We all get a bit of shock pretty early on in married life. For some, it is day 1; “This isn’t what I expected!” At some point, you will probably find yourself asking yourself the question: Is marriage worth it?
Are you married? How has it been going for you lately? You wouldn’t be the first person to stop and ask yourself that question.
Most of us men enter into marriage very optimistically and simplistically looking to our new wife as the solution to many of our problems.
Perhaps you thought she would look after you.
Or perhaps you thought she would fulfil all your sexual needs.
Maybe you needed to tick the marriage box.
What ever the reasons were, if you had reasons that were really all about you and what you wanted, then you probably got quite the shock!
Don’t worry, you are not alone in that expectation by a long shot.
The majority of us get married because we have a need that we hope, no expect, marriage to fulfil;
and regardless of the changing demographics of marriage, the core statistics on the success or otherwise of marriage are not really changing.
Over the last few decades, fewer men are going into marriage with the naivety that a young man has who is just out of his teens. The average marrying age has increased steadily, with the average age for men (in Australia at least ) now around 32 years. Part of this will be men and woman choosing to do other things like travel, study and build careers before getting married, but it will also be strongly influenced by the huge increase in the percentage of couples living together before marriage. In Australia, this percentage was about 25% in 1977, but had increased by 2015 to a whopping 80% (of couples living together before marriage).
Regardless how the average marrying age changes, or whether couples lived together first, the divorce rate continues to hover between 40 and 50%, and the average marriage length is around 12 years.
So those are the stats, now back to the original question:
Is Marriage Worth It?
That was the question I posed to Chris in our most recent podcast of Real Talk 4 Real Men. Chris is about to celebrate his 46th wedding anniversary, and so it was as good a time as any to reflect on marriage and ask “Is marriage worth it?”.
Chris was one of those pimply faced recovering teens when he asked Susan to marry him, and Chris fully admits that he was expecting that Susan was going to spend the rest of her life making him happy.
Of course, marriage wasn’t quite what either of them expected, but they have been married for almost 3x the average of men who enter into marriage – so they must be doing something well. In this podcast, Chris and I have some important lessons for men who are wondering about the future of their marriage.
You can listen to the podcast here:
Sticking with a relationship takes commitment.
The levels of commitment might be sadly lacking in far too many marriages, but it is even worse for those who just choose to live together and not get married at all, with statistics suggesting that unmarried couples are twice as likely to break up as married couples. Any permanent relationship separation is painful, but sadly there are often children caught in the cross-fire:
“for infants who were living with married parents in 2004, 12% were with only one parent by 2010. The same figure for unmarried couples cohabiting is 27%” – the guardian
What about you. Are you keeping your marriage vows?
Marriage is not easy
Let’s not kid ourselves and pretend it is easy. Relationships are not easy. Marriage is not easy, but we owe it to ourselves and to our kids to make sure we do all we can to make our marriages a success.
In a recent Facebook post, I referenced a study that said that:
47% of people have regrets around relationships (romance, family, parenting, friends) compared with 22% around money and career.
Let’s have no regrets about our marriage. Something to think about when you consider what the next move is for your marriage.
BTW, if you haven’t seen them already, check out the links at the bottom of this article to some of the more popular posts on Real Men 24/7 about marriage.
And Chris and I hope you enjoy this episode.
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Real Men 24/7 marriage posts: