Marriage Vows — In Fitness and In Health

Ken Kayse

The beauty of marriage in your 20s and 30s transforms itself in your 50s and beyond.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. As a married man for the past 47 years, I can attest to the following: Marriage takes a lot of work!

“I, _____, take you, _____, for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. I will love and honor you all the days of my life.”

Surprise! According to the American Psychological Association, couples marrying for the first time in the United States, have approximately a fifty percent (50%) chance of divorcing.

Think about that — almost half of all those marriages are not going to survive to the “happily ever after” stage.

Some of us would rather seek out a divorce attorney rather than attend couples counseling sessions with a marriage therapist. Apparently, we aren’t willing to work as hard at saving our marriage as we did while we courted our spouses.

There are a variety of reasons for this outcome. Surveys by Insider.com, The Huffington Post, Forbes, and the NCBI found a diversity of reasons for couples to initiate the divorce process. Here are the top five:

  • Lack of commitment (75%)
  • Infidelity / relationships outside of the marriage (59.6%)
  • Conflict, fighting, irreconcilable differences (57.7%)
  • Marrying too young (45.1%)
  • Money issues / debt (36.1%)

Other causes with a double-digit impact on our marriages include:

  • Substance abuse / alcohol addiction (34.6%)
  • Domestic violence (23.5%)
  • Health problems, mental illness (18.2%)
  • Lack of support from family (17.3%)
  • Religious differences/lack of marital education (13.3%)

Some of these, if not most, are obvious and easily identified. Others are a bit more complex, making it harder to detect exactly what failed in the relationship.

From my personal experience, I can vouch for this: If you think all marriages are doomed to fail because of one or more of the above reasons, you are wrong!

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Contrary to popular belief, marriage is not an institution — it is a commitment. In most, if not all cases, it is supposed to last for a lifetime (‘until death do us part’). How preposterous would it be to hear someone proclaim their love for another in front of witnesses, but only for 10 years, or 15 years, or until the kids turn 18?

Couples who marry are inherently planning to spend the rest of their lives together, as evidenced by their desires to live together, raise a family, and work on attaining mutually agreed upon goals for their lifestyle and their children’s lifestyle. They plan, together, to instill in their offspring a certain set of values and principles, perhaps to improve on the life lessons they have learned.

In reality, the divorce rate is nowhere near 50%. Currently, both marriage and divorce rates are falling nationwide, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The American Psychologists Association data has been proved unreliable.

As of 2018, the Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey reveals the national divorce rate to be less than 15 per 1,000 marriages. To me, that number is incredible — 1.5% for a divorce rate is about as low as it gets over the past 50+ years.

It would appear then that married couples are working out whatever challenges they face in their marriage. They still remain committed to the vows they took to stay together for the rest of their lives.

We all know our bodies will deteriorate with the passage of time. It is a fact that keeps us active during our later years. It is more difficult to run fast, jump high, or bend over as we age. We do whatever must be done to stay healthy so we can enjoy a long lifespan.

According to the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau, out of about 11 million single-parent families with children under the age of 18, 80 percent were headed by single mothers. A growing national problem must be addressed to tackle this heightened concern.

Approximately 48% of single-parent families have never been married, but for many various reasons. Of the children living with a single parent, 80% are headed by single mothers.

Those statistics leave a false impression that marriages are failing when, in fact, the divorce rate is historically low. That convinces me that perception isn’t always aligned with reality. The news may be real, but the conclusions drawn from the news may be the fake news we so often hear about.

The time, energy, and effort we put into making others happy will help determine the success of any marriage. Heightened participation shows your spouse your level of commitment not only to the marriage but also to the family unit itself.

Thanks for reading this!

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Being a "Lefty," my writing tends to lean a little to the left, but I consider myself an Independent--I'm willing to listen to all sides. Writing gives me a chance to gather my thoughts. All my life I have been a glass-half-full believer.

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