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Archive for June, 2010

I just read an article called “Dating for a decade? Young adults aren’t rushing marriage” http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2010-06-22-10yearcourtship22_CV_N.htm?csp=usat.me

Frankly there is much to commend and much to correct in the article.

The basic idea is that couples are living together for a long time, sometimes breaking up and then getting back together— all as a strategy for making sure marriage works.  The most commendable thing in the article is the reference to up-to-date research that shows cohabiting has no noticeable effect on the marriage success of couples.

Couples who live together before marriage and those who don’t both have about the same chances of a successful union, according to a federal report out Tuesday that turns earlier cohabitation research on its head (http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2010-03-02-cohabiting02_N.htm?csp=obinsite)

There are two problems with the article I do want to mention:

1.  The chief examples they give of those trying this ‘new’ approach are of the rich-and-famous (royalty in particular).  I don’t see how the record of the British / European royalty should be an example to the rest of us for much of anything about life (no offense meant at all, they just live inside a different kind of world).  Their record is dismal, but to their credit they are trying something new!

2.  There is nothing new under the sun.  The article claims that people are now ‘waiting’— lots of people were waiting 30 years ago.  The article claims people aren’t rushing in…of course they are!  Every person reading this article already knows many couples who got married quickly (i.e. rushed in).

THE REAL PROBLEM

The real problem, which is fully explained in the book GLAEN, is that people are trying to create guarantees where there are no guarantees.  The truth is that realizing there are no guarantees helps the relationship!

Relationships are lived in the moment (not in the future) and they are best lived by sound principles rather than control strategies.  Let me share one of my favorite turning points in my 28 year marriage.  For many years my wife (Jody) would mention to me that she was having a fear that I would leave her (usually in about 2 weeks in her mind).  My first strategy was to assure that I would never leave, but the problem kept showing up.  After some time I started my second strategy; I got mad.  I mean, come on, where is the evidence?  We have 5 children together, I come home every night (and stay), and we do everything together.  “It’s not fair that you don’t trust me,” I’d gripe.  As you might guess, that strategy didn’t work very well either…

THE REAL SOLUTION

After more time, Jody one day said, “I’m just afraid you are going to leave me (in about 2 weeks).”  But I had grown a little, so I told the truth to the both of us.  “You know sweetie, I don’t know the future.  I might leave you in a couple of weeks or a couple of years.  I really don’t know.  I don’t think so.  Yet, here is what I do know—I’m not leaving today.  Would you like to have some fun today?  Would you like to be married and in a relationship with me today?”

Oddly enough, that cured it!  Jody will tell you now that she KNOWS I’m not leaving (I don’t know how she knows…I think she thinks I’m too lazy to leave).

You see, it is really not that complicated.  The article is saying that the trend (the article says the trend is to avoid the mistakes of Baby Boomers…which isn’t clearly explained) looks like this:

MEET => FALL IN LOVE => GO SLOW TILL YOU THINK YOU KNOW FOR SURE => LIVE TOGETHER  => DECIDE TO GIVE MARRIAGE ITS DUE => MARRY => HOPE FOR THE BEST

Allow me to offer a different pattern that will give you an even better shot at a long and successful marriage:

MEET => FALL IN LOVE => COMMIT TO THE MARRIAGE => MARRY => BUILD A LIFE TOGETHER AFTER COMMITTING => KEEP YOUR COMMITMENTS

You see, if commitment to the marriage itself isn’t there, you are statistically doomed.  People change.  If you are committed to that person, then you can convince yourself you are off-the-hook when that person is ‘no longer the person you married.’  Yes, love them and cherish them and commit to them…but committing to build a life with that person through the commitment  of marriage is an even greater calling.  In GLAEN, it’s called “marrying for keeps.”  Isn’t that what you really want?

“Richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part”

Notice how the guarantees are absent and the commitment come first?

