Why do You Stay Married?

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A new poll by MarriageAdvice.com reveals optimistic statistics about what keeps marriages together.

A recent MarriageAdvice.com poll asked the question, "Why Do You Stay Married?" Of the 700 people who responded to the poll, 30% stayed together due to love, 30% stayed together because of children, and 20% stayed together out of commitment. Trailing behind in the poll was 9% stayed together out of fear, 8% due to finances and 4% due to tradition.

Marriage and Family Counselor, Deborah Carver, LMSW, noted that we should realize the fact that those who answered they stayed married because of love or children, are also committed to either their spouse or children. So commitment comes into play on several levels.

*I've Fallen Out Of Love

Carver opined that, "people who stay married out of love are working hard at their marriage. A popular catch phrase these days is, 'I’ve fallen out of love.” She advised that this attitude is a cop out because everyone knows that a good marriage takes work; we love the things we take time and energy with.

Thus, the 30% who stay married out of love have shown that they are willing to spend the time and energy necessary to stay in love with their spouse.

Beth Young, Senior Editor of MarriageAdvice.com shared that there are several ways to keep your marriage strong and stay in love. "First, always take time each day to talk with your spouse about what's gone on in your day and how you are feeling about things. Staying connected with your spouse lends support to them during difficult times and doubles your joy during good times.

Second, be sure to invest in a weekly date night. We all know the value of investing for our future. It’s also important to make both a financial and emotional investment in our marriage. The dates don't have to be extravagant and expensive. They can be simple but well spent time. Early in our marriage, we spent more money on the babysitter than we did on the actual date. But we had decided that any money spent was a good use of our finances over the long term.

Third, look for opportunities to show your love. Whether it's a love note, love letter or thoughtful gift, let you spouse know you are thinking of them throughout the day. Those simple acts go a long way in keeping a marriage strong.”

*You're Not Just Obligated To Your Spouse

When we consider the rational of staying married for the children we may think that those people are staying married for the wrong reason. However, before we judge another persons motives, consider the insight they have into the overall picture of those who are affected when a couple marries.

Carver advised that, "Most people in a committed marriage recognize the negative impact it would have on their children if they got a divorce. They realize that they are not just obligated to their spouse; they are obligated to their children as well. Their relationship with their children is as import as their relationship with their spouse. Thus, they believe they shouldn't punished their children just because they have not kept a viable relationship with their spouse."

We should applaud those who are self aware enough to realize that their actions impact their entire family. Young noted that these people also still have hope. Hope that things could get better, hope that their actions really do matter, and hope that their marriage may turn around."

If you find that you're staying married more for your children than any other reason, then for your children, try and use the marriage strengthening suggestions that were previously mentioned. If you make a sincere effort in just those 3 ways, you'll be surprised at the change it will bring to your marriage. It won't solve all your problems, but it will open doors of understanding that will allow for other needed changes as well.

*What Our Parents Modeled

As we consider those respondents that have stayed married due to commitment. We need to realize that it is a reflection of their own personal integrity that they stand by the values they were taught.

Carver explained, "Those who stay in a marriage due to their commitment not only reflect their personal integrity, they are probably following what was modeled by their parents. Even if their parents had struggles they stuck it out."

Carver went on to say that, "It's also interesting to note that this reason was lower than love and children. We don’t see a commitment in marriage like we used to and that speaks to our changing society. With the onset of easy, no fault, divorces many people may take the attitude that it's okay to cash in this old model for a new one."

*We Have A Choice

In spite of the changes in society, we need to realize that we are responsible for our success and happiness in a marriage. Even if we're married to a thoughtless slug, we have the ability to choose how we will deal with our situation. Carver explained, "You can only be treated poorly if you allow yourself to be treated that way. It’s really all in your attitude regarding your situation.

When you choose to be the "victim" of a loveless marriage, then you can better justify the anger and other feelings you may have about your situation. However, we are betraying ourselves of who we could be in our life by being a "victim" rather than doing what it takes to fix what we can and find happiness regardless of where we may be."

In the words of George Washington Carver (no relation to Deborah), "How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these."

We would do well to consider these thoughts as we choose the part we play in our life.

*There Are Others Like Me!

Almost all of the respondents stayed married for commendable, unselfish reasons. So there is an additional benefit we can find from this MarriageAdvice.com poll. We’re not alone; there are others like me! Hopefully, this will reinforce our personal commitment to stay married.

In conclusion, Carver identified an important insight; "Whether we stay married for love, children or commitment, these top three reasons all ring loudly of family and the structure of our society with families and family values."

We need to remember that the strength of our families keeps our nation strong as well. We would do well to continue to nurture and strengthen our marriages for both our future and ourselves.

About The Author

Beth Young is the Senior Editor of the leading marriage advice web site, MarriageAdvise.com. For more articles related to strengthening your marriage and marriage counseling go to http://www.marriageadvice.com. MarriageAdvise.Com is a web site dedicated to a community of husbands and wives who are working to create happy marriages that last a lifetime.

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Beth Young