Monthly Archives: January 2011

Yep–Marriage is GOOD for you!

National Marriage Week is coming up quickly–February 7th to the 14th–and all across the world (literally) there are plans and celebrations to encourage many diverse groups to strengthen individual marriages, reduce the divorce rate, and build a stronger marriage culture, which in turn helps curtail poverty and benefits children.  So to prepare for the upcoming week and recognize the significance of marriage, I thought it would be fun to talk this week about making a case FOR marriage.
In the news recently, marriage overall has been taking quite a beating.  There are scandals every day involving infidelity and bitter spouses divorcing.  Steve Harvey’s wife claims his infidelity was “like rape to her.”  There are studies released that supposedly say that up to 40% of Americans say marriage is “obsolete.”  The media claims that other studies indicate that “Two women cheating with each other is okay!”  Church leaders are blaming Facebook for the rise in infidelity and saying their parishioners have to delete their account or leave the church (Thou Shalt Not Use Facebook).   Meanwhile the divorce rate is about 50% (which according to one comedienne is one of every two people–that means either you or your spouse–heehee).
Here at Affaircare, though, we are strong advocates for marriage and time and again, studies have proven that there are serious benefits to being in a committed, faithful marriage relationship.  So to being thinking about National Marriage Week, here are just a few thoughts on why marriage IS relevant!
More and better sex
“Sexual activity is 25 percent to 300 percent greater for married couples versus the non-married, depending on age.” — Marriage and Sex, Discovery Health.
In 2006, British researchers reviewed the sexual habits of men in 38 countries and found that in every country, married men have more sex. (See the Men’s Health article)
About 40% of married people have sex twice a week, compared to 20-25% of single and cohabitating men and women. Over 40% of married women said their sex life was emotionally and physically satisfying, compared to about 30% of single women. For men, it’s 50% of married men are physically and emotionally contents versus 38% of cohabitating men.  Waite and Gallagher note that cohabitating couples are less likely to be sexually faithful. Faithful partners do not worry about sexually translated diseases, are more likely to work to improve their sexual relationship, and do not have to worry about sexual jealousy. (Waite and Gallagher, “The Case for Marriage” 2000)
More money
A Virginia Commonwealth University study found that married men earn 22 percent more than their similarly experienced but single colleagues.  (See the article in Men’s Health magazine.)
Married men are more successful in work as well, getting promoted more often and receiving higher performance appraisals. They also miss work or arrive late less often (Kostiuk, P. & Follmann, D.A. “Learning Curves, Personal Characteristics, and Job Per­formance,” Journal of Labor Economics 1989; 7(2) 129-146,). As for women, white married women (without children) earn 4% more and black married women earn 10% more than their single peers (Waite, 1995). While some point out that house work for married women (37 hours per week) is greater than that of single women (25 hours), half of that is due to having children (South, S., & Spitze, G. (1994). Housework in marital and nonmarital households. american Sociological Review, 59, 327–347)
Longer Life
Married people live longer as well. Single men have mortality rates that are 250% higher than married men. Single women have mortality rates that are 50% higher than married women (Ross CE, Mirowsky J, Goldsteen K. (1990): The impact of the family on health: the decade in review. J Marriage Fam; 52:1059-78). Having a spouse can decrease your risk for dying from cancer as much as knocking ten years off your life. Single people spend longer in the hospital, and have a greater risk of dying after surgery (GOODWIN JS, HUNT WC, KEY CR AND SAMET J. (1987). The effect of marital status on stage, treatment and survival of cancer patients. J. Am. Med. Assoc., 258, 3125-3130.).
Based on life expectancies, nine of ten married men and women alive at age 48 are alive at 65, while only six of ten single men and eight of ten single women make it to 65. Married men may have better immune systems as well, either from support or from nagging to monitor blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, etc… and may be at less risk to catch colds (SOCIABILITY AND SUSCEPTIBILITY TO THE COMMON COLD)
For both men and women, marriage lengthens the life span. This benefit increases with the duration of the union. Married men live, on average, 10 years longer than nonmarried men, and married women live about four years longer than nonmarried women.(Waite and Gallagher)
A UCLA study found that people in generally excellent health were 88 percent more likely to die over the 8-year study period if they were single.  (The Men’s Health article is right here.)
A new study finds that people who have never married have the highest risk of death in the United States, contrasting with other studies that have found the highest risk in divorced, separated or widowed populations. There are many reasons married people tend to be healthier, not the least of which is they tend to be wealthier. Published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the new study finds that, compared with married people, people who are widowed are 40 percent more likely to die, people who are divorced or separated are 27 percent more likely to die, and people who have never married were 58 percent more likely to die. ( The Effects of Marriage on Health)
More happiness
Married men are half as likely to commit suicide as single men, and one third as likely as divorced men.  Married people report lower levels of depression and distress, and 40% say they are very happy with their lives, compared to about 25% in single people. Married people were half as likely to say they were unhappy with their lives.(Smith, Mercy, and Conn, 1988 “Marital Status and the Risk of Suicide“).
Overall, 40 percent of married people, compared with about a quarter of singles or cohabitors, say they are “very happy” with life in general. Married people are also only about half as likely as singles or cohabitors to say they are unhappy with their lives. This is not just an American phenomenon. One recent study by Steven Stack and J. Ross Eshleman (1998 “Marital Status and Happiness: A Comparative Analysis.” Journal of Marriage and the Family. 60 (MAY): 527-536) of 17 developed nations found that “married persons have a significantly higher level of happiness than persons who are not married,” even after controlling for gender, age, education, children, church attendance, financial satisfaction, and self-reported health. Further, “the strength of the association between being married and being happy is remarkably consistent across nations.”
In a paper called “I just want to get married- I don’t care to who! Marriage, Life Satisfaction and Educational Differences in Australian Couples” doctoral candidate Shane Worner of Australian National  University reports that married people are happier than unmarried people, and men who marry educated women are happier than men who marry uneducated women.
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The kids are NOT okay when parents divorce!

I read an interesting article on Huffington Post the other day: “Kids of Divorce and Suicide: New Study Shows Link“.  This article was about the recently-released study by Esme Fuller-Thomas, a professor at the University of Toronto.  The study–“Suicidal Ideation Among Individuals Whose Parents Have Divorced”–was published in the January 19th Psychiatry Research.  Using a community of more that 6600 people, Professor Fuller-Thomas found that boys whose parents had divorced were three times as likely to have seriously considered suicide.  Even when factors such as parental abuse or addiction were taken into consideration, boys were still more than twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts! These findings verify what we have known here at Affaircare for a while: kids are NOT okay with divorce, and it would seem that boys take it even harder than girls.   Clearly there are serious, adverse mental health effects on the children when parents decide to divorce, and what’s even more shocking is that this study is not the first to show us that “The kids are resilient–they’ll be okay” is just a fairy tale!

Far too often, when one parent is having an affair, they will re-write marital history in an attempt to justify doing what they know is wrong.   “I love you but I’m not in love with you” “We’re just friends” “It just happened” and “I’ve been miserable for years!” are all part of a very common script that Disloyal Spouses follow.  In an attempt to justify their behavior, a cheating spouse builds a fantasy that includes such fairy tales as: “Affairs are love stories,” “My Loyal Spouse will just move out and the Other Person can move right in,” “I’ll get to keep the house and get child support,” and “My kids and family will be glad I found happiness and love the Other Person.”  But the most outrageous fairy tale of them all has been broadcast on the news, on TV, in magazines, in movies–and that is that the kids are resilient and they will be okay.  How many unfaithful spouses have devastated their spouse and absolutely DESTROYED their children with the flimsy excuse, “They’ll be okay”?  This is just purely false, and I personally believe we need to educate people about the truth!

The TRUTH is found in this study: the kids are NOT okay when their parents divorce, and over the harm is not temporary–they are harmed and the harm done is long-term and extensive.  Children whose parents divorce consider suicide, and for boys they are three times as likely to think of killing themselves than counterparts in two-parent families.  Would you like to hear some additional studies about the TRUTH of what divorce does to the children?  Teenagers in single-parent families and in blended families are three times more likely to need psychological help (Peter Hill “Recent Advances in Selected Aspects of Adolescent Development” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 1993).  A study of children six years after a parental marriage breakup revealed that even after all that time, these children tended to be “lonely, unhappy, anxious and insecure.” (Wallerstein “The Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 1991).  Compared to children from homes disrupted by death, children from divorced homes have more psychological problems. (Robert E. Emery, “Marriage, Divorce and Children’s Adjustment” Sage Publications, 1988)  That means that the DEATH of a parent is LESS devastating to a child than a DIVORCE. (Even I wouldn’t believe this if I didn’t see the statistic myself.)  A Child in a female-headed home is ten times more likely to be beaten or murdered. (The Legal Beagle, July 1984, from “The Garbage Generation” Ch. VI The Custody Trap, page 64, the whole paragraph)!  Whether you use children’s grades, standardized test scores, or dropout rates, children whose parents divorce generally perform poorly in school and these results have been found quite consistently throughout a variety of research studies over the past three decades!

