Monday, March 19, 2012

What Makes You Stay?

My in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this past weekend.  All five kids, their spouses, fourteen grandkids, and one grandson-in-law converged on San Antonio for the weekend to help them celebrate the special occasion.

We took a riverboat ride, and the captain asked them what the secret was to a long and happy marriage.  He said he thought it was the bad times that made a marriage and spoke of how he'd experienced a death in the family, he and his wife had both lost jobs, and that he felt the hard times made their marriage stronger.

Fifty years is an accomplishment.  My own parents will celebrate forty-four years in May.  My husband and I will celebrate ten years in June, and we are very proud of reaching that milestone.  We've both have been through a divorce and know how devastating it can be.

If you listen to the news, anywhere from 41-50% of all marriages end in divorce.  According to, more detailed statistics show:

Per the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri:
  • 50% percent of first marriages
  • 67% of second marriages
  • 74% of third marriages end in divorce 
According to Enrichment Journal on the divorce rate in America:
  • The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%
  • The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%
  • The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%

It's easy to make a relationship work during the good times.  Like the riverboat captain, I believe getting through the bad times is what challenges and strengthens or destroys a marriage. 

Anyone who has ever been married will tell you there are days when he or she just wanted to walk out the door and not look back.  Days when the going got too rough.  Days when the problems with their significant other felt insurmountable. 

So the real question is:  What makes you stay? 

What is the number one reason you straighten your spine, dust yourself off, ignore the bruised feelings, and make another effort?  Is it the kids?  Money?  Love?  Your vows?  Your religious beliefs?  What makes you stay?