God bless,

Fred Lybrand

www.glaen.com

P.S.  I know there are exceptions.  I know there are innocent parties sometimes in divorce.  I know that we can’t guarantee things on this earth.  All I’m sharing is that you can put the odds in your favor…but doubtfully by putting “building a life together” AHEAD of The Commitment.

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Glaen shares a number of lies and countering truths about marriage, romance, and relationships in general. I’ll share a few of these from time to time. Here’s a very strategic one:

Lie #3
If you will follow the right process, you
will be guaranteed a good marriage.

Why is this helpful? Well, simply put, it keeps you away from the temptation to manipulate others. Think about it…do you like to be controlled? Nor do I (or your boyfriend /girlfriend/etc. Control is largely a function of being afraid of outcomes we’ve ‘imagined’ will happen. This is a lot of the motivation behind trying to force behavior in kids (we want them to turn out OK). Yet, this is also why we feel treated like ‘kids’ by others…and they are only doing it for our own good :-)

Relationships are destroyed because people are trying to force things to work. When you are busy forcing change or behaviors you think will ‘help’— you are actually getting far away from the good principles that will lead you along.

You might as well face it (apologies to Robert Palmer)…your addicted to control.

But this will mostly go away if you can just own up to the fact that you really don’t know the future! You can’t guarantee it. You can’t force it to happen. But, what you can do is learn to live wisely. Inviting change and co-work on the relationship is wise. Making the other person behave right…is stupid (if you want a real relationship).

It really is that simple. People don’t stay in relationships where they are controlled all the time, though they will stay in a relationship if they think they are the one doing the controlling.

Just give up on knowing the future for the next week…and watch the delight in your life as you chill in your relating.

Grace,

Fred Lybrand

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Fresh off the press:

“We are announcing today that after a great deal of thought we have decided to separate,” the couple said. “This is very much a mutual and mutually supportive decision that we have made together, following a process of long and careful consideration. We ask for respect for our privacy and that of our family, and we do not intend to comment further.”

This is the joint statement of Al and Tipper Gore.

I think we are all taken aback, friend and foe alike, for one reason and one reason alone— We thought they were real.  They kissed on stage for the convention and claimed some role in the forming of “Love Story.”  What happened?  Are they hypocrites?  Are all marriages doomed and teetering on the brink of failure?

Well, judging matters we know nothing of is both silly and wrong.  Who knows?  They may not even exactly know.  Yes, we may find out there is an affair afoot or they just drifted apart.  It really isn’t a moment to speculate as to why the Gore’s don’t see themselves as a match.  It is, however, a moment for us to look at our own relationships.  How long do you want it to last?  What are you doing to increase your odds?

In Glaen, there is a simple understanding of what happens for relationships to last.  The two little words are “basis” and “chemistry”—both are important, and both help the long term prospects.

I’m going to tip my hand and tell you that a marriage only has for “outs”—

1. Divorce

2. Suicide

3. Murder

4. Mental Illness

When it gets down to it I believe we are simply to marry ‘for keeps’.  I have lots of divorced friends, and many of their marriages are awesome.  Yet, in my crazy, conservative, and bible-based existence…it all seems like God’s second best to me…and, the third marriage is still a second-best to the second marriage (sorry for the confusion…it means stay in the marriage you are in).

I can only tell you that I have married for keeps…Jody may leave me…but she’ll have to leave me (I won’t quit).  But there is something else here…I won’t quit working on BASIS and CHEMISTRY.

Basis is about what we share as a couple (do we have a basis to build a life together?)…chemistry is about whether we ‘do it’ for one another on a subtle and human level.

Starting with a good basis and a good chemistry is the way to go…run away if one or both aren’t there and you’ve made no commitment.  And yet, please don’t quit if your are in a marriage.  Build on it…work through the issues…offer a cool heritage to your kids and everyone watching.

I suppose that’s my grief with Al and Tipper.  We can’t know anything about what happened with them…all we know for sure from their announcement is that they both quit.

Quitting, at least on the surface, is a Convenient Choice.

Too bad for so many,

Fred Lybrand

www.glaen.com

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