In addition to the article cited yesterday on divorce there was a 2nd article (and don’t think that the WP can find it!) that said that even after remarriage, health issues can linger. Bottom line, divorce interrupts our caring for ourselves. We get sad, angry, even depressed. We don’t eat well. We don’t always exercise.
If there are children involved, they demand a great deal of our time because there has been so much disruption in our lives. Frequently, although, no, not always, the ex-wives wind up with increased money stresses and less time on their hands. (Yes, I understand that divorce is financially and emotionally stressful to men as well. But divorce is a downwardly mobile move for most women and children, and not necessarily for men.)
There are certainly reasons to get divorced. But there are also ways to support your marriage. I can not say enough about counseling. Do it early, do it often, do it until it makes a difference. Your health and your family’s depends upon it.
Tip: Create a wedding ceremony that reminds you why you love your partner and why you are making the right choices to be married. Craft wedding vows that will serve as the blueprint for your working marriage. Consider using my book, Promises to Keep: Crafting Your Wedding Ceremony to help you design a wedding that says what you need it to say.
Work on your marriage now, don’t wait until you’ve had a marriage disaster to start the work. But if you have a marriage disaster, get support. It’s your life, you deserve it!
Yesterday MSNBC ran not one but two articles about the impact of divorce on your health. This one, by Barbara Kantrowitz and Pat Wingert examines a study by University of Chicago sociologist Linda Waite in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior on the impact of divorce on your health.
Bottom line? Divorce is bad for your health. People whose marriages are interrupted by divorce or death are 20 percent more likely to suffer chronic life-threatening diseases such as heart problems, diabetes and cancer. It postulates that people do better when they repair their marriages. Suddenly the efforts and willingness of Jenny Sanford to pull things back together look like a smart choice for her as well as her family.
Among other things, in the trauma of death and divorce, we let our attention wander from our health. Those wanderings make a difference that even getting back on track doesn’t always impact.
This argues, and powerfully, for yet another reason to make your marriage work. In some circles there are questions being asked as to whether there isn’t a benefit to states health efforts to include marriage classes as health prevention.
Tip: Wedding vows. Finding the right wedding vows for the two of you and keeping them is good for you in so many ways. You can get my free wedding vow templates in the upper right hand corner of this (and every) page of this site. You can get the Wedding Vow Book and learn how to do this yourself right here.
OK, maybe I’ve been reading too many sword and sorcery novels recently. I seem to be on a campaign about helping people understand the true nature of wedding vows. More and more I’m believing that the making and keeping of oaths is incredibly important to who we are as human beings.
Recently in the newspaper, we’ve seen lives lost and careers ruined. As always, the emphasis get placed on the out-of-bounds sex. But it’s the lying and the oath-breaking that are shattering lives and families.
Often the lover is blamed. (and what’s this with the return to the use of the word mistress? That’s a word from a by-gone era if ever I’ve heard one. And it makes pretty clear that the relationship is unequal and financial in nature.) And women would be better not to sleep with other people’s husbands. But they’re not in the marriage, so I’m less concerned with them in this column. I’m more interested in the people breaking the vows. (and it’s not all men, although the ratio still seems to be 2:1 men:women given the stats available on marriage.)
Marriage vows (much like oaths of office) are meant to be kept. They should be constructed so you can keep them. (For another undetermined time, you can still grab the Wedding Vow Workbook over in the shop. It’s on sale at the moment, but it will be disappearing soon for a facelift. The wedding vow templates are free in the corner. Sign up, if you haven’t already.) Being a person of your word is important to you (to me, to everyone). Promise keeping (and promise breaking) shapes your understanding of yourself. Who do you want to be? How do you want to be known? How do you choose to live your life?
Tip: The decision isn’t made by fate or love. The decision is made by you. If you love someone enough to plan a life together, then love them and yourself enough to take that seriously. If it turns out to be a wrong decision, you may want or need to change it. But inconvenience or lust are pretty stupid reasons to give up your integrity. Thoughts?
Ah, Soul Mates. The world loves to talk about soul mates. We love to feel as if there is another person out there who, when at last we meet, will complete us.
- Problem: We only complete ourselves. We need to be whole human beings. Our partners can be wonderful complements to who we are and incredible companions, but it’s unfair to burden them with the job of fulfilling our destiny.
- Another Problem: I often think we look for soul mates when we’re floundering about in our problems. Anything and anyone outside our lives looks to have great answers. Hello, Governor Sanford, I’m talking to you.
- And one last problem: If we determine that a particular person is our soul mate, the minute something goes wrong, we have to demonize them. And infatuation causes us to see only the grand things. Living day-by-day causes us to see the whole person, who however wonderful, is always going to squeeze the toothpaste from the middle, or something equally annoying.
I’ll ponder for a while about whether I think we become soul mates, or whether we might just as well find a new term to describe a beloved partner with whom we’ve grown into accord. Wow, I know, how about beloved partner?
Tip: Am I crazy? what do you think? write and let me know!
Adultery has gone prime time. Everywhere you turn, you see it swirling. And what we’re finding out is that it not only destroys lives, marriages and families, but can (potentially) destroy careers and end lives.
If you look at my different platforms you’ll see that I’ve been writing about adultery lately. I’ve been getting some surprised reactions to my posts and columns. We didn’t think you were that conservative,” folks say.
What people seem to overlook is that I’m not advocating that people don’t change. I’m advocating civility. (I’m in good company today. David Brooks was also wondering about this.)
You need to keep your integrity and your reputation intact. That means acknowledging that you’re the person in charge of your decisions. That temptations are things we give into rather than things that rule us. We have choices. So when you stand before your community and promise to honor both your beloved and your commitments, you’re promising to honor your integrity. as well. How you maneuver around those vows matters.
