Posts in the 'marriage' Category

On Marriage: Our Love Affair with Predicting Divorce

As an often-times (admittedly) snarky person, I’m not immune to flippantly “predicting” the outcome of others’ affairs. I know it’s not a good thing and it can breed negativity, but I also mind the company I keep when doing so, and I know with all certainty I’m not alone in my passive judgements. But what’s more telling than an outsider’s view on a couple’s status is how the couple themselves talk about their pairing. In a similar vein to The Masters of Love post from a few weeks back, Our Love Affair with Predicting Divorce – published on The New York Times website — considers our interactions with one another over time as an indicator for how relationships fare.

On Marriage: Our Love Affair with Predicting Divorce

Photo by Angie Chung via Flickr Creative Commons. Modified with PicMonkey.

One of the great love stories of our era is not a celebrity coupling or an on-screen romance but a series of psychological experiments. These experiments aim to predict which couples will divorce, based on how they act while married. And while some have questioned their findings, the idea that marital discord is predictable (and, perhaps, preventable) retains its hold on our hearts.

This week, Melissa Dahl and Abraham Riesman of The Science of Us riff on a 1992 study that looked at the way couples talked about their lives together — and that’s now, as they note, “something of a social psychology classic.” They write:

“The couples who told their stories in a more withdrawn, negative manner were more likely to have split three years later, while couples who told their stories in a more expressive, open way tended to stick it out. All couples face hard times, it’s true, but the couples who were more likely to stay together spoke about those tough moments with more fondness and nostalgia than the couples who eventually parted ways.”

By analyzing how the couples talked, the study authors — Kim T. Buehlman, John M. Gottman and Lynn F. Katz — were able to create a model that predicted with close to 94 percent accuracy which of them would be divorced within three years. They wrote, “We can suggest at this juncture that not only can we predict divorce and the process of marital dissolution with high accuracy but we may also understand what drives the process.”

To continue reading Our Love Affair with Predicting Divorce, head over to The New York Times website.

Real Talk: Health Insurance, Marriage and a Twitter Party

**This post is brought to you by our friends at ElementAssociates.com, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

hilltop dreams

By Slightly-Less-Random via Flickr Creative Commons.

Guys, this isn’t the most romantic of wedding topics, but it’s real. And it’s important. I mean, as I type this, Dana herself is headed into yet another surgery on her eyes. Health care and the necessity of insurance is a real thing.

Regardless of how you feel about the political hoopla behind the Affordable Care Act, etc., health insurance can make a huge difference in your life and how you are able to handle unexpected events. For one thing, it has the potential to save you some serious cash, which, considering you’re reading The Broke-Ass Bride right now, you have some interest in doing.

Look, I know that obtaining health insurance under the off chance that I may have to go to the doctor isn’t necessarily my highest priority for what few dollars I’m able to bring in every month that isn’t already gobbled up by rent, credit card bills, loans, electricity, etc. But I also know that since my eyeglasses prescription is about 2 years old, my migraines have been increasingly worse. I also know that I’m almost 30 and it’s probably high time to get myself checked out to make sure all the gears are running smoothly. And I know that if I put off getting health insurance for much longer, it’s probably going to end up costing me more — or worse, something awful could happen and I’d have to go into serious debt, which I frankly can’t afford any way you slice it.

While there are only certain times of the year that enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace is open, certain “qualifying life events” (you just try to come up with better jargon than that. I dare you.) may allow you to get your butt covered sooner rather than later.

And yep, you guessed it. Getting married is one of those events (having a baby, moving or losing current insurance are also included).

So, uninsured BABs, here’s the lowdown on how to get hitched and get insured, according to GetCoveredAmerica.org:

  • You have 60 days from the day you get married to sign up and pick a plan.
  • You can change your existing plan, sign up for a new plan, join your spouse’s plan or add them to yours, or add any dependents to your plan.
  • Most people will get help paying for insurance, or even qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid. If you qualify for Medicaid, you can sign up at any time throughout the year.
  • If you don’t have health insurance, you might have to pay a fine.

BAB is joining a Twitter party tomorrow (6/25) at 1pm ET/10am PT using #TakeCareChat to talk about Get Covered America and your options under the ACA. If you’re in the dark about any aspect at all of this, please join us. I’ll be there learning right beside you. Even if you don’t plan to do anything about it any time soon, there’s no harm in staying informed.

