For Your Marriage? / After the Affair/ Empty Nests/ Marital CheckUps - 12/4/08
smartmarriages at lists101.his.com
Thu Dec 4 11:49:48 EST 2008
- DIVORCE IS NOT AN OPTION
- WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR YOUR MARRIAGE TODAY? GUIDE
- AFTER THE AFFAIR: A BIG TAH DAH
- EMPTY NESTS
- MARITAL CHECKUPS
- DIVORCE IS NOT AN OPTION
Just a heads-up if you haven't seen the promos. Barbara Walters' "10 Most
Fascinating People of 2008" will be on ABC tonight, and among her guests
will be Will Smith. According to the clips, he will be repeating a
statement we've heard from him before that "divorce is not an option." He
expounds more on this tonight in the interview.
Since the interviews are short, it doesn't seem reasonable to suggest
people watch the whole show. But later I'll check to see if Will's part is
on YouTube and send you the link if I find it - in case you want to
distribute it for people to be able to see just this discussion about
- WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR YOUR MARRIAGE TODAY? GUIDE
The Catholic bishops have developed an excellent website to support
couples in their marriages. Of course like many wonderful resources
the challenge is to drive viewers to the site and encourage them to
interact with it. My wife Kathy and I have developed a four page guide
that can be given to married couples that invites them to check out
the www.foryourmarriage.org site and to submit a response to what they
find there. It would be a handy thing for marriage week, because it
invites the couple to make four different visits to the site where
they can take a quiz, read a blog, find tips for different marriage
dilemmas or watch video clips of couples answering the question, "What
have you done for your marriage today?" We would be happy to share a
sample of the guide with anyone interested in seeing it. They can
contact us at foundationseditor at gmail.com.
Steve and Kathy Beirne
- AFTER THE AFFAIR: A BIG TAH DAH
Janis Spring's book AFTER THE AFFAIR is Amazon's #1 best seller in its
category of Couples and Marriage Therapy in both its paperback and kindle
editions! I'm impressed. I'm also delighted that Janis will present a 90
min MASTERS SESSION at the Orlando Smart Marriages Conference. Buy both her
best sellers, After the Affair and How Can I Forgive You? now and you'll be
prepared to get even more out of the time you spend with Janis. Order here:
Notice that Amazon is offering a combo deal on the two books. - diane
- EMPTY NESTS
Marriage gets better when kids leave the nest
Leslie Fulbright, SF Chronicle Staff Writer
December 4, 2008
> Though all the women attended college, they chose different career paths and
> had varying income levels and numbers of children. Their martial status varied
> as well.
> Some changed partners, some didn't. Whatever the case, the study showed that
> they all reported becoming more satisfied when their children moved away from
> "The increase was not at all dependent on whether they remarried," Gorchoff
> said. "And the women did not report that the general global satisfaction with
> their lives got better, just their marriages. They were enjoying the time with
> their partners more."
(We'll have lots of good stuff in Orlando on helping couples navigate the
Empty Nest transition....)
Marriages get better after the children grow up and move out, according to a
UC Berkeley study that analyzed the marital satisfaction of more than 100
women over 18 years.
The study by three professors from UC Berkeley's department of psychology
and Institute of Personality & Social Research questioned the women at the
average ages of 43 in 1981, 52 in 1989 and 61 in 1998 and found that
marriages grew increasingly better after the kids packed up and left.
"We found that marital satisfaction increased as the women transitioned to
an empty nest," said Sara Gorchoff, one of the authors of the study and a
doctoral candidate in the psychology department. "It was not that they spent
more time with their partners but that they were better enjoying the time
they spent with their partners."
Though the women in the study were not named, several other Bay Area mothers
shared similar views.
Terry Toczynski, a 55-year-old mother of three, said she noticed an
improvement in her marriage when her three children went off to school. They
were gone for about a year before one of them temporarily moved back
"In the time they weren't there, we didn't have to focus 100 percent on
raising children, and it was definitely better for us," the Berkeley woman
said. "We were a couple again, two individuals who chose to live together
and be with each other.
Got good at conversations
"At first, it is very quiet, but there is a lot of good in the lack of
noise. We got good at having conversations. Our time is about us."
The 123 women in the study were born between 1937 and 1939 and were first
questioned for a study on creativity while they were seniors at Mills
College in Oakland. Since then, they have participated in numerous studies,
including one on the effect of the women's movement.
"We realized what an opportunity we had to study these women over the
years," said Gorchoff, who conducted the study with psychology Professors
Oliver John and Ravenna Helson.
Though all the women attended college, they chose different career paths and
had varying income levels and numbers of children. Their martial status
varied as well.
Some changed partners, some didn't. Whatever the case, the study showed that
they all reported becoming more satisfied when their children moved away
"The increase was not at all dependent on whether they remarried," Gorchoff
said. "And the women did not report that the general global satisfaction
with their lives got better, just their marriages. They were enjoying the
time with their partners more."
Shahla Piff, 59, of San Bruno said she initially felt like her purpose in
life was gone when her two sons moved out about six years ago but soon
realized her marriage was growing stronger.
"We had time to pay attention to each other," said Piff, whose sons are 26
and 28. "The boys were taking a lot of our attention and energy. When they
left, we could behave like adults. We could do fun stuff, like travel and go
to art shows.
"It gives us more time to focus on each other and our interests."
Marriages improved with age overall, according to the study, but women who
experienced the transition to an empty nest were happier with their mates
than women with children in the home and women whose children had been gone
for a while.
The first survey was done when most of the women still had children at home,
the second when some of them still had kids at home, and the third when most
kids were gone. All were in middle age during the first survey. Some got
married, some raised kids, some were divorced, some remarried and some were
in domestic partnerships.
The women rated how satisfied they were in their relationships using a
"The transition to an empty nest may be associated with an increase in the
quantity of time and energy invested in one's marriage, an increase in the
quality of time spent with one's partner and with perceptions of one's
child's success," the study said.
Not everyone agrees. Barbara Lockwood, a 58-year-old Brookdale (Santa Cruz
County) woman whose sons left home in 1998, said her marriage has remained
pretty much the same.
Empty Nest Travel Club
Lockwood started the Empty Nest Travel Club for parents whose kids had moved
out, because her husband doesn't like to travel and she wanted to see the
"The kids leaving was a big adjustment and part of the reason I want to
travel more, but I wouldn't say my marriage got more satisfying," Lockwood
said. "We are now focused on ourselves and our discussions are about health
problems, not the kids."
The study, titled "Contextualizing Change in Marital Satisfaction During
Middle Age," was published in the November issue of the journal
- MARITAL CHECKUPS
We've shared reports on this 5-year million dollar study over the years -
you might want to check the Smart Marriages archive (just search for
Cordova) for background and more thorough descriptions of the study.
For example it makes sense that Cordova studied with John Gottman and was a
protégé of Neil Jacobson.
But before you read, I do want to ENCOURAGE YOU to go to the ABC site and
leave a comment about what positive news this is. As you read, make mental
notes for your comment about how such a small *educational* checkup that is
primarily consciousness raising marriage education (as Cordova says in
several articles this is NOT therapy and includes things like reading a book
or just getting feedback on how they're communication and what they might do
to improve just think if he'd offer a quick skill building class) but
how just that, having their awareness raised, helps a couple become aware of
how they can improve their speaking and listening skills and how such a
minimal and cost-effective intervention can give such big results. Go
here to make a comment. There are eight as of this morning, one from
thinkmarriage folks in Wisconsin and sadly, two from me....I screwed up in
hitting the comment button.
And, I forgot to include the smartmarriages.com site both times. I'm working
too fast this morning.
Also, this is an article/research you should be able to use with local
funders in your community - NOW is the time when we must do what we can to
strengthen marriages in our economically strapped communities and this
research makes the case for brief, EDUCATIONAL interventions. - diane
Do You Need a Marital Checkup?
Study: An Annual Tuneup Could Improve Your Relationship
By ANDREA CANNING, JENNIFER PEREIRA and IMAEYEN IBANGA
Dec. 3, 2008
When most people hear the word checkup, they might think of semi-annual
dental visits or physicals, but it turns out an examination might also help
improve the health of your marriage.
