It's countdown time. Thousands of couples will walk down the aisle this Saturday, 7-7-07, hoping all those 7s -- the number long associated with luck -- will keep them lucky in love. It's one of the most popular wedding dates in modern history, according to overwhelmed wedding planners, florists, and photographers.
Relationship experts caution, however, that much more than luck is needed to stay together and beat the odds of a divorce, now estimated to end half of today's marriages. Here, relationship experts consulted by WebMD offer their best marriage tips for how to stay lucky in love. And they go way beyond the usual tips to buy her flowers, cook his favorite meal, and remember to schedule date night.
By Virginia Sole-Smith
Nothing makes me feel more overtly "married" than when I open up my wallet to pay at Home Depot and pull out the shiny blue debit card labeled, in big block type, SHARED. My husband, Dan, broke out the label maker two months after we got married to distinguish the cards linked to our joint account from the identical blue debit cards we use for our separate personal checking accounts. (And in the rush of newlywed excitement, it didn't occur to him to use a more discreet...
With the taste of wedding cake barely off their lips, divorce is the last thought -- or word -- on newlyweds' minds. But as the honeymoon period wanes, and day-to-day difficulties crop up, the word can come up frequently during arguments for some couples, say relationship counselors.
"Just don't go there," suggests Steve Brody, PhD, a psychologist in Cambria, Calif., who counsels couples. "Some people pull that out much too early, and much too often in a relationship. It raises a whole level of anxiety [in the person hearing it]."
Divorce is also considered a dirty word by the more than 200 "marriage masters" interviewed for the book, Project Everlasting. Co-authors Mat Boggs and Jason Miller, bachelors and childhood buddies from Portland, Ore., traveled the country to interview the couples, married 40 or more years, and ask for their best marriage tips.
"Don't use the D word" was one oft-repeated suggestion for keeping a happy marriage, Boggs says. These marriage masters told him, "You need all your energy to find the solution to a problem and work it out. If you are even giving any consideration to a divorce, you lessen your ability to solve the problem."
Of course, Boggs says, the marriage masters acknowledged that some situations are deal breakers, such as addiction, adultery, or abuse. But when the problem is less severe, many of the marriage masters told him they create a "ledger of life." They get out a piece of paper and write down everything they love about their spouse. Eventually, they shift gears and begin to focus on what is right, not what's wrong.