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Articles from March 2006

March 28, 2006

Why Be Married? For Your Kids and Grandkids

Dr. Norval Glenn, sociologist at The University of Texas at Austin, with Elizabeth Marquardt, recently surveyed 1,500 18 to 35 year olds and interviewed another 70 in depth. Half were children of divorce, half were not.

No more than a third had their lives improved by their parents' divorce. Norval reports, "if there is violence or extreme conflict, or if the marriage is so bad it leaves the primary parent, usually the mother, so depressed she can’t parent effectively, the children are usually better off after the parents divorce."

But for the rest, probably more than 2 out of 3, the consequences were negative, both as children and in their own relationships. Children from these "good" divorces had less successful marriages than those from happy marriages, those from divorces that protected them from harm as children, and even those from unhappy marriages.

March 19, 2006

The Disappearing Husband

Recently, my husband and I attended a weekend event with speakers' presentations in several of the ballrooms and a hospitality suite on the top floor for eating, drinking, and mingling. We've both gone to these before and know lots of the other folks who show up. So why did my worrying mind go into overdrive when I noticed he'd vanished from the seat next to mine at one of the presentations?

He'd been right there for over an hour. Now he was gone. And he'd said nothing, given no signal of his departure. I could see him at the back of the room, heading for the exit. My first thoughts ran along the lines of I'm invisible, he can sit right next to me and forget I exist, I deserve an explanation, he should tell me before leaving, I've been wronged. Really. Even after years of Assuming Love. There's a little switch in my brain that lets loose wild demons when anything smacks of abandonment.

But I quickly switched from Assume Abandonment to Assume Love. What would lead a good, loving husband to silently slip away from his wife during such a presentation? A bathroom break came to mind first. After all these years, I know that my husband will never, ever reveal that he's headed there. Then it occurred to me that he might be bored by the presenter but way too well-mannered to add insult to injury by talking before he walked out. He might even have noticed that I was quite interested -- and among friends -- and decided not to disturb me.

Once those thoughts had brought me back to a calmer state, I enjoyed the rest of the talk and caught up with my husband, who was, indeed, trying to be polite to me and to the speaker by leaving silently. We were back in the hospitality suite, where I could appreciate just how funny and sociable this terrific man is. If I'd come back feeling mistreated by his silent departure, I might have missed that.

March 7, 2006

Fighting for Your Marriage

I strongly recommend Fighting for Your Marriage by Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley, and Susan L. Blumberg. A new and revised version was published in 2001 by Jossey-Bass.

Assume Love can be the first step on the road to a happier marriage, but it should not be the last step. The PREP program taught in this book can improve your marriage even more. PREP stands for Prevention and Relationship Enhancement. The course benefits both engaged couples and those seeking a better marriage.

They list four hallmarks of a great relationship:

  1. Be safe at home.
  2. Open the doors to initimacy.
  3. Do your part and be responsible.
  4. Nurture security in your future together.

PREP, a well-researched program, works best for couples who can do the exercises together. If your spouse isn't yet ready to work with you on the marriage, you'll find some useful ideas that you can use on your own. Just remember not to add Markman, Stanley, and Blumberg's advice to your list of things your spouse "should" do. That would erode, rather than help, your marriage.

Fighting for Your Marriage. Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley, and Susan L. Blumberg. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2001. 374 pages.

The Author

Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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