Psychologist James Cordova is convinced annual marital counseling can
improve relationships, and he said a recent study he led proves it.
"Essentially, what we've discovered over time is that marital health, really
is a health concern. The qualities of a person's marriage and the extent to
which they are doing well in that marriage have a dramatic effect on
physical health and mental health," said Cordova, an associate professor of
psychology at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.
In a two-year National Institutes of Health study, Cordova followed 68
couples, who varied in age, for six months. On average the pairs had been
together for 15 years, with the husbands' ages around 47 and the wives' 44.
Half of the married couples were given marriage checkups, which included
therapy once a year, and the other pairs received no therapy at all.
Cordova found that the couples who participated in the two-session checkup
intervention, which included completing a battery of questions and
face-to-face assessment, fared better.
"Marital satisfaction improves for couples who have been through counseling
once a year, while control couples didn't improve at all," Cordova said.
"People that have been through the marriage checkup are improving in all
kinds of ways in comparison to couples who haven't."
Participants David Bayer and his wife Kay said they've seen a difference in
their marriage since they joined the study. The two, who have been married
for 23 years, said they decided to participate because they were worried
about the future.
"We had two really close friends get divorced and it sort of hit us when
they got divorced: 'What happened to them?' So, we're trying to improve on
what we saw go wrong," Kay Bayer said.
The Bayers said their biggest weakness was communication, but both have
learned to find more effective ways to talk to each other because of the
"You don't realize the little things that may affect your marriage," Kay
Bayer said. "[I was] learning to speak more clearly to him so he could
understand where I was coming from. I tend not to think before I speak on
The Bayers' experience was typical of what other couples who took part in
the checkups found, Cordova said.
"They feel more intimate in their relationship," Cordova said of the couples
who engaged in therapy. "They feel more accepting of each other, more able
to accept one another's warts and all. They're more active in taking
deliberate care of their marriage."
Cordova said the most common complaint he hears from couples involves not
being able to fit their marriages into a hectic lifestyle.
"[The] things we help them with [are] to notice that it's an issue, to
notice they're suffering from it and figure out ways to make time," he said.
Cordova said he hopes more couples will focus on what's right in their
marriages and build on those strengths.
Click here for more information about Cordova's study:
Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures
Do not hit "reply" to respond to this email. This mailbox is not monitored
and you will not receive a response.
Instead, create a new email and send submissions and comments for the
listserv or for moderator, Diane Sollee, to: diane at smartmarriages.com (In
other words, do NOT simply hit "reply". If you hit reply your email will
disappear into cyberspace.)
This is a moderated list. All submissions are read by Diane Sollee. Please
indicate if your comment is NOT to be shared with the list. PLEASE include
your email address and/or url as part of your signature. With thousands of
subscribers, not all comments can be shared.
Also realize that opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by members
of the Coalition.
To SUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE, or Change your subscription address,
To read past posts to the listserv, visit the Archive at:
13th Annual Smart Marriages® Conference, Shingle Creek Resort,
Orlando, Florida, July 6-12, 2009 (General Conference July 8-11)
Pre-Conference Training Institutes July 6-8
Post-Conference Training Institutes July 12
Shingle Creek Resort: http://www.rosenshinglecreek.com/
Conference schedule, registration, & exhibit information will be posted as
it becomes available at:
List your program and resources on the Directory of Classes at
Order conference audio & video CD/DVD/MP3s: 800-241-7785 or
Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education, LLC (CMFCE)
Diane Sollee, Director
5310 Belt Rd NW, Washington, DC 20015-1961
FAIR USE NOTICE: This e-newsletter/site contains copyrighted material the
use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright
owner. We make such material available in our efforts to advance
understanding of marriage, family, couples, divorce, legislation, family
breakdown, etc. We understand this constitutes a 'fair use' of such material
as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with
Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed
without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the
included information for research and educational purposes. For more
information: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to
use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go
beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
More information about the SmartMarriages