On Marriage: Rewriting Your Love Story

Y’all, speaking from experience, marriage is tough. And there are times when it doesn’t work, maybe because it wasn’t “meant to be” (I don’t really know what this means, other than fate/destiny/a flying spaghetti monster may have had some sneaky upper hand in my decisions as a lonely, confused mid-twenties female) or maybe because of our own action — or lack thereof — leading up to and through the course of it ending. But there are some, like this writer (originally posted on BlogHer), who staged a battleground in the name of love. Not all love stories are happily ever after … but unhappily ever after doesn’t have to be the only other option. You can be proud of the fight, even if you’re not proud of the reason(s) behind it. And sometimes the result is even more worth anything you may have been able to dream up.

all that we fought forFlickr Creative Commons. Credit.

I didn’t grow up dreaming of my wedding day, so there were no preconceived ideas of what my love story would look like. Marriage was something that most people chose to embark on at a time in their lives when they wanted to build equity, and by that I mean have babies. People got married once they had achieved great jobs, expensive furniture, and ran out of things to do on a Friday night. That all turned out not to be true. I wasn’t going to be one of those ladies who marries an executive in her early 30′s with a destination wedding, and the merging of padded bank accounts. I was going to be the nineteen year old that calls her parents six months after leaving home with the news that I was marrying my twenty year old boyfriend…‘You remember, that guy we had dinner with when you visited me? Brown hair…tattoos…Dad? Hello?’

Although I realize that it doesn’t matter what order things happen in, I liked that we got engaged and married without a shot gun. Most people assume that a nineteen year old gets married after seven months of dating because she’s got a surprise on the way. We were just in love, and I was proud of that. I was really into our whirlwind story of romance on the high seas, forbidden courtships, and grand gestures. I was also incredibly naive, immature, and lacked the skills necessary to be successful in marriage. I’m pretty sure the Sailor would offer up a “ditto” if he were sitting here. It didn’t take long before we experienced, and survived, lying, cheating, financial dishonesty, and a number of other hurdles. Our sweet story of young love looked more like a soon-to-be statistic.

How embarrassing.

Head over to BlogHer to continue reading “Rewriting Your Love Story.”

 

On Marriage: The Lie and The Truth About Marriage

 

Often times, when we’re in the throes of wedding planning, we forget what’s on the other side of the tulle, peonies, Champagne and sparklez. We forget that there have been fights, anxiety, uncertainty … and there will be more of those. Because marriage takes sweat, fortitude, compassion and sometimes fear. As this post from Momastery points out, sometimes we lose the butterflies, and it takes work to get them back.
marriage-450

 

The Way We’re Told It Goes:

  1. Meet The One
  2. Fall In BUTTERFLY Love, Have all the Feelings
  3. Date, Accept Proposal
  4. Have a Wedding: AKA YOU’VE CROSSED THE FINISH LINE!
  5. You’re done! Congrats, Cinderella! All that’s left now is: Happily Ever After!!!!!

The Way It Has Worked For Me:

  1. Meet A Special One
  2. Fall in Butterfly Love, have all the feelings
  3. Date
  4. Have a Wedding – AKA Cross the STARTING LINE.
  5. You’ve begun. Shit gets real.  Grocery shopping and children and assembling furniture and navigating each other’s families and demons and other confusing, terrifying things keep happening. Slowly understand that marriage is not what you thought it would be and your husband is not who you thought he’d be and additionally you are not who you thought you’d be.
  6. Notice there are no more butterflies. Panic like bloody hell. Understand with mounting dread that LIFE has killed the butterflies and this must mean you have “fallen out of love.”
  7. Look into separation.
  8. Start to learn how horribly difficult it will be to get unmarried for you and everyone you love and also – HOLY CRAP IT COSTS A LOT. Try to locate a path of less resistance. Search for some solution that is less emotionally and physically and mentally and financially expensive. It’s often not LOVE that makes us stay- but the expense of leaving. AND THAT’S OKAY.
  9. Ask for help. Meet with experts, talk to wise people, read good books. Mostly, Be still and listen for The Next Right Thing in the quiet.
  10. Wait. Keep waiting. Make no decisions except what to do EXACTLY RIGHT NOW. Sit with the pain. Sit with the struggle. Sit with the uncertainty. Resist the relentless urge to deflect the pain, run from the pain, numb the pain with food- booze -work –future tripping- unkindness- false certainty -busyness or any other Wisdom Killer.  Just Be Still and Wait.

