earner couples get the worst deal, encouraging people to avoid marriage for monetary reasons. They are also talking about relationship courses. Translation: marriage education!

Read the entire article. The world is now much smaller in this day and age, so what other countries do and their attitude toward marriage does affect us in the states. It’s good to see someone in England thinking about more than figgy pudding in this season of celebration.

Time for a Christmas break here too …so from everyone at thinkmarriage.org to you and yours….we wish you a happy, joyous Christmas with special moments for every marriage and healthy relationship! God bless us everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Stop Those Holiday Family Arguments!

posted by Michele Olson

Will there be arguing in your home over the upcoming holidays? Rather than just “hoping” it won’t happen this year…why not take a moment to learn some tangible ways to resolve conflicts in a healthy way. An article by Melinda Maximova in Examiner.com sheds some light on the subject. Read these tips and maybe you can diffuse a conflict this holiday season!

The big question is whether you want to diffuse, accommodate or resolve a problem. Here’s the question to ask yourself; How important is the relationship and how important is the goal?

If it’s your spouse, it’s an important relationship. If it’s Great Aunt Matilda who insists every year that you do your reindeer imitations from childhood, it may not be worth the trouble. If the other party is not that interested in the relationship and they would never be interested in establishing a goal together…you may not be able to successfully come to a mutually agreeable conclusion.

But, for those instances when it does matter follow these tips:
1) Identify the common goal. Take your eyes off the conflict and focus on a goal you agree upon. Perhaps no one wants to clean up after a big dinner, but it needs to get done. You can agree on the goal of not leaving the clean up mess to one member of the family.
2) Define the conflict. Describe actions without using labels, explaining feelings and facts.
In the cleaning up issue- don’t throw out the words inconsiderate, lazy and rude. It just won’t get you to your goal!
3) Listen without interruptions. Oh, that can be a tough one, right? Real listening means you are not just planning what you are going to be saying next. Look for areas of agreement and practice empathy for their viewpoint.
4) Restate their position. Paraphrase what you think you heard them say, this helps you with that empathy part of the previous point. You may also discover you are interpreting what they are saying incorrectly. Give them a chance to state if you did hear them correctly.
5) Make a plan of action to end the conflict. Come up with some ideas of how to solve the problem together. Have some fun with it. Talk about the ways you can act differently in the future to prevent a repeat of the same conflict. Brainstorm a solution!

You will probably have some adjustment of this plan based on the specific situation and people involved, but if you will follow the tenants, you will be much better off than just walking away in anger. Arguments are caused by people and arguments can be controlled and managed by people too. Make it a goal of your holiday season to switch up any arguing patterns in your family. That can help restore the Merry to Merry Christmas.

What about your family? Has arguing wrecked your holiday joy in the past?
Full article here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Can Science Help You Fall and Stay In Love?

posted by Michele Olson

If we were going on straight logic, you would think anyone who marries more than once would be more successful in any subsequent marriage, right? Statistically we know that’s not the case. Second and third marriages fail even faster. Are we unteachable or what’s the deal?

Consider this article: How Science Can Help You Fall In Love by Robert Epstein writing in Scientific American Mind. Working with his students at University of California in San Diego he observed different techniques tried by students who were complete strangers. Things like gazing into each other’s eyes for a period of time. It did something. It increased the closeness between the people. This led to the idea that there are some specific exercises you can do – deliberately – to increase closeness with your mate. More than 90 percent of the students who tried the recommended exercises reported improvement in their relationships.

This explains why some arranged marriages can do amazingly well…the people grow into love. While most Americans don’t go for the arranged marriage idea, and want to choose love while expecting the fairy tale to last a lifetime, this study suggests that love can actually be learned. By practicing the techniques recommended, love can be built over time. When love is fading, these techniques can rebuild it. So, since we know leaving it all to chance is not working over all, these findings could really make a big difference.
Read the article and leave some comments on what you think. Are you willing to try some of the ideas presented and let us know what happened?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Careful of the Gift You Give to Your Spouse!

posted by Michele Olson
Elizabeth Bernstein writing in the Wall St. Journal has a great article about the problems between couples when one spouse (usually the man) gives a less than welcome gift to the other (usually the woman.)

She goes through many examples of what a man thought was a good gift that left his wife mortified.

