How to keep marriage going
March 21 marks the first day of spring and, as a poet once put it, in spring thoughts turn to love.
It is amazing how much energy as a society we put into relationships. Close your eyes and I bet you can remember your first crush and your first date. Think of your first kiss. Remember when (I’m sure that there are hundreds of memories with which you can fill in the blank!).
Unfortunately, the return on our investment isn’t always so good. The statistics are eye opening:
n In 2002 there were 35,600 marriages in Colorado.
n In that same year there were 21,113 divorces.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services National Vital Statistics Report:
n There were 222,560 marriages in the U.S.
n There were 111,280 divorces.
In Colorado, then, we are doing worse than the national average. The number of divorces in Colorado is 59 percent of the total number of marriages. Nationally, that number is only 50 percent.
If you haven’t fallen into that big “D” column, what can you do to keep the magic alive? If you have been there, what can make the next relationship stay on solid ground? The answers are many, but the central three are invest, communicate and make God a part of it.
By invest, I mean dedicate time, money and energy. We invest in a lot of things. Our homes, cars and trucks, jobs and probably even our lawns get invested in more than our relationships. Remember to always keep dating. Think about how much you invested in your relationships when they were brand new. Life gets busier, we feel more comfortable in our relationships and the amount we invest in them drops. If you can’t remember the last time you and your partner went out on a special date, it is time to re-invest.
Communication seems easy. We do it all the time, every day. I think truthfully, we spend most of our time speaking and call it communication. Listening, understanding (not necessarily agreeing) are all part of it. Turn off all the distractions, be somewhere quiet, take the phone and kids off the hook. It takes a special effort, but the rewards are great.
Finally, use all the help you have at your disposal. That’s where God comes in. Amazingly, couples who practice a faith together have a divorce rate less than those who don’t. I don’t know of many better investments than that. Some say it takes two to make a great relationship. I’d say it takes three. A challenging thought, isn’t it?
If your relationship is in trouble or in need of help, get it. Don’t wait until the foundation is crumbling. All of our community’s churches and religious institutions are a good place to start. We are fortunate to have many excellent marriage and family therapists here, too. Finally, your physician can also help or point you in the right direction.
I hope to see you out on a date soon.
Please send me your questions. The only bad question is the unanswered one.
Remember, your health is your responsibility. Health is our greatest asset and it doesn’t happen by accident. If something doesn’t seem right, or questions are left unanswered, don’t wait, call your doctor.
Dr. Drew Werner of the Eagle Valley Medical Center writes a weekly column for the Daily. He encourages health questions. Write him by e-mail to email@example.com or c/o Editor, Vail Daily, P.O. Box 81, Vail, 81658.