Is Marriage Obsolete?

TIME magazine this week features a TIME/Pew Special Report with the cover asking in big red letters WHO NEEDS MARRIAGE? TIME takes an in depth look at the changing rates, statistics and expectations about marriage in the United States and the world in some instances.  TIME says, “What we found is that marriage, whatever its social, spiritual or symbolic appeal, is in purely practical terms just not as necessary as it used to be……yet marriage remains revered and desired.”(page 49, Nov. 29, 2010 issue)  The article also talks quite alot about cohabitation and makes this observation, “Cohabitation seems to have no negative effect on a marriage’s chances if it’s preceded by an engagement, no previous live-in lovers and no children.” (page 54)  This affirms one of the points in our book My Heart Got Married And I Didn’t Know It, that serial heart marriage relationships are not helpful in creating healthy relationship habits and can actually set the stage for divorce.

We’ll be blogging about this article for the next little bit-  hope you’ll check back in!

Lora & Barbara

Europe and Marriage

Lots of folks stop us at the grocery store or church or on the street to share their thoughts about our book My Heart Got Married And I Didn’t Know It. Several people have mentioned the statistics that show marriage is on the decline in the U.S. and have pointed out that marriage rates in Europe have declined even more.  There is a term in Europe that describes relationships as “life stage partnerships” and the underlying assumption is that relationships don’t last forever, marriage is unnecessary and romantic relationships last for a season. Hmmmmm……what does this mean for our understanding of heart marriage? We maintain that when couples embrace marriage like behaviors – sex, cohabitation, monogamy- especially early in the relationship, they become deeply bound even if the relationship is troubled and will have difficulty and heart ache when they try to break up.

So, whether you live in Europe or the states, live with intention and don’t rush your romances!!

Lora & Barbara

One more new term- Serial heart marriage

So….our book, My Heart Got Married And I Didn’t Know It, names and defines the concepts of heart marriage, heart divorce and serial heart marriage.  No surprise that serial heart marriage describes a person who moves from one heart marriage to another in succession.  Why would someone do this?  Well, relationship behavior is like other behavior, it is habitual.  So a person could have a long term relationship with the markers of heart marriage but when it dissolved, they may not do the hard work of trying to figure out why the relationship didn’t work.  They meet someone new and before taking the time to know them well, they quickly become sexually intimate and monogamous.  The comfort and ease of cohabitation follow as that is the person’s habit.

I recently met a guy who told me he hadn’t had his own place in 12 years! Really, he had lived with a woman for 6 years and when they broke up, moved immediately into his new girlfriend’s apartment where he stayed for 4 years.  When that fell apart, he moved in with his current girlfriend, where he has lived for the past 2 years.  He tells me he wants to get married but just hasn’t met the right woman yet.  This is the perfect example of serial heart marriage and this guy will need to change his behavior and intentionally slow things down to figure out what he really is looking for in a life partner. Serial heart marriage…something to think about.

Lora & Barbara

Cosmo agrees with us!

In this months issue of Cosmopolitan magazine (September 2010), Korin Miller has an article titled When an LTR Goes on Too Long. (LTR is a long term relationship…yea, it took me a minute, too!)  Anyway- she says the same things we are saying in our book My Heart Got Married And I Didn’t Know It.  Stuff like- never take a big step as a couple like moving in together without telling your partner how you feel about marriage.  She says that if your partner doesn’t bring it up, you absolutely have to.  She also quotes from Barton Goldsmith’s book Emotional Fitness for Intimacy,  that “A lot of people in these long term relationships aren’t communicating their needs, and that’s where they develop problems.”  Korin goes on to say “Breaking up after several years of dating can feel as traumatic as divorce, especially if you were living together.”

We LOVE it when people agree with us!!

Lora & Barbara


Pre-nuptial vs. Pre-marital cohabitation: What’s the Difference?

There is actually a difference between pre-nuptial and pre-marital cohabitation!  And it is not just a game of semantics!  Pre-nuptial living together means the couple has set date for the wedding, the couple is officially engaged, the search is on for the dress and other details are being attended to – that compares to pre-marital or just plain old, straight up living together or cohabiting.  While this couple may hope marriage is in the future, there are no concrete plans to marry.  Statistically, it appears that couples who live together pre-nuptially have the same percentage of success in marriage as couples who did not cohabit. However, where the research shows trouble is for the serial cohabitor- those individuals who live with a succession of partners before marriage have higher rates of divorce.  In essence, these individuals may be heart married a number of times and consequently go through the difficult breakups we call heart divorces before marrying. It is these folks who have higher rates of divorce.

Something to think about….

Hope you are having a great weekend,

Lora & Barbara

Welcome to My Heart Got Married!

Thanks for stopping by.

My Heart Got Married And I Didn’t Know It is our new book due to be released in Summer 2009. It introduces and names the concept of heart marriage as the binding together of the hearts of a dating couple in a profound way; yet they have not clearly and intentionally articulated a desire and commitment to marry.   Heart marriage occurs when couples begin to practice, rather early in their relationship, the typical behaviors of marriage such as monogamy, sexual intimacy and cohabiting, whether part-time a few nights a week or full time by literally occupying the same residence.  With today’s relationship trends, this occurs more and more often and as a result, couples are short circuiting the natural developmental process of getting to know and understand each other that is critical in discerning whether the relationship is right for the long term commitment of marriage.    

To read more and preorder My Heart Got Married, visit our website.