So let’s recap.  If you’re having an affair, and you’re thinking about divorcing your children’s other parent so you can legitimize your adulterous relationship, you need to know that:

  1. Your children will be three times as likely to think about killing themselves–it hurts them THAT much!  Is that how you want your child to feel so you can feel “happy”?
  2. Your children will be three times more likely to need psychological help than their friends in school who’s mom and dad stayed together.
  3. For more than SIX YEARS after the divorce your children will feel “lonely, unhappy, anxious and insecure”–is your happiness worth making them feel like that for SIX YEARS?
  4. Your children will have lower academic scores and a higher likelihood of dropping out of school altogether.
  5. Your children will have a  higher likelihood of having psychological problems and issues requiring counseling, possibly even mental illnesses, even than children whose parents have DIED!!!  To rephrase that, the death of a parent is less traumatic than a divorce.
  6. Your children will be ten times more likely to be beaten or murdered.  Yes, you read that right.   That would be enough to stop me dead in my tracks right there.

So make no mistake.  An affair is not a “love story.”  It is not “loving” for the Other Person to treat a married person as if they are available. Even if there were troubles in the marriage, a true friend would steer you back to your spouse and help you figure out how to communicate with your husband or wife.  It is not “loving” for a Disloyal Spouse to put their own happiness ahead of their commitment to their spouse, their obligation to their marriage, or their responsibility to their children.  And it most definitely is not “loving” to do this kind of long-term damage to children who are depending on your for protection and love.  So do the loving thing.   Yes, it will hurt and yes it will be hard, but do the right thing and love your children enough to work it out with their parent and work hard to make your marriage a place where you can be happy.  Don’t fool yourself–your children will not be “okay.”

Happiest Moments of 2010

There have been several things this year that just made us giggly with happiness, so let’s take a moment and review those moments. After all, one way to be happier is to remember those happy moments! So without further adieu, here are the happiest moments of 2010:

  • Celebrating family birthdays together.  With nine of us in the family, we have one almost every month, PLUS there are spouses, fiances, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings…let’s just say we use almost any excuse to get together as a family, eat, and open presents.
  • The “Hunt for Happiness” series I wrote for Portland Infidelity Examiner–specifically the article: “Does a love affair and divorce lead to more happiness?”  What can I say?  It was good!
  • Joining the Talk About Marriage forum.  We’ve officially been there for a year now, and you know what?  We LOVE posting over there.  Yeah…very happy moment.
  • Celebrating Marriage Week in February here on the blog and privately with my Dear Hubby.  Hey, I’m actually in love with Dear Hubby and I intend to keep it that way!
  • Celebrating our anniversary–that’s always very special to me.
  • Receiving the Sunshine Award from TheMarryBlogger.  I realize it’s silly and not THAT big of a deal, but I was pretty happy!  Plus I admire Stu and the work he does on his blog, so it was special getting a nomination from him.
  • Getting a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for my birthday.  Only it wasn’t just any old chocolate birthday cake.  Oh no!  Dear Hubby made it by scratch and it was about four layers of every imaginable kind of chocolate!  YUM.
  • Joining ProConnect at YourTango.  We had the amazing blessing of being one of the founding members of ProConnect and meeting one dynamo of a woman, Melanie Gorman.  What a gift that was, and we are so happy to be associated with such a professional organization.
  • Our oldest daughter graduated from college.  Don’t get me wrong, not every one of our children is the “go to college” type, but when she graduated I was very happy and very proud of her accomplishment.  GOOD JOB, HONEY!
  • The annual summertime family vacation, this year to go see Styx and then Weird Al in concert.  We trek across the state, stay in a nice hotel, go out to eat, see scenery…and oh yeah, it changed our youngest daughter’s life.
  • Happiness Happens Week and the celebrations here on the blog and at YourTango.  I got more comments, talk, buzz, and media chit chat about “Happiness Happens: 20 Tips to Increase Your Happiness” than any other article all year!
  • Our first interview on the air!  Oh we had the indescribable privilege of meeting Courtnee Scott, the Haidmaiden behind Headaches of a Holy Handmaiden (HHH).  She asked us to come talk on the Handmaiden Live BlogTalk Radio, and we had so much fun she asked us back again the next week.  Yes, Courtnee makes us happy and through her we have met many, many brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • In October we had the joy of releasing our first book.  I say “first” because now that we’ve written one we have several more in the works: one written specifically to disloyal spouses, another that is the “seven steps” for Christians, another that teaches about marital fidelity, and probably for fun, a systematic theology for beginners.
  • Spending GREAT family time for the holidays, seeing almost all of the kids and their significant others, spending time with the relatives, eating food together and singing, decorating the tree, laughing at the “bird’s nest” at the top of our tree, watching “The Santa Clause” and “Polar Express” while holding hands, singing Handel’s Messiah together, and discovering the movie “The Nativity Story.”
  • The final happy moment of 2010 was celebrating the Affaircare blog’s one year birthday.
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