Gersten's 40th | Stop, Drop, and Kiss Advice - 6/15/07
smartmarriages at lists101.his.com
Fri Jun 15 09:50:39 EDT 2007
- SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGES TAKE LOTS OF HARD WORK
[[Linda Chavez writes about celebrating her 40 year marriage to Chris
Gersten. Gersten will present at the Denver Smart Marriages Conference on
his "1% Solution" campaign. If you can't join him in Denver on Fri
afternoon, order the recording and get your state on board. - diane]]
> 320 - Fri afternoon, June 29, Denver
> Getting State Money: The 1% Solution
> Chris Gersten
> Learn how to access state marriage money how to open doors and build
> relationships with state and federal elected and appointed officials.
Chavez: Successful marriages take lots of hard work
Time to celebrate, encourage this sacred endeavor
This week marks a milestone in my life: I'll be celebrating my 40th wedding
anniversary (two days after I turn 60).
I've been thinking a lot about marriage lately as I've been researching
marriage, divorce and out-of-wedlock birth rates in my ongoing debate about
Marriage is in trouble, among all groups of Americans. The divorce rate is
down slightly - about one-third of all first marriages will end in divorce
after 10 years of marriage - but it's no time to pop the champagne bottles.
Marriage rates are down even more sharply.
Fewer Americans are marrying today than anytime in the past, and
cohabitation is on a sharp increase.
If you look at the factors that predict who will marry and who will divorce,
my marriage didn't stand a chance.
My husband and I were both 19 when we married - still teenagers, whose
divorce rates are sky-high (nearly half of all teenage brides divorce within
10 years). He was Jewish. I was Catholic. His father was a doctor, mine a
His family was comfortably upper middle class; mine struggled to make it
through the week on paychecks that weren't always there, especially in
winter months when work for a painter was spotty.
We were both in college, but the birth of our first son 18 months later
could have doomed our education plans, especially mine. We both went on to
complete college and attend graduate school.
So why did we beat the odds? By refusing to give up on the relationship,
even when things were tough.
Every marriage goes through patchy periods. But if you have kids - we have
three sons, now grown - you owe it to them to do everything in your power to
work it out. (Of course, physical abuse, drug addiction or severe alcohol
abuse can't be tolerated, but most marriages that end in divorce don't do so
because of these factors.)
My husband's personal commitment has led to professional passion, as well.
He has spent the last several years promoting healthy marriage - first in
the Bush administration as a deputy assistant secretary in the
Administration for Children and Families and now working to get federal and
state money to strengthen existing marriages and help low income couples
learn skills to form better relationships and promote healthy marriages.
Marriage is one of the most effective anti-poverty programs there is.
The poverty rate for black children overall has been stuck at about 40
percent for decades, but only 13 percent of black children being raised by
both parents live in poverty, and this rate has been going down over the
years, even though it is still higher than the national average.
But promoting marriage is an uphill battle. We have become, in so many ways,
a disposable society.
Don't like washing dishes or (heaven forbid) diapers? Replace them with
paper, which can be thrown away. Last year's car isn't as shiny or cutting
edge as the new ones? Trade it in for this year's model, even if it puts you
greater in debt.
The wife is getting a little thick around the middle, or the hubby is losing
his hair? There's always someone younger, better looking or more successful
In the past, there was social stigma attached to divorce. Now, the pressure
on married couples is not to settle for anything less than perfect spouses
and uninterrupted bliss.
Marriage isn't like that. It's hard work.
Few of us can count on looking as good as we did in our wedding pictures.
People change, for better or worse.
Traditional marriage vows recognized this. Spouses pledged to honor each
other in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, until death. The
Catholic Church still uses this pledge.
But the trend today is to write hip, even funny, vows, which aren't really
vows at all, like these suggested on a popular wedding Web site: "I promise
to always make your favorite banana milkshake," or "I vow to split the
difference on the thermostat," as Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston did when
they married. And look how long that union lasted.
Marriage is a serious - dare I say, sacred - endeavor. It is also the
foundation of our society. If children are to thrive, we must do more to
encourage and celebrate marriage. I'll be doing my share this week.
Linda Chavez is chair of the Center for Equal Opportunity.
- STOP, DROP, AND KISS: MARRIAGE EDUCATION
[[Here's another encouraging article a great example of "marriage
education" (teach couples how to increase the behaviors that predict success
and extinguish the behaviors that predict failure) - diane ]]
Stop, Drop, and Kiss
One small gesture sparked romantic evenings.
by Mandy Houk
A typical evening at five o'clock in our house would find me cooking dinner,
my two small daughters desperately in need of a bath, and my ears perked,
awaiting a magical soundthe garage door opener. This was the blessed signal
that my husband, Pete, had arrived home from work. Yes! I'd think, mentally
pumping my fist. Reinforcements!
As he came through the door, I'd give Pete a choice: "You want to make sure
the rice doesn't boil over or get the girls in the tub?" And that was on a
good day, when he walked in smiling.
If he dared to come home dragging and tired. Well, game on, buddy. Get
ready for the Exhaustion Olympics. "Oh, you would not believe the day I've
had," I'd groan. "I did 14 loads of laundry, went to the grocery store, the
post office, and the banknot the ATM, mind you, the actual inside of the
bank, standing for 45 minutes in that roped-off line." (Cue the dramatic
sigh.) "You've got to help me with dinner; I'm about to keel over." So
Then our pastor began a series of messages on marriage. The first three
focused on the husband's role. As I diligently took notes . . .
Read the full article at:
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