- Continue reading here.

On Marriage: I’m Not Waiting Until Marriage

This article popped up on The Huffington Post, and as I tend to do with all things wedding- or marriage-related on a site I frequent, I opened it and read it. And my heart fluttered a bit. There does often seem to be this abounding sense of pessimism surrounding weddings and marriages, especially in this era of the divorce rate setting up camp at around 50%. So sometimes, it’s really, really nice to read a piece about someone who is truly happy and truly wants to be married for the sake of love and partnership. Neal Samudre explains his stance on why he didn’t wait:

BALANCING ACTVia Kyle Steed Design on Flickr

I’m getting ready to marry my best friend, and because I love her, I must say: I didn’t wait for marriage. And hopefully, she’ll be happy I didn’t.

Let me tell you the story of why I bring this up now, just a couple months before my wedding:

I proposed to my fiancé in December, when I didn’t have a job, didn’t have money, and didn’t have anything to my name but nickels and dimes. Some said it was romantic, but most people said it was foolish.

When the reality of marriage started sinking in, I wrote an article describing my sentiments on why I chose to get engaged at an early age. I honestly said that I got engaged at a young age because I was in love, and love for me is greater than timing, how much money I have, and other jaded opinions on marriage in our culture.

What I didn’t expect, however, were the millions of people who would tune into this belief. The article went viral in a short time, with millions of views around the globe and thousands of shares.

Hundreds of people were reaching out to me and blessing my marriage. But also, on the other side of that, people were condemning it.

People said I wasn’t ready.

They said I was too young.

They said I was idiotic for getting engaged without a job, and that I should start preparing for a divorce soon.

One person even found pictures of me, scribbled racist jargon all over it, and emailed it to me saying that I should go kill myself because I’m a minority with dumb thoughts on love.

This disturbed me of course, but one response bothered me even more. Multiple people said this when they commented on my future:

Just wait until marriage.

They said this as if I’m going to cross the line into marriage and instantly be dissatisfied.

Why is our culture so cynical on love these days?

People willingly choose to believe increasing divorce rates as a fact for their own lives. They let negative comments and views on love seep into their opinions on marriage, ultimately leading towards cynicism.

Marriage is a contract, they say. Marriage is the end to fun times. Marriage is not all it’s cracked up to be.

People listen to that and carry it with them to the altar.

It’s no wonder more and more marriages are failing today. People are oddly choosing to believe a pessimistic view on marriage.

Some have even told me that love has nothing to do with marriage.

To read more on why Samudre couldn’t hold off any longer, why he wouldn’t wait, head on over to HuffPo.

On Marriage: 30 Years of Marriage, 30 Gifts of Imperfection

This article on BlogHer by TheFlyCoach shines the light on the imperfections of marriage … because it isn’t always Champagne and cupcakes. Sometimes it’s work — hard work — and you have to put up a fight. And then, one day, you may wake up and realize decades have passed and ask yourself “Now what?”

couple

Via

I feel like I fell asleep for 30 years and just woke up. How did 30 years go by so quickly? We sat and talked about options for celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. I asked him randomly, “Now what?” He looked puzzled at my question. I said it again, “Now what?” It is a simple question, right?

We raised two daughters, purchased homes, built careers, parented numerous pets and now the house is empty as we embark upon one of the biggest milestones of our life. I wish we were one of those couples that says, “It has been heavenly bliss.” I very lovingly and non-judgmentally ask, “Who are these people? What planet did they come from?” I love my husband and I know he loves me and would gladly take the ride again. However, it has been nothing close to “heavenly bliss”. We are the couple that loves deeply, but have not been completely satisfied in our marriage? Oddly enough we have always celebrated as if we were.

