This presentation was given at Holy Family Church in Kirkland, WA, on August 5, 2013.
The Benefits of Marriage:
Why work on strengthening marriage? Husbands and wives enjoy better physical health, quicker recovery from disease and injuries, longer life, greater incomes and household wealth, greater mental health and happiness, and greater satisfaction in their sexual lives than their single, cohabiting, or divorced counterparts. Children growing up with their married mother and father are happier, do better academically, have fewer problems with drugs, delinquency, and early sexual activity, and have more successful marriages of their own than those raised by single, unmarried, or divorced parents. Married households have more resources to devote to the community in volunteer and service work.
- The Benefits from Marriage and Religion in the United States: A Comparative Analysis, by Linda J. Waite and Evelyn L. Lehrer
- For Your Marriage, Facts and Figures. Website sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
- Why Marriage Matters: Thirty Conclusions from the Social Sciences, The Institute for American Values and the National Marriage Project (2011). Ed. Brad Wilcox.
Marriages facing serious trouble can find great help in the Retrouvaille program
The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Marriages:
1. Develop Good Communication Skills
- 5-to-1 ratio of positivity to negativity
- Eye contact and touch
- Respond rather than react
2. Work Together on Money Management
- Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University
3. Learn how to Manage Conflict
4. Share Faith and Values
- Attend Church Together (the more frequently, the happier the couple!)
- Pray or share spiritual practices together at home
5. Respect the Sanctity of Sex in Marriage
- Premarital sex and cohabiting are linked to higher rates of divorce
- They are correlated with higher rates of infidelity in marriage, another big factor in divorce
- Pornography use is also cited as a major factor in divorce
- Chastity is the virtue of using sex as God intended: exclusively with your husband or wife to celebrate a total mutual self-giving in a faithful, life-long and life-giving covenant.
- No matter what choices we’ve made in the past, Christ can always give us the grace to be made new in Him. He can restore our dignity and help us grow in chastity, healing the effects of sin and giving us the power of His own love to strengthen, purify, and elevate the love we share with our husband or wife in our marriage today and in the future.
6. Practice Natural Family Planning rather than contraception to space births when necessary
- The levels of intimacy, communication, respect, self-control, and mutual responsibility required by NFP draws couples together. Here is a great post about the benefits in marriage of using NFP from the husband’s perspective (he and his wife switched to NFP from the Pill after several years of marriage). And some more testimonies of NFP couples.
- Some data suggests that couples practicing NFP have a divorce rate of 0.2%. Conservatively adjusted, still less than 5%.
7. Grow in Holiness and Virtue
- Draw on the power of the Sacraments to connect with the Source of Love (God Himself!).