According to David Brooks, New York Times columnist, in his bestselling book, The Social Animal, “One of the most important decisions that persons will ever make are about whom to marry, and whom to befriend, what to love and what to despise, and how to control impulses.” Brooks makes this conclusion based on multiple research studies which suggest there is a strong correlation between healthy, stable relationships and increased happiness in life.
According to the United States Census Bureau, for the first time ever, less than 50 percent of households in the United States are married couples. Couples forgoing marriage and choosing to cohabitate has increased 25% in the past decade. Other research indicates that many Americans now believe that marriage is becoming “obsolete”.
Neil Clark Warren, founder of eHarmony an online dating website, which attempts to match single men and women in long-term relationships, disagrees. Although many marriages do end in divorce, he believes that with some common sense steps prior to the marriage, divorce rates can be lowered and marriage can continue to be an important institution for most adults and for society as a whole.
The National Marriage Project which publishes an annual marriage and family life study each year confirmed that three-fourths of Americans still believe that marriage is “important” and that a majority of young adults under the age of 30 do want to get married eventually.
Dr. Warren believes not only that marriage is important, but if done right, “it can be one of the greatest institutions on earth.” So if marriage is important and most marriages end in divorce, what can be done differently to ensure that you and your spouse have a successful marriage?
Dr. Warren believes that too often not enough thought and skill are incorporated into the marriage making decision. Couples rely too heavily on attraction and chemistry, which Warren believes “are easily mistaken for love.” Instead, couples should determine if their love can endure and realize that deep meaningful love happens gradually and will require a conscious decision to love that person every single day, regardless of life’s circumstances.
Good marriages do not happen by accident Warren concedes. Commitment is a choice, but Warren believes that the marriage choice should start with a partner selection which is based on “broad based compatibility”.
Warren’s goal is to help couples find the right person to marry. He also admits that of the more than 2 million couples that do get married in the United States each year, thousands of those couples should postpone or reevaluate whether they are engaged to marry the right person.
EHarmony was started with this idea that there were certain predictive factors and differences between couples which could be analyzed in the premarital phase of a relationship to determine if a couple was compatible.
Warren’s motive is to help families avoid some of the devastating effects of a divorce which can include an increase in drop-out rates, mental illness and psychological problems for children of divorce parents. Children who had parents who were divorced also have a higher chance of divorcing their own spouse. What would be one of the greatest accomplishments of our time? According to Warren it would be to reduce the incidence of marital break-ups.
Filing for Divorce
Divorce is never easy and it should be the last option for you and your spouse, but if you have attempted reconciliation and you need help, talk to a divorce attorney. Divorce lawyers can review your case and let you know the best way to protect yourself.
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