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Committed: The Ties that Bond

with Angella Dykstra

I'm a mom of three, a professional accountant, and an amateur photographer and writer. I am not a marriage expert. But my husband and I take "Til death do us part" seriously, and here I'll be sharing how we keep our marriage strong while we both do that insane work-life juggle.

Check out my Work It, Mom! profile and my blog, Dutch Blitz.

Marriage isn’t for everybody

Categories: commitment, marriage


Our fearless leader Nataly sent me the link to a Huffington Post article titled “On Second Thought, Don’t Get Married.” Being someone who believes wholeheartedly in marriage, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading. The first two paragraphs had me wondering where the article was heading.

More than 2 million couples will get married in the United States this year alone. Several hundred thousand of these couples should reconsider, postpone their weddings or not get married.

Shocking new statistics released recently by the U.S. Census Bureau suggest that Americans may no longer need marriage. For the first time ever, fewer than half of the households in the United States are married couples. In the past decade, the number of unmarried couples increased 25 percent as more people chose to cohabitate. A Pew Research Center study last year put it more succinctly, finding an increasing number of Americans now believes marriage is “becoming obsolete.”

But then! It turned positive!

This is a dangerous conclusion. It’s true that far too many marriages, as currently constructed, end up disastrously. But with some common sense societal changes at the front end, marriage can still serve a vital purpose for a vast majority of adults.

Interestingly, around the same time the Pew study came out, the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, in their annual report on the health of marriage and family life, affirmed that more than three-quarters of Americans still believe marriage is “important” and that more than 70 percent of adults under age 30 desire to marry someday.

So it’s clear that a majority of us still crave to be married. It’s like we are hard wired to search after that person with whom we can spend the rest of our lives — even in the face of these dire marital statistics.

And then, I started nodding my head.

I’m not trying to say that marriage is not in trouble. I am trying to say that there are some clear answers to the question of how marriage can get uniformly more satisfying for the people involved. And this I firmly believe: When done right, marriage can be the greatest institution on earth.

There’s a lot of good stuff after that which saw me continuing with the head nodding. He then finished with this:

When two people have a relationship which is predicated upon broad-based compatibility, there is every reason to be optimistic about their long term prospects. A marriage of this type has virtually no chance of becoming “obsolete.”

If all of us together can focus on the challenge of getting the right persons married to each other, it just might change our society more than anything else we could do. Goodness knows, when marriage is right, little else matters nearly so much.



My husband and I have a great marriage. We share the same beliefs, goals and sense of humor. We rarely fight because, well, we both balance each other out and there isn’t much to fight about when you have, as the article labeled it, “broad-based compatibility.” We have that in spades. We just get along, and laugh a lot while doing so.

I can tell you truthfully that while I love my girlfriends, a night out alone with my husband would trump a night out with the girls any time. He is my favorite. And I am his.

That last line hit home for me because I believe it to be true.

Goodness knows, when marriage is right, little else matters nearly so much.

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6 comments so far...

  • So how would we go about “getting the right persons married to each other”?

    I think marriage is beautiful and all that. My parents are about to celebrate 50 years of it this year. There’ve been three marriages and no divorces among my siblings so far. So I was obviously raised to believe in its importance.

    But I am wary of suggestions that could push couples toward marriage when for them, it might not be the best thing. I was tempted in that direction some years ago (biological clock, convention, idealism), but thankfully I realized that a marriage to that person would NOT be a happy one, regardless of how much I was willing to compromise.

    I guess I can’t speak for anyone else, but personally, I can live a very happy life without ever being married. I would get hitched to the right person (if he exists), but I’d have to be pretty darn sure.

    SKL  |  July 8th, 2011 at 9:51 am

  • Oh, I totally hear you, and completely agree.

    I was just coming at it from my perspective, where my husband and are quite happy, so much so that people have made comments that maybe I’m exaggerating and maybe not sharing the whole story.

    I think we’re just inherently compatible, which makes our commitment to staying married a little bit easier. We genuinely LIKE each other, as well as LOVE each other.

    “Goodness knows, when marriage is right, little else matters nearly so much.”

    Is true for me, which is why I liked it. :)

    Angella  |  July 8th, 2011 at 9:56 am

  • I don’t know…I take issue with the concept that “marriage”–a religious and/or legal status–is any better than, or even *different* than, any other permanent committed relationship. I feel absolutely no more committed to my husband now that he’s my official, legal husband, since our committment was cemented long before we signed any papers or had a ceremony. I don’t feel marriage has changed the way we feel about each other or our relationship, i.e., that we’re any stronger or more secure for it. We were strong before we were legally married, we were secure before we were legally married, and really the only thing that changed when we got married was that I was allowed on his health insurance plan.

    As long as legal issues like health care and hospital visitation are tied to marriage, and as long as tradition is valued by the community (whether it’s religious tradition or otherwise), marriage will always be relevant. But otherwise? For many of us, being in a committed relationship has very little to do with marital status.

    Leah K  |  July 8th, 2011 at 1:41 pm

  • I’m not really sure why saying that marriages that will ultimately end in divorce should be avoided is entirely NOT positive. Isn’t that true? Marriage is clearly right FOR YOU. But as Leah said, I don’t really see how marriage is any different than a long term committed relationship, or why marriage makes it somehow more valid. And ya know, I’m married.

    slynnro  |  July 8th, 2011 at 3:47 pm

  • Whenever I go to a wedding, the part that the minister says that always strikes me is “it is a union not to be entered into lightly.”

    Perhaps if everyone really took it with that level of thought then we would have far more of the right people married to each other?

    Mich  |  July 8th, 2011 at 4:31 pm

  • I LOVE being married to my husband. I love that 10 years later, we are stronger than I ever could have imagined and are the couple our friends look to because we have a strong marriage and family. I think one reason we are so strong (other than being perfectly suited ; ) ) is the 1 year pre-cana course my Church insisted upon. Note here- we are perfectly suited but not the same person in terms of all beliefs or hobbies, etc. We discussed big and little things that can occur in a marriage BEFORE we got married. What a concept! I think that’s what many couples lack. People tend to get married to throw a party or because it’s the next step without realizing that the wedding is one day, a marriage is a lifetime.

    elz  |  July 11th, 2011 at 4:23 pm