Optimism: Long Term Marriage is Alive and Well in the USA

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Quoting New York Times columnists Benedict Carey and Tara Parker-Pope, optimism blogger Dr. Russ Buss is pleased to announce that despite negative media hype surrounding Governor Mark Sanford and others, the marriage bond in the USA is stronger than ever. Many more couples are shrugging off and working through marital difficulties rather than heading toward divorce. In his blog, Moment to Moment Optimism, Dr. Russ Buss offers many tips on how to build a lifetime of optimism in a marriage.

Marriage and its longevity are alive and well according to psychologist and optimism blogger Dr. Russ Buss (Moment-to-Moment Optimism, June 22 - 29), and New York Times columnists Benedict Carey and Tara Parker-Pope (SundayStyles, June 28, 2009, "Marriage Stands Up for Itself").

In his June 29, 2009 post, Dr. Russ Buss asks: "Will Mark and Jenny Sanford make it? If the publicly humiliated marriages of Clinton, Spitzer, and Edwards are any guide, the answer is more likely - yes?" Can Marital Optimism be found in the Mark Sanford affair?

According to columnists Benedict Carey and Tara Parker-Pope of the New York Times: "The marriage bond is far stronger in 21st century America than many assume . . . recent trends . . . suggest that the institution itself has become more resilient in recent years, not less so." They conclude that despite a 50 year onslaught against the institution of marriage - liberal divorce laws, diminished stigma of divorce, and now a multitude of internet temptations--many millions are "shrugging-off" and "working-through" not only outright infidelity, but strong suspicions of it.

The bottom line from Dr. Russ Buss: "Optimism in marriage appears to abound as couples are choosing to avoid a 'learned helpless' state and instead choosing to overcome tough problems; make the marriage work through 'hard work'."

Some of Dr. Russ Buss's tips for making the marriage work:

1.    To enjoy the many playful moments of a long term marriage, you must work hard in all the other moments to make it happen.
2.    Don't let one bad moment become one monumental, monstrous moment. Expect to have problems, but focus on the solutions, not the fault.
3.    In any moment of anger remember "that moment" is driven by the "soft-underbelly" of hurt. Overreaction to the other's acts, words, forgetfulness, and errors of omission are usually brought on by false assumptions about the other's motives.
4.    Take ten moments a day and tell the other what you really liked and appreciated in him/her this day.
5.    In a moment when you think you are sick and tired or "her-stuff," remember she has put up with just as many moments, if not more, of "your-stuff," and vice versa.    
6.    For a long-term, optimistic and satisfying marriage be involved with all your family before, during and for the rest of your married life.
7.    By now Governor Mark Sanford and Senator John Ensign should have learned that the "affair" relationship is an "acting out" of a fantasy, that bears none of the burdens of a marriage.
8.    Choosing the psychological escape of the affair is a form of "Relational Pessimism;" a "learned helpless" orientation; giving up on working together to solve the relational problems within the marriage.
9.    Instead of succumbing to the "escape fantasy," the "Relational Optimist" seeks marriage counseling, consultation with a minister, priest, parents, grandparents, relatives, friends, and self-help books; making every effort to repair the marriage internally.

For a plethora of tips on how to make a marriage a long-term, optimistic partnership, get on board and check out the blog: http://www.drrussbuss.com.

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Laura Murthum
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