Golf stuff…and your wife doesn’t golf.
Heating pads, Listerine, snoring strips and really large flannel nightgowns.
(Everyone, let’s cringe together.)

Obviously, it’s not the thought that counts, but the thoughtlessness.

Or, is it fairer to say, cluelessness?

The guys were thinking it was funny, they were doing something great by buying their wife a new pot to make spaghetti in for them and that their practical side was something their wives appreciated…and that translated into gift giving.

The other problem? Women have the memory of the elephant when it comes to remembering even one bad gift. I’ve been married for over 30 years and I still remember in the first years of our marriage receiving a space heater for an anniversary. The motive was that we had a very cold bathroom which I always complained about. But, my expression to receiving this as a gift on a momentous occasion became a great lesson…don’t do that again! (Gifts have been wonderful ever since.)

The author points out: gift giving is one of the holiday season's unexpected traps: in a season of goodwill toward men, the wrong gift to a woman can strain our marriage bonds. Men may receive less than stellar gifts too, but they don’t seem to care as much.

Finding yourself in the giving or getting end of this article?
Here are some helpful tips:

• When in doubt, go down a size. (In my opinion, unless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt where your spouse shops and exactly what style and taste work for them, don’t give clothes.)

• Never give a gift that suggests your spouse is not perfect. No unsolicited exercise equipment, self-help books, wrinkle cremes or nose-hair removers.

• Appliances and cookware are OK only if she asks for them.

• Don't even think about a gift that you will get more enjoyment out of than your spouse.

• Remember: It's not just the thought that counts—especially if you didn't have that thought until the checkout line.

• When all else fails, at least try to create memories.

Good tips. Do you have a story of what has happened with gift giving in your relationship? Share!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How Scrapbooking Saved Katie and Charlies Marriage

posted by Michele Olson

Katie Scott of St. Petersburg Florida took a very unique approach to her less than thriving marriage to her husband Charlie. Her story is told in the Dec. 28th issue of First for Women magazine currently on newsstands. Close to five years into her marriage she found herself wondering why her husband couldn’t dress the kids correctly, train the dogs better or get the roof fixed fast enough. She couldn’t even think of an anniversary present to get him…when he could just buy what he wanted for himself. While picking up one day she came across a blank mini scrapbook she had received as a party favor. Though she wasn’t sure Charlie would even care, she decided to make a mini scrapbook for him as a gift.

As she dug through photos of the both of them from their wedding and honeymoon she began to recall how happy they were and what hope they had for their lives together. Looking at the expressions on their faces she felt a warm, fuzzy surge. She decided the theme of her book would be: 10 Reasons I Love You. She put a photo on the left side of the page and then proceeded to say why she loved him in a way that also related to the picture.

The process made her stop focusing on all the things her husband was doing wrong and instead focus on what he had done well. By changing her focus, she began to feel happier about their relationship.

Susan Kuchinskas, author of The Chemistry of Connection: How the Oxytocin Response Can Help You Find Trust, Intimacy, and Love (New Harbinger, 2009) says that looking at pictures of your sweetheart kicks off a biochemical chain reaction that “floods your brain with oxytocin.” Oxytocin is the same hormone that helps moms bond with babies and gives us a powerful feeling of love, joy and happiness.

Katie gave Charlie the mini scrapbook on their fifth anniversary. She knew he really liked it when she received a note back on scrapbook paper that read: “I love you, too – I don’t often stop to say that.”

She kept it up and it really made a difference in her marriage…in fact the title of the article is :
Scrapbooking Saved My Marriage. Now ten years into her marriage, her special gift is still a scrapbook.

Looking for a great Christmas gift for your spouse? Take a tip from Katie…make a life-changing scrapbook.

Tell us some things you do to help you concentrate on the good things about your spouse.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Frog, A Princess, A Dad and YOU

posted by Michele Olson

Have you seen the latest Disney movie “The Princess and the Frog?” If you have a young lady in your home about the right age, you probably have seen it…and didn’t have a choice!
Roland C. Warren, writing in the Washington Times had a great article recently about this very movie. But there’s more to his thinking. He points out that "A good father helps his daughter find her prince without kissing all the frogs." We can all agree, there are a lot of frogs out there! (And yes, some not “so ‘princesssy’ people too.)

The press has talked a lot about the fact that this is Disney’s first black princess. There are many young ladies in the African American community who are not living a fairy tale, but instead are part of the story that reflects a low marriage rate and high out-of-wedlock birthrate.