Tip: Your self reflection is your greatest gift to your integrity. We’re all tempted in our lives. And keeping commitments can be difficult and dirty work. But we made those commitments. If we’re going to break them, we need to do that along with the person with whom we made them. We need to face the unpleasantness as we declare ourselves unable to uphold those promises before we stray.
What is it about this venue that represents either your history or who you are as a couple today? Has every member of one of your families been married here? Are you a couple who finds meaning in the outdoors and a stand of redwoods seemed perfect to you. Are you golfers and the club-house is a place you are often found?
Tell people why this place is special to them. Make the connections so that they can make the connections. Selecting a place that is part of your life is a great way to keep reinforcing your marriage. Every time you visit, your brain will remember, “I was married here.” That kind of reinforcement helps you remember your wedding vows. That helps you keep them.
Tip: Choose a place that has meaning for your wedding venue. and then tell your crowd why you love it.
I’ve been writing a series over on http://articlesbyann.com about planning your wedding cheaply. The thing I keep stressing in that series is that you can change what you do and how you think about your budget when you focus on meaning rather than money.
In today’s great examiner.com article, Elizabeth Oakes rues the mass purchasing weddings. She asks whether you really save money and reminds us that these weddings require a far greater time commitment of brides and grooms. Always amusing, (really, read her, follow her over there.) she points out that you often get exactly what you paid for. Another thing I never have understood about weddings is why everyone wants their weddings to be exactly like the next one. Warehouse weddings offer way too many possibilities for that.
Tip: There are lots of good ways to cut costs at weddings. Some of them include not doing some of the “musts” at weddings. (Never saw a reception that wasn’t impoved by skipping the expensive garter toss!) But here are a couple things to consider.
- Make a wedding budget, figure out where you want to spend your money and stick to it. So much of wedding cost is over-run.
- Simplify your wedding notions. What are you really trying to accomplish here? And you know what, there’s nothing that says you can’t have a great party at some other point in your life. Gather your friends on a frequent basis, it’ll make your marriage better and it’ll be a lot of fun.
- Shift from money to meaning. Create a fabulous wedding ceremony and great wedding vows. Now people are there for the celebration and not the party and that’s a good thing.
It’s frustrating that with our emphasis on the importance of the wedding, we fail to understand that marriages are made day by day. Sure, in your wedding ceremony you announce your vows. But really, these are promises you’ve been working out over the span of your relationship. They will continue to transform and become more clear and more useful along with the relationship.
But something else is true about vows:
Promises are something you make and keep every day. Your wedding day is simply the start of your promise-making. Everyday is the day you agree to the importance of these vows. Every day is the day you decide to make your marriage happy and healthy.
Tip: If you understand that your promises are a work in progress, that every day when you roll over in bed to greet your beloved, that you are recommiting to marriage, your marriage will be richer. Every day you have the opportunity to do what is right for you, right for your partner and right for your partnership. It’s up to you: are you going to guard your promises and work hard at loving, honoring, cherishing and respecting. I hope so. No reason not to make your marriage a work of art and love.
The old saw, “Love means never having to say I’m sorry,” has pretty much been consigned to the trash heap along with the rest of the rusty notions about relationship. The fact is good relationship thrives on each partner’s ability to be self reflective. Here’s what that means with regard to your wedding vows:
That you will recognize, admit, repent and make amends to transgressions, both large and small of those vows.
Being able to say “oh, I could have done that differently, I’m sorry if my actions hurt you” is an incredibly important activity in a marriage. Obviously, there are times, when transgressions are larger, that you will need more than an ‘aw shucks, honey, I didn’t mean not to listen (when you said it hurt you that I was having an affair!), but even when you blow past the intentions of your promises, you want to reconsider and recommit to their value in your life.
I found someone to agree with me as I was running past twitter on my way over here: Lonnie Hodge: “I think true integrity lies in the ability to express remorse –especially when there is nothing to gain except the truth.” But in marriage what there is to gain is a great relationship.
Tip: Keep your marriage vows close to your heart and your mind. You know it’s not always the big ways we offend our vows that breaks them down. It’s the tiny little slights and indifferences. How well do you cherish your partner? How does that reflect on you? Do you want to be a person who doesn’t keep your vows, who doesn’t cherish your partner? No. you don’t. So, you want to do your work here!
It may be that one of the most important pieces of being human is the ability to make and keep promises. (Breaking them? Not so much!) I feel as if this isn’t really explored in our world today. There’s been so much emphasis on how we get ahead recently, that there’s less attention paid to being true to who you are. Well here we are. the getting ahead thing didn’t work out so very well for the economy or even the individuals involved!
I don’t mean to say that people haven’t been keeping wedding vows. Many do. (Although there are disturbing new stats that say somewhere north of 20 percent of couples are unfaithful in the first year of marriage.) It’s just I don’t know that the importance of this is emphasized. I don’t know if people understand how much it matters to each individual to be a keeper of promises!
Today’s message about the work of vows (or the work IN vows) is that you will police your keeping and breaking of those vows. There are personal and familial consequences to not keeping your word. Your marriage suffers when this happens and your sense of self is eroded. You could easily make this simply a legal issue, but what’s real here is paying attention to the spirit of the vows.
Tip: If your wedding vows are rules for living that you and your partner have constructed and agreed to, then you want to be the person reflecting on whether you are keeping them. Marriage isn’t a police state, it’s a covenant.
Are you living into yours? Are you altering behaviors when you notice that you’re not? They’re your vows, are you going to honor them?