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
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
By Kimberly Goad
As Amanda Clark, 33, a caterer from Boston, walked down the aisle toward her fiancé, wearing a $15,000 gown and a 7-carat ring, she felt nothing but dread. I don't want to go through with this, she thought, with each step toward the altar.
Just two hours before the ceremony, Clark had gone for a dip in the ocean with her two sisters. When it was time to get ready, Clark wouldn't budge. "I couldn't get out of the water," she says. "It was like knowing you have a work meeting...
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.
Marriage Tip No. 2: Replace the 7 deadly habits in a marriage with the 7 caring habits.
Learning the seven bad habits and the seven good ones is the easy part,
admit William Glasser, MD, a Los Angeles psychiatrist, and his wife, Carleen
Glasser, MA, who co-authored Eight Lessons for a HappierMarriage
and include this idea in their book and counseling sessions. Putting them
into practice takes effort, of course.
The seven deadly habits are criticizing, blaming, complaining, nagging,
threatening, punishing, and bribing.
The seven caring habits include supporting, encouraging, listening,
accepting, trusting, respecting, and negotiating your differences.