Here's another reason that life is full of possibility, and that if your first marriage didn’t work, perhaps the next one will. A recent survey in Parade magazine found that 88 percent of couples interviewed said they were — drum roll, please — happy or reasonably content in their marriages. Yippee.
Another hopeful nugget on the state of matrimony was that half of the couples used words like "joyful" or "loving" to portray their marraiges. Furthermore, 71 percent of these couples said they've stayed married because of deep love while 73 percent also cited the magic word — the desire for companionship.
Why does this not surprise me? For starters, I am a happily re-married woman who adores her husband after 15 years of being together. Although the study didn't break down whether many of these participants were in second marriages, I would bet that many were.
Here's a little secret rarely reported: We learn from our mistakes. Sometimes you can have two good people who just aren't good for each other. That was certainly the case in my first marriage. I learned who I was and who I wasn't. (Also learned who he was and wasn't...and then said good-bye).
Because I was younger, I didn't know myself as well. Qualities like being cute and adoring went high up on the husband-to-be resumé. Didn't really focus on such important factors as whether we shared common values, heritage, or ways to spend Sunday afternoons. Also, you grow more tolerant over time, realizing that sometimes it really is ok to agree to disagree.
So the Parade survey wasn’t too surprising. Plus we like happy endings and new beginnings at FWW.
Yes, it’s true that there were many toxic break-ups this year that we and others have reported. And for every nasty verbal fistfight a la Christie Brinkley or betrayal and torment a la Sarah McLaughlin, Jo and Ronnie Wood, and Elizabeth and John Edwards, there are also many examples of couples who find harmony, respect, and enduring compatibility.
However, as we know, it is not all rosy and cozy in many marriages. Thirty percent of those polled admitted that they remain married because of financial reasons or because it’s “too much trouble to get out.”
With the economy in flux and the necessity of financial belt tightening, more couples are likely to stick it out. Hopefully they can work through their differences. If not, FWW will be there to help them find solutions, no matter their limited budget or tolerance level.
The Parade poll also confirmed another fact that we have reported. Turns out that men are happier with their marriages than most women are. Nearly 70 percent of the men surveyed said they "never" think about leaving their wives, whereas nearly half of the women said they think about leaving their husbands at least occasionally — and sometimes daily.
The women also complained about men wanting more sex than they did. And men assumed that their wives weren’t interested in sex. Well, in fact, a quarter of the women said they had avoided sex because they were annoyed at their spouses or had lost sexual interest in him, or both — which makes sense, because one affects the flavor of the other like French fries without ketchup.
What will also sound familiar to many of our FWW women is that the men didn’t complain about household chores as a source of friction, compared with 31 percent of the women. But overall, marriage may sometimes be a chore, but it is one that people prefer to a true housecleaning. The study confirms that people want to fall in love — but often you have to wait or try one or two before finding the right person.
Some results of the survey:
56% would definitely marry the same person again
44% of women have thought about leaving their husbands
31% of men have thought about leaving their wives
31% have sex less than once a month
48% of men don't have sex more often because their spouse isn't interested
33% of women don't have sex more often because they're tired
25% describe marital sex as either tolerable or terrible
24% have kept an important secret from their spouse
63% would try to save their marriage if a spouse was unfaithful
19% of men have had sex outside of marriage
Survey results based on interviews with 1001 married Americans (501 men, 500 women), ages 18 and over, conducted from May 28 to June 7, 2008, by Insight Express.