Those facts makes this next point from Mr. Warren even more interesting. He lets us know that Disney is actually working with the National Fatherhood Initiative to market the movie to dads and their families. That’s pretty refreshing! Mr. Warren himself is president of the National Fatherhood Initiative

Want a real life example of someone not created on a computer? He tells the story of our own first lady, Michelle Obama…and the father who made such a difference in her life.

What’s your story? We’d love to hear from Dad’s who are doing the day to day work of being a great dad to a daughter. What advice do you have for our readers? Or are you a daughter who knows your life is better because of your Dad?

Blog away!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Did Ozzie and Harriet Exist?

Posted by Michele Olson
If you are not of a certain age, I first have to explain to you what Ozzie and Harriet represent. There was a TV show that ran from 1952-1966 titled: The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. It starred the real life Nelson family – husband and father Ozzie Nelson and his wife singer Harriet Nelson and mother to their young sons. (Ever hear Garden Party by the late Ricky Nelson? This was his life before music fame.) The hit became a picture of what was considered an ideal American life in the 1950s. It’s also the marriage standard that we often long for in today’s microwave society.

But are we remembering correctly?
Stephanie Coontz, a professor of history and family studies at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., and author of the 2005 book Marriage: A History, says it's "questionable" that marriages of the Ozzie-and-Harriet era were any more stable than those today. In the '50s, "divorce was harder to get, and there were fewer economic options outside marriage," she says.

In her book Stephanie shows the changes marriage has gone through from times past when women were socialized to obey the man, when no one even expected to marry for love. Dr. Dorothy Marcic of Vanderbilt University in reviewing the book said: “Back then, marriage was for economic and social reasons and family and society kept a couple together. Now we expect to marry for love, but as Coontz shows, love is the most fragile part of the equation. Thus, it has meant a change in how we see marriage, a change in behaviors. Not only do we expect emotional intimacy, but women (in Western societies, anyway) are more equal than before. And so marriage continues to evolve. Coontz also shows how robust the institution of marriage is: try to think of many other institutions that have survived for thousands of years. She also gives honest--and personal--insights into the difficulties of sustaining a happy marriage, as well as the rewards. Consider that married couples in Western countries are generally better off emotionally, economically and are healthier than couples living in other types of arrangements.”

So although we saw a huge rise in the divorce rate since the 1950’s we may not be looking at the story behind the statistics. With access to marriage preparation and marriage education at an all time high, perhaps our future will tell a better story than our past when it comes to thriving healthy marriages. At the very least, we can each do our part in our own relationships.

What do you think…have we idealized an era ? Did Ozzie and Harriet truly exist?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Do Argue in Front of the Kids (The Right Way)

posted by Michele Olson

Not in front of the children!” can often be heard as a comment from an arguing spouse. That may not be the best answer if you can disagree and solve the conflict in a positive way in front of your kids. Researchers at University of Notre Dame did some experiments to test what is happening to kids when they are seeing a marital spat. The kid’s level of cortisol, the primary hormone produced by stress, was tested for over 20 years.

As reported on Good Morning America, kids watched actors portraying parents in an arguing state. They seemed to be far less disturbed by the argument if there was a sincere effort to resolve the issue in a positive manner. Kids were happy to see the parents work it out.

The message also comes through: you can disagree, still love each other, and go about your day.

Another finding which should not come as a surprise; children are acutely attuned to the quality of their parent’s relationship. It was also interesting to learn that the typical married couple has about eight disputes a day. Children witnessed these 45% of the time. Even children as young as a year old were sensitive to the temperature of their parent’s relationship.

The key is using disagreements in front of the children to teach them how a conflict can be resolved in a good way. If you are a couple who fights and you don’t reach a positive resolution, even if you don’t fight right in from of the kids…they can sense the tension in the home. If you fight in front of the kids and don’t resolve the conflict in a positive manner, you are causing high stress levels in your children. Take the time to learn how to resolve conflicts in a positive way. At thinkmarriage.org, we teach skills on how to resolve conflicts and have positive communication in a relationship. Take advantage of our learn opportunities or seek out proven programs that teach communication and conflict resolution.

