Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Connections: Marital Math

Every long term married couple has a story of how they first met:

 This post is a celebration of long term relationships, concluding our month long tribute to connections.  With the divorce rate holding steady at 50% for first time marriages, and 60% for second marriages- we need to focus on what happily married couples do right. The math formula for marriages that survive and thrive = 3 bonders + 1 attitude.

The Bonders:

 Chemistry:  Beyond the zing of first love, long term couples continue to stoke the flames of attraction by prioritizing the relationship. To keep that loving feeling, consider the investment of continued courtship through dates and regular communication.

Comparability: A good working partnership is valuable in facing the many discouragements and stresses of long term marriage.  Happy couples tend to have compatible (although not identical) temperaments, personality, energy levels, humor, and work ethic.  Differences are viewed with acceptance and respect.

Complimentarity:  In a successful marriage each member of the couple still strives to be at their best for the other.  This desire to rise above temporary circumstances to stay engaged in the relationship increases the odds that you can grow closer as a couple rather than further apart over time.  It’s not because you HAVE to, but instead because you WANT to be your best for your partner, and you CHOOSE to bring out the best in your partner.  

The Attitude of Gratitude:

Positivity:  Marriage Researcher John Gottman has studied thousands of hours of communication among married couples (wow) and has identified the formula for happy couples.  More math! The ratio of positive to negative feelings and interactions is 5:1. For every negative instance within the relationship there are five positives to restore a healthy balance. This creates a culture of forgiveness and appreciation that eases the stress of external forces on a marriage.

  • If you are in a dating relationship- consider how well you know your couple strengths on this "report card" of skills to cultivate for the long run. 
  • If you are in a marriage that is struggling- look to where YOU can make a change that will make a difference.  
  • If you are in a happy long term marriage- Celebrate! Be intentional in your marital math to get the most of this special relationship.

Long term marrieds have many chapters in their love story, choosing each other again and again throughout the course of the relationship. Let’s rejoice when it all adds up to happily ever after!


  1. Love the modeling of long-marrieds. What's the saying that goes with the Pinterest pictures? Something like 'They come from a time when if something gets broken you don't throw it away, you fix it." I think having an attitude of gratitude is a key component to being content in marriage.

  2. Thanks for such a good reminder of what makes things work...and what doesn't.

  3. Those couples are so sweet. I am sitting her at work with a silly grin on my face and goofy little head tilt. Thanks for making my day