I often wonder why we didn’t throw in the towel. We struggled to adjust to our newly-merged life. We married young and were just beginning to know ourselves as individuals. We were first time homeowners and parents within three years of marriage. We are total opposites of each other. Our communication is a C- at best. He watches sports. I like the OWN Network. He likes liver smothered in gravy with onions. I can’t stand the sight of it. He loves golf. I love riding in the golf cart with snacks and a glass of wine. He has the patience of Job. I am inpatient and short tempered. He’s in government and I am a corporate girl. He’s an extrovert. I am an introvert. He loves to be surrounded by people and I enjoy being alone. How in God’s name did we make it this far?

I don’t know – actually I take that back. It was all God. We have been blessed beyond measure. God undoubtedly ordained this marriage. We are grateful! With each anniversary we thought it would be the last and here’s why:

  • We focused on negative aspects of our marriage. Nothing seemed to work. We chose to focus on everything except that which was good and perfect.
  • We didn’t make our marriage a priority. I chose to place the kids front and center and he chose career. We neglected our marriage – with justifiable reasons.
  • We refused to take accountability for our dysfunction. We finger pointed. It was easier.
  • We surrendered to silence instead of voicing our values, opinions and expectations.

Nevertheless, we made it. But, what was the destination? We are older, wiser, more mature and yet still dysfunctional. Despite it all, we love each other and are committed to each other for life. There has always been something within that has held us together like glue. Is that a characteristic of soul mates? No matter how hard we tried to fight it, we are meant to be together.

To see how the author turns the page to the next chapter in her marriage, head on over to Blogher.

On Marriage: Is Marriage An All or Nothing Proposition?

I have a number of friends who are somewhat cynical about weddings: they point to the divorce statistics and scoff that people spent so much money only to be single again a few years later. But the divorce statistic alone doesn’t tell the entire story. The idea of what a marriage entails has evolved as a cultural notion, and with it, so have our individual expectations of it. Among the marriages that endure, those who are happiest in their marriages now are actually happier than at any point in history. Conversely, those who are unhappy in their marriages are more unhappy than ever before. But still, isn’t sublime happiness worth taking the chance and making the effort? You don’t gain anything by refusing to try.

 

 

ARE marriages today better or worse than they used to be?

This vexing question is usually answered in one of two ways. According to the marital decline camp, marriage has weakened: Higher divorce rates reflect a lack of commitment and a decline of moral character that have harmed adults, children and society in general. But according to the marital resilience camp, though marriage has experienced disruptive changes like higher divorce rates, such developments are a sign that the institution has evolved to better respect individual autonomy, particularly for women. The true harm, by these lights, would have been for marriage to remain as confining as it was half a century ago.

As a psychological researcher who studies human relationships, I would like to offer a third view. Over the past year I immersed myself in the scholarly literature on marriage: not just the psychological studies but also work from sociologists, economists and historians. Perhaps the most striking thing I learned is that the answer to whether today’s marriages are better or worse is “both”: The average marriage today is weaker than the average marriage of yore, in terms of both satisfaction and divorce rate, but the best marriages today are much stronger, in terms of both satisfaction and personal well-being, than the best marriages of yore.

Consider, for example, that while the divorce rate has settled since the early 1980s at around 45 percent, even those marriages that have remained intact have generally become less satisfying. At the same time, consider the findings of a recent analysis, led by the University of Missouri researcher Christine M. Proulx, of 14 longitudinal studies between 1979 and 2002 that concerned marital quality and personal well-being. In addition to showing that marital quality uniformly predicts better personal well-being (unsurprisingly, happier marriages make happier people), the analysis revealed that this effect has become much stronger over time. The gap between the benefits of good and mediocre marriages has increased.

How and why did this divergence occur? In answering this question, I worked with the psychologists Chin Ming Hui, Kathleen L. Carswell and Grace M. Larson to develop a new theory of marriage, which we will publish later this year in a pair of articles in the journal Psychological Inquiry. Our central claim is that Americans today have elevated their expectations of marriage and can in fact achieve an unprecedentedly high level of marital quality — but only if they are able to invest a great deal of time and energy in their partnership. If they are not able to do so, their marriage will likely fall short of these new expectations. Indeed, it will fall further short of people’s expectations than at any time in the past.

Marriage, then, has increasingly become an “all or nothing” proposition. This conclusion not only challenges the conventional opposition between marital decline and marital resilience; but it also has implications for policy makers looking to bolster the institution of marriage — and for individual Americans seeking to strengthen their own relationships.