Make the time to learn how to disagree as a couple. It has a huge impact on your children.
Do you have a story to share on this subject?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

So, Facebook is the Problem, Right?

posted by Michele Olson
Facebook has become such a phenomenon that it’s warranted a book for married couples and those in a serious relationship. Jason and Kelli Krafsky have written a book to be released in Feb. 2010 called Facebook and Your Marriage. Mary Jo Rapini writes about the book in her Houston Love and Relationships column and includes many of the tips that the book will talk about.

Creating boundaries, setting your relationship status to married, the willingness to share your username and password with your mate, not looking up old flames, not talking about your problems with your mate on Facebook, not private chatting with someone of the opposite sex and not letting people know one or both of you are out of town are just a few of the tips. (This could also be seen as an invitation to burglars…because your comments get posted on non-friends pages depending on how the conversation goes)

It’s all good info, but the reaction from the comments is also worth reading. The first comment brings up a good point: if you’re getting to the point you can’t Facebook chat because someone is worried about cheating, you have bigger issues.

That’s the bigger question that things like Facebook pose to us. Is it the opportunity to cheat that pushes us over the brink and causes it, or is it a heart decision that just takes whatever path is available at anytime? Some social media comment makes it sound like we are innocent victims with no brains who are unknowingly drawn into affairs, emotional or otherwise, and if we don’t follow some rules, we have no ability to make a good decision. Those who had no intentions but just set out to look up an old flame may argue they did not intend for anything to happen. But is that truthful?

While it may be easier to cheat in the privacy of your own home than it has ever been, it still seems to come back to decisions about your own personal character and how you will conduct yourself. Then comes the honesty and communication that you have going on with your spouse. Does trust only exist if there’s always absolute proof? Is Facebook the problem…or is there a greater issue underneath?

What do you think? Do two people have to know EVERYTHING about each other in order to remain faithful or one will fall down an abyss of lust or emotional need?

I hope we’re better than that. I hope we’re more mature than that. I hope it hasn’t come to that.

What do you think?

Monday, December 07, 2009

Facts About the Mancession

Posted by Michele Olson

What has the “Great Recession” meant for marriages? According to a report by the National Marriage Project out of the University of Virginia, a lot!

Working class men with no college education have been the group that has taken the brunt of job losses. Add that to this statistic; men are 61 percent less likely to be happy in a marriage if they work fewer hours than their wives.

That has coined a new phrase: Mancession. This trend has been causing a rift between couples where one spouse has a college degree and the other, less education. It’s all in the 2009 “State of Our Unions” report issued today.

The report shows: Divorce fell during the first full year of the Great Recession, the first annual dip since 2005. While that may sound grand, the trend may be following what happened in the Great Depression of the 1930’s. That trend suggests that couples are delaying divorce because they can’t afford to live apart. That just adds to the truth of the Myth #2 in our free Marriage Myth Buster Guide…getting and staying married is by far the best strategy for accumulating assets and wealth.

That’s just one of the findings in this vast report which you can view for yourself. Take a look and come back and tell us what reactions you have to the report. We’d like to hear from you!

Is there a “Mancession” in your home?

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Affairs, Emotional and Otherwise

posted by Michele Olson

Here we go again. Another major celebrity in the news for a possible affair. You have to wonder if fame and fortune aren’t part of the recipe for an affair, and how many people can keep their heads on straight when it happens to them. (No excuses, but fame and fortune people should really be taking classes on how not to let it ruin your relationships!)
Most of us “every day” people will not deal with fame and fortune in our lives…but we do have something in common. Much of what leads to an affair begins first in our heads…which is now called an emotional affair. We have past blogs on ways to “build hedges” around your marriage. Check them out. Meanwhile, here’s a recent online question and answer from columnist Carolyn Hax of Washington Post and also syndicated to many papers around the country. It answers the question very succinctly of how to end an emotional affair. If you are starting down that path, or know someone who is…pass this letter along. Heed the advice.

No affair is worth the devastation that follows. Here's Carolyn's article.

Dear Carolyn:
How do I go about ending an "emotional affair"? I don't even know whether the other person involved would classify it as such, but I know my husband would, so I feel I should get out. However, the guy is a longtime friend and has done nothing wrong, so I feel strange about a formal "breakup."

