Want a Happier Marriage? Here Are Some Facts...

Want a Happier Marriage? Here Are Some Facts...

+Jules Yap runs a blog called IKEAHackers.net and posted a Valentine's Day graphic from +Happify packed with research data from various, reliable, sources. While this minuscule graphic runs practically the length of this post, I would encourage you to view it in it's entirety on their site. The article is titled The Science Behind a Happy Relationship. While a few things may seem like common knowledge there are a few things I wanted to point out and expand on.

First and foremost, communication is the foundation to a happy marriage. As you can see in the graphic, "happy couples spend 5 more hours a week being together and talking." The obvious point is that if you can't stand each others company then you're destined to separate permanently, eventually. Another form of communication is praise. As the graphic depicts, How Do You Respond to Triumphs shows how being a "cheerleader" for your mate bolsters relationships by providing positive feedback for one another's accomplishments. My wife, the stay-at-home-mom to our four children, is more my "cheerleader" than she is her own "do-er". This is purely an occupation-based role since my military duties have included stops in Venice, Italy, London, England, and various other vacation spots, all while en-route to whatever "hole" I was going to be sitting in for the next six months. While she is "happy" for me and the opportunities I take full advantage of as they come, she is also resentful that she doesn't get to enjoy these more pleasant moments of my military career with me. Naturally, the six months of dust and sand isn't made-up for in the 48 hours we're held over somewhere but, going to a vacation destination on the government's-dime is surely harder to celebrate when she's the one stuck at home with a week's worth of pouring rain, cranky kids while her husband is trotting the globe. Even still, it is important that we celebrate and applaud one-another's successes as they were our own. After all, we're married and where I go, she goes, even if only in my heart.

Under the Marriage and Your Happiness title a 20-year British study revealed that the people happiest in their marriages were child-less, college-degree holding, newlyweds (being married for less than 5 years), with the male as the sole-source of income. The way I read this is that 20-something year old, recent college grads, that are still in the "honeymoon phase" of their marriage and don't have any responsibilities are the happiest.... because? This data revealed how shallow we are raising our children. It speaks volumes when cross-referenced with the divorce rates in America and reveals nearly the same data with few exceptions; newborn children, a spouse fired from a job, or simply unhappy with their financial status. None of which change without significant self-improvement, not divorce.

Finally, the information in How Do Kids Impact a Couples Happiness also gives some credence to the largest factor in late-marriage divorce. Immediately following the birth of baby #1, 67% of couples experienced a "big drop in marital satisfaction." This is typically due to the "post-card" image couples have when their first child is born. This dissatisfaction is greatly reduced if they decide to have more children. When the first child is born there is a large adjustment in schedules; sleep, activities, hobbies, and life in general. The mother may experience hormonal and emotional upheaval that is typical with most-all new mothers. Fathers go through a similar emotional roller coaster because of the sudden realization of responsibility now thrust upon them, coupled with the sexual frustration that he may feel more than she (for about the next six months), among other things. Sorry, it happens. These symptoms can be diminished with proper prenatal counseling and sufficient preparation. Keep in mind that there are two things you're never REALLY prepared for; marriage and children. No matter how much you save before you get married or establish yourself in a career, no amount of preparation will ever suffice for marriage or children. In late-marriage divorces, one of the largest contributors is more commonly referred to as "empty-nest" syndrome. It occurs when the married couple takes on their child's activities and forgets they have a life themselves. All the years of driving to soccer games, making Billy's football practice, getting Sarah to gymnastics, and whatever else, takes the place of our own hobbies and interests. As much as most parents would admit they enjoy watching or participating in their child's this-and-that, the reality is that they are as much individuals as their children are. Once they grow up and leave the nest, the couple is left without an identity of their own and the countless years of doing for others and taking joy in someone else's success finally takes its toll. Let alone the lack of observance that each other may experience as one may not notice the other no longer even enjoys long walks or some other hobby they enjoyed together many years ago. Now left with an "empty nest" they are left to re-learn one another and the attitudes they have come to settle into now take over and become their "new persona" leaving nothing to be desired anymore. The answer? Divorce. Avoiding this is another topic in and of itself.

This pretty much summed up my opinion for this graphic and doesn't touch on the added stress of military life but focusing on communication, positive thought, and realistic goals for a marriage, are all encompassing when it comes to married life, on either side of the gate. (That's a Base Gate reference for any civilian readers)

#happify #marriedwithchildren #firstborn #happilymarried #emptynest


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