by Ray Martin
What if there were a couple of simple things you could change about your relationship that could almost guarantee that your marriage would last a lifetime? Could it be that easy? Would you do it?
My grandparents were blessed to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary which was an even bigger deal since it was my grandmother’s second marriage and my grandpa’s third! I recall how meaningful it was for them to have made it to that milestone. When my mom passed away, I was the bearer of giving them the news and it was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to do, but what was so touching was how they stayed up all night together sharing memories of her entire life. I want that kind of relationship with my wife, to be there with her even in the midst of pain and sorrow, but how do people keep their marriages together over the course of a lifetime and why should we when relationships can be difficult to maintain?
Happier, Healthier And Wealthier
Steve Bollman, author of The Choice Wine which is a book and video series that highlights seven steps to what they call a superabundant marriage, begins by sharing research on the benefits to getting married and staying married. He refers to the statistical data as a marriage premium meaning that married people seem to benefit greatly by being married.
- Happiness: married people are happier than single, divorced, separated, or widowed people according to the General Social Survey, 1972-2012.
- Health: People who have never been married have a 75% increase in poor health and those divorced have a 90% increase compared to those who are married according to the General Social Survey.
- Wealth: Married individuals accumulate approximately four times the net wealth of those who have never been married or who are divorced according to the Journal of Marriage and Family’s study in 2002.
How To Reduce The Likelihood of Marital Breakdown
Bollman refers to the first three steps in The Choice Wine as a way to nearly Divorce-Proof your marriage meaning that statistically, the likelihood of getting divorced is nearly zero when following these behaviors discovered through the research of successful couples. Over the next few weeks we will be going in more depth to these specific steps which I’ll conveniently call three “F’s” of Marriage Shielding:
- Fiscal Stewardship
- Faith Devotion
The Legacy of Riley Leggett
Riley Leggett was Bollman’s father-in-law and is referenced throughout The Choice Wine. Riley offered Steve some advice before getting married to his daughter that if he would eat dinner with his family every evening and sit with his family every Sunday at church, then their marriage was guaranteed to work out. While this sounds almost trite or too simple, there is a lot of wisdom in this message.
- Only 7% of families who eat dinner together five or more times a week experience a “great deal of tension.” (Columbia University September 2005)
- Only 17% of those who attend worship services on a weekly basis have been divorced. (General Social Survey 1972-2012)
I hope that you’ll stick with me as we review these three F’s or what The Choice Wine calls their first 3 steps which dramatically reduce the probability of a marital breakdown over the next few installments of this series. If you haven’t read or watched The Choice Wine, I highly encourage you to check it out. More information can be found at www.thechoicewine.com.
Resources: The Choice Wine by Steve Bollman of Paradisus Dei