For Question Mark,
Pull away. Reveal less. Invest more in your husband, consciously. You can do these to nudge yourself toward balance. If it turns out you can't get balance by increments, then you're going to need to say something along the lines of, "I'm coming to believe the amount of my time and myself that I share with you is unfair to my husband."
For Question Mark:
For what it's worth, it is very likely your husband knows you have a relationship that detracts from your marriage. Unrequited love/like has a way of creating a loneliness that others pick up on but may not be able to qualify. In addition to trying to pull back from the person who is your current distraction, try being honest with your husband by saying something like, "I know I've been distant, and I really want to try to reconnect."
I think you will find it easier to put this "emotional affair" behind you if you have a real purpose in front of you: rebuilding your marriage with help from the necessary parties.

Good advice from Carolyn. Have you been in an emotional affair? Did you end something that you saw was becoming an emotional affair?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Your Marriage Mission Statement

Posted by Michele Olson
Interesting thought from a Business Daily Africa article. Author Melissa Thoma reflects on how important it is for every business to have a mission statement. The purpose of a mission statement is to get everyone on the same page. Everyone in the company should understand what the ultimate goal is for the business. A good mission statement also provides for the individual in the company to play a role in engaging their skills to bring about the greater mission. There’s a clear sense of purpose and agreement on strategies to reach the goal.

This got the author wondering, “What is my marital mission statement?”

That’s worth giving some thought.

The article goes on to ask: What’s the highest motivating force behind your union? Having children? Supporting one another? What would you say?

Once you answer that question you can move on to strategies- a game-plan if you will -to make sure you keep on track with your mission.

Melissa shares what all this means for her and her husband. Read their mission statement and consider making a marriage mission statement with your spouse!

Care to share? What would be your basic marriage mission statement?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

In Doubt But Still Going Through With the Wedding

Posted by Michele Olson

Sitcoms do a good job of showing us of people getting cold feet right before the wedding. Friends and family always tell the person: “This is normal, everyone gets cold feet.”

But when should you pay attention to those thoughts and feelings? In a USA Today article today, reporter Sharon Jayson shed some light on the subject. The story includes info on several books by Carl Weisman. He wrote a book called So Why Have You Never Been Married? 10 Insights Into Why He Hasn’t Wed. When a divorced woman he knows made the comment that she didn’t listen to her inner voice before she married, she knew she was going to be divorced before she even married her husband, he had another book idea. This caused Weisman to survey over 1,000 people and write: Serious Doubts, Why People Marry When They Know it Won’t Last.

In his interviews he found a common thread; these people ignored their "inner voice" warning them against the marriage. He states this is different than pre-wedding jitters.

Another author Andrea Candell wrote: His Cold Feet: A Guide for the Woman Who Wants to Tie the Knot With the Guy Who Wants to Talk About it Later. How’s that for a book title? She too found a difference between cold feet and more serious reservations.

The article sites several “why’s” for this practice of marrying when you know all is not well:
1) Not heeding early warning signs and advice of family and friends.
2) Thinking it will work out in the end and deciding to go through with it.
3) Pregnancy
4) Thinking the person is too good to pass up, even though there is no spark.
5) Getting engaged and letting that whole process take over along with the fantasy of happily ever after.
6) Not wanting to hurt their partner and believing they can learn to love them
7) Thinking they won’t find someone else.

The in-depth article points out that researchers are doing more scientific studies on the subject.
Pre-marital counseling and education are mentioned as one of the ways that people can discover they should or shouldn’t be married.

Other factors that keep people going toward the alter when they feel they aren’t sure:
*They feel ready to be married or at the right age to be married.
*Feelings of : If I don’t take advantage of this, I may miss out on this opportunity.

Scott Stanley, co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver points out that co-habitation can be part of the problem. Some of these couples who ended up marrying would never have reached the alter if they had not been living together. They "slide" into the decision to marry rather than "deciding" to marry.

It’s an interesting article and hopefully talking about it will get someone in the situation of not being sure to really think through the decision. Even the “best divorce” if there is such a thing, is a painful ordeal. It’s clear that one of the better ways to really discover if you are right for each other is pre-marital education. Check into what is available in your community for pre-marital education and know that thinkmarriage.org does offer this resource in the form of classes in Wisconsin and online for everyone at thinkmarriage.org. The engagement check up is right on our home page, and online classes will run throughout the year.

Don’t enter into marriage unsure. It’s not worth it. You have options and resources.
Did you marry knowing it wasn't right for you? Tell us your story.