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Setting the Marital Stage: First 2 Years in Marriage are Critical

By Sheri & Bob Stritof
As the topic of matrimonial success and divorce is studied more and more, research is showing that how a couple weathers their first two years together can make or break their marriage. A study, “The Connubial Crucible: Newlywed Years as Predictors of Marital Delight, Distress, and Divorce” by Ted L. Huston, John P. Caughlin, Renate M. Houts, Shanna E. Smith, and Laura J. George was published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology .
According to Dr. Huston of the University of Texas at Austin, “This study showed that couples’ newlywed marriages and changes in their union over the first 2 years foreshadow their long-term marital fate after 13 years…

  • disillusionment—as reflected in an abatement of love,
  • a decline in overt affection,
  • a lessening of the conviction that one’s spouse is responsive,
  • and an increase in ambivalence

—distinguishes couples headed for divorce from those who establish a stable marital bond.”

The researchers discovered “differences between the happily married and unhappily married groups were apparent right after they tied the knot.”
The study looked at 156 couples who were married for the first time in 1981. Researchers discovered that after 13 years:
• 68 couples were happily married
• 32 couples were unhappily married
• 56 couples had divorced
The couples who divorced within the first two years showed signs of disillusionment and were negative toward one another in the first two months of their marriage.

It is a sign of trouble if a newlywed couple starts to have disillusionment within the first year. The couples who are still happily married are couples who were able to have positive feelings about their spouse in the first two years.

If you find yourself a bit depressed after your wedding, it’s ok. It’s normal. You’ve both been caught up in time consuming wedding preparations. It is a sure bet that once you don’t have that stress to deal with, you will have a sense of loss. It’s similar to the post holiday let down that many people experience.
However, it is important to not ignore this period of depression. Being prepared for the newlywed blues can help you get past them. It’s time to move on to setting the marital stage for the rest of your lives together. As mentioned by Dr. Huston’s study, a top priority for newlyweds should be keeping romance alive.
Other priorities a couple needs to face the first year include

  • how to allocate and handle money,
  • who’s going to do what chores,
  • ways to spend free time,
  • finding time to have sex,
  • dealing with in-laws,
  • understanding differences including spirituality,
  • learning how to deal with conflict,
  • and discussing expectations.

Couples need to watch for these red flags:
• lack of romance and intimacy
• inability to have fun together
• selfishness
• fear of conflict
• lack of respect
• over commitment of time to other things
• over spending
• too much dependence on parents
• sexual problems
• addictions and/or substance abuse
• emotional and/or physical abuse
• unrealistic expectations
• married before age 20
Although the first couple years are said to be the most difficult, they are often remembered as the most joyous. They can be a tremendous time of intimacy and discovery. There is so much to learn about one another and so much to express to one another.
The newlywed stage of marriage is where you can build the foundation and set the stage for a life-long, meaningful marriage. So enjoy and romance one another!

Sheri & Bob Stritof are the Marriage Guides for the website about.com.

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What are your specific wisdom bits that started your marriage off right & you still use today ?

Did you learn them from another successful couple that you looked up to ?

Who were they ?

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Posted in Uncategorized

15 Signs that Technology is Damaging Your Personal Life!

We text instead of call; tweet instead of talk; Facebook stalk instead of reach out to old friends. Even online dating services seem to have reinvented how people fall in love. And technology has created a whole new code of manners, making something as rude as texting throughout a restaurant meal acceptable and commonplace.  But does that make it OK? Our office is debating the question: Is technology interrupting, or even replacing, your opportunities for real intimacy?

If you’re not sure, check out these top signs that you need to take a break from even the coolest technological devices:

Man talking on phone during meal. (Getty Images)

  1. The last time you talked to your mom was via a Facebook wall post.
  2. You get more excited about the latest gadgets than a kid does about Disneyland.
  3. Instead of going out, you stay home and play Wii.
  4. You found out your boyfriend or girlfriend was cheating on you because you checked his or her phone. (Check out the most stylish iPhone cases).
  5. Days pass without accomplishing nearly as much as you used to, but you’ve got one heck of a farm going on Farmville!
  6. You see nothing wrong with responding to a text in the middle of a romantic dinner.
  7. You flirt more via text than in person.
  8. You know the answers to all of your date’s get-to-know-you questions because you’ve studied his (or her) Facebook and Twitter profiles.
  9. You have at least three email accounts—and check them daily.
  10. You Instant Message your roommate or partner…when you’re both at home.
  11. You walk to the beat of your own drum, but only because you always have your headphones on and turned up to blast.
  12. Thanks to your DVR,catching up on the latest TV shows and movies has replaced catching up on you and your significant other’s days. (Check out amazing products inspired by hit shows, like Gossip Girl, Project Runway, Grey’s Anatomy, Glee and The Office.)
  13. A cool new phone app stops you in your tracks no matter what you’re doing.
  14. The most intimate sentiments between you and that special someone are usually sent via text or email.
  15. Winks, pokes, and nudges are now only the virtual kind.