Seven secrets to a lasting marriage |

Seven secrets to a lasting marriage

Sheba R. Wheeler
The Denver Post
Vail, CO Colorado

With wedding season and the stress of nuptials underway, it’s easy for couples to think the hard part is over after the walk down the aisle.

But relationship experts who’ve studied marriages over the decades say the work has just begun, especially for today’s bride and groom. Modern marriages require more communication skills, conflict management and negotiation, says Howard Markman, a University of Denver professor.

Challenges have grown beyond both parents working outside the home and managing busy children’s schedule. Results from a longitudinal study begun in 1996 predicting divorce showed anxieties about war and terrorism, financial pressures, job loss, depression and technology – largely Internet use and social networking – pulling marriages apart.

Markman says national data show that 20 percent of couples who wed met online. But the Internet also has made it easier to cheat. Couples point to Internet pornography and arguments over appropriate cellphone usage among marriage tension factors.

“Instead of just fighting about money or how frequently to have sex, couples are also fighting about time spent on Facebook or whether it’s OK to send a text during a romantic dinner or bring a laptop on a getaway weekend,” says Markman, who has updated “Fighting for Your Marriage” (Jossey-Bass, $19.95), along with co-authors Scott Stanley and Susan Blumberg, to reflect changes in marriage and romantic relationships from when it was first published in 1994. It also includes an instructional DVD based on the PREP strategies (Prevent and Relationship Enhancement Program) to handle conflict.

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