According to a comprehensive study of marriage by Penn State researcher Paul Amato and others, couples are spending less time together than ever. Spouses are eating alone, doing friend and other activities apart from their spouses. For some couples this trend is troubling. It loosens the attachment so important to creating a strong marriage.
When emotional connections are stronger with those outside the marriage than inside, there is a risk for affairs. And maintaining the marital friendship is the foundation of what Gottman calls a strong marital house. So what can a couple do if they find themselves drifting apart and vacationing alone?
One idea is to find an emotionally focused couples therapist (EFT–emotionally focused therapy) who works on creating a safe and secure attachment in the marriage. The therapy can help couples develop a feeling of togetherness, become more open and responsive to each other. Therapy helps couples look at deeper feelings under their behavior and resolve hurts and wounds that may be prompting the separateness. Others couples may just need to make spending time together a priority and re-engage in together activities again. When couples spend time together and turn to each other in times of difficulty, the marital bond grows.
So if you are feeling alone, pay attention to that feeling and do something about it. While you may be one of the few people who is not bothered by living a parallel life with your partner, most of us want that secure and safe attachment based on marital friendship and togetherness.
Study from: Alone Together: How Marriage in America Is Changing, (Harvard University Press, 2007)
Love is definitely the topic of today.
Love has many benefits, especially when we are talking about romantic love.
Did you know that having a romantic relationship makes both men and women happier? Ok, I know some of you are thinking, not in my case. It’s true, relationships can also be a source of great pain and conflict. But overall, romantic relationships make us happy. And the stronger the commitment, the happier we are!
When researchers at Cornell University and Penn State University compared married couples to singles or cohabitators, they found that even when the marriage is not so happy, both partners have a better sense of well-being than singles or couples living together. A reason for this could be that marriage brings a sense of stability, given the commitment.
And here is the kicker. It’s not that happy people necessarily get into happy relationships. Instead, relationships seem to make people more happy. So if you want to improve your well-being, find that special someone. And if you are in a relationship on this special day, celebrate your happiness. Romance makes us happy!
According to an online survey of 5,481 singles, ages 21 and older, who are not in a relationship, conducted by Market Tools Inc. for Match.com (Margin of error plus/minus 1.32 percentage points), this is what singles are saying about their sexual behavior:
- –42% would not date a virgin. This is really sad and a remarkable change through the decades. Consider the sexual baggage and potential STIs that are brought to relationships from multiple sex partners. And this is certainly not in line with God’s plan to wait for sex in marriage.
- –47% of singles reported a “friends with benefits” relationship. One has to wonder how much media have impacted this casual view of sex. On most TV shows, it is almost expected that you hook up with someone while dating. And casual friendships that involve sex are viewed as conveniences as long as they don’t hurt friendships. Sex is reduced to a physical act versus an intimate act of marriage. Based on my conversations with singles, I am not convinced that anyone handles casual sex well.
- –44% of women and 63% of men have had one-night stands. The temptation is great, especially when this is not viewed as sin.
- –Almost one-third (28%) say they’ve had sex by the third date; almost half (46%) by the sixth date. Speaks to the expectation that casual sex is not frowned upon as it was in years past.
What is disturbing about this survey is that we are seeing almost half of singles willing to hook up with dates and treat sex in a casual way. What isn’t talked about is the fall out emotionally, spiritually and relationally when sex is treated casually. The heartache of giving yourself to a person who doesn’t stay with you creates more of an impact than people lead you to believe. I’ve heard hundreds of stories from women and men who can’t shake the images of prior sexual behavior from their memories when they do get into a relationship they would like to go long term. The number of STIs continues to rise, a permanent reminder of prior sexual relationships to those who marry other people.
Sexual relationships are not free and easy as we are led to believe. The consequences are rarely shown or discussed but often leave scars, wounds and feelings of shame that can only be dealt with through the healing power of a relationship with Christ. God’s prescription for sex in marriage is not some punitive measure to keep up from having fun, but a protection for our hearts. Any other message is simply a lie, but apparently more and more singles are buying the lies.
A singles survey of almost 5500 unattached adults conducted by MarketTools.com for Match.com sheds light on what singles look for in potential relationships. And yes, physical attraction still makes the list. I already blogged on what men look for in women. Now, let’s take a look at what women judge men on when considering a potential date.
The number 1 physical characteristic was the same as men: TEETH. A whopping 71% listed teeth. Obviously, that smile makes a difference!
The rest of the characteristics ranked as follows:
#2 Grammar (61%)
#3 Clothes (58%)
#4 Hair (53%)
#5 Nails/hands (52%)
#6 Have/Not having tattoo (34%)
#7 Shoes (29%)
#8 The car he drives (24%)
#9 Accent (22%)
#10 Electronic devices carried (9%)
It is interesting how important grammar is to making a good impression. Also, self-care is an issue. Women are paying attention to grooming.
In terms of the relationship, the most important ranked as follows:
#1 Someone who treats me with respect (84%)
#2 Someone I can trust and confide in (77%)
#3Someone who has a sense of humor and can make me laugh (58%)
#4 Someone who shares the same values I do (47%)
#5 Someone who is comfortable sharing his wants, needs and desires (46%)
Hmmm…only the women weighed in on values.
And what women voted as least important:
Someone who is eager to marry (6%)
Someone who eats similar foods (9%)
Someone who wants to have children and shares my political beliefs. (tied at 11%)
Someone who has a similar education level (12%)
Someone from the same ethnic background (14%)