Intrigued? Read the rest at The New York Times.

On Marriage: The Love That Keeps You Married

Marriage can have a lot of twists and turns, ups and downs. Our On Marriage series is an attempt to showcase the different realities people experience when it comes to Happily Ever After. This week, we’ve got an excerpt from Brenna of Suburban Snapshots

____________________

I love my husband this week. This week, I look across the room at him and think, “How long can I safely assume Anna would stay glued to that iPad right now?” This week I want to tell his bosses what a dedicated employee he is and tell Anna to stop saying that she loves me better because I let her have hot cocoa after school. I want to make his favorite dinner even though it’s so packed with fat that I can’t go near it. I’ll tell him I’m proud of his work, that he’s a great dad and husband, that sometimes when I joke about my friends wanting to get in his pants I’m kind of serious and maybe a little concerned. This week he’s getting more random hugs, less sarcasm, and lots of appreciation.


Last week I wanted to beat him with the pillow he hugs to sleep and which inevitably ends up making its way onto my face when he lets go of it in the middle of the night. He couldn’t say a thing that didn’t annoy me, he was full of sarcasm and tone, he’d been sick and stressed and brought all of it into the house after work. All I could see were the piles of crap he makes on every surface in the house and the pile of dishes he ignored before work. His coughing annoyed me, the tissues everywhere annoyed me, the way he spoke to Anna led me a few times to break the cardinal parenting rule of not contradicting your partner in earshot of your children.

Steve is much more steady in things like this than I am. He doesn’t get annoyed like I do. I don’t consider myself moody, but I might walk around tense and aggravated and bottled up, I keep it in especially when I know I’m being unfair. Usually my first indication that he’s stressed or tired is that he stops trying to grope me every six seconds. And even when I’m such an irrepressible rag that I don’t want to hang out with myself, he wants me around. Two weeks ago when I couldn’t stand the sight of his wet boots tipped over at the back door, I thought about taking off to my mom’s for the day, just for some space, just to miss him again.

Love it so far? Check out the rest at Suburban Snapshots!

 

On Marriage: Going Home Again

I packed up and left my hometown of Jackson, Wyoming, a bit over a year ago, shortly after I decided that I also needed to end my marriage. I put what I had (and actually wanted) in a U-Haul and made the nearly 1,600 mile trek to Louisville, KY, with my dad behind the wheel. I had secured my very first apartment all for myself, stopped at Ikea for new and necessary furnishings and planted myself in a fairly foreign locale (save for some amazing ladies who I’ve known FOREVS).

In the year since I was last in my mountainous place of birth, I have worked a couple of less-than-awesome serving jobs, learned how to bartend, and have relocated to Texas to be with my new fella. **Background: He and I met in a bar back home right before I was set to leave. He was also leaving, but we had a pretty obvious spark. We planned a trip to Mexico for Christmas, kind of leaving it at that. He came to visit me in Kentucky. I stayed with him in Texas for a week after our trip to Mexico. And then, a few months later, I moved there to be with him.

I’m in a happy, healthy relationship, and have now stepped foot back on my native soil for the first time since watching it fade in my rearview mirror. And my man is on my arm.


Throughout the years, I have left Jackson behind to explore new opportunities, see strange cities and feel out new relationships. I’ve come back for varying reasons, but this town is too small and too familiar for me, for now. I have never reveled in the return, and in truth have always regarded it with a sense of dread and disdain.

But this time is different. I have put my own life together in a way that makes me happy, comfortable, and successful. I have forged a strong, healthy relationship with someone who cares about me and cares for my safety. And this time? I couldn’t wait to return, to show off this new side of me that I deign to say no one has seen. I can’t wait to introduce him to my friends, my father and anyone else I may run into.

Returning home has always been difficult for me, because I haven’t been happy. And as we drove into the valley, I saw it through those silly rose-colored glasses everyone is always talking about. And I realized, not for the first time but for a new time, that I am happy in the choices I have made and the person I am. What’s different this time around is that I’m not worried about decisions that will be made, or decisions that have been made, but rather completely content that I’ve made the correct decisions for myself and only myself. I know I have the strength to continue to do so … for myself. For the first time, I’m able to walk onto my old stomping grounds with my head held high, knowing who I am, who I am with, and who I will continue to grow to be.