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You often hear that 50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce.  While technically correct, that number does not tell the whole story. Let's take a deeper look at this phenomenon and try to determine a number that is probably more accurate – one that more honestly reflects the real truth about marriage for most people.

The divorce rate in the USA impacts far fewer individuals that you have probably been led to believe by the popular media.  For example, if a certain group of individuals get married multiple times the number of divorces gets skewed upward.  It is hard to miss the logic here.  It seems clear that the oft quoted divorce rate of 50% in the USA includes individuals who have been divorced more that once; hence, the actual number of people effected by divorce is probably much lower than 50% if you remove from the equation those who have been divorced more than once.

Now, let's get back to the main point of this article.  We have established the fact that divorce in the USA impacts far fewer actual people than many have been led to believe.  Further, there does appear to be a downward trend in the divorce rate over the past several years.  But what is up with the high number of people getting married and divorced multiple times?  They skew the numbers and give an impression of marriage that is misleading.  

We believe that many folks are afraid of marriage and relationships because they read the headlines in the newspapers and magazines, and because they watch way too much television where the focus is, more often than not, on glorifying divorce and separation, on belittling the value and sanctity of marriage.  It's a shame really and it has caused people desperate for love to look for love in all the wrong places.  Here's what we mean.

There is science involved with understanding why so many marriages beyond the first one fail.  People desperate for love go to singles bars, nightclubs, use dating services, log on to e-Harmony.com and Match.com, to name a few.  Now ask yourself this very honest and forthright question – do you really expect to find Mr. Right or Ms. Right through one of these venues?  That is not to say that it doesn't happen from time to time, but we suspect that people looking for true and lasting love in these places rarely find it.  This is not meant as a criticism of these venues so much as our attempt to open your eyes to the chances of finding someone to spend your life with in places like this.  

Frankly, the high multiple divorce rate phenomenon is a sad reality.  Most people we know and have interviewed over the years really want to find true and lasting love.  But our advice to them is go to places where they are more likely to find another person looking for true and lasting love – at church or the synagogue, Thanksgiving Dinner at a friend's house, over a cup of coffee while you study in the dining area at the university, at volunteer opportunities, by belonging to social organizations like dance clubs, at interest oriented meetings such as book clubs or community action groups, and at work (this gets a little complicated at times!), to name a few.  

In our judgment the principle cause for multiple divorce is because people in search of love look for it in all the wrong places.  Start looking for love in the right places and we are confident you will find the one you want to celebrate your Golden Anniversary with.  If more people used this approach to finding their true love, the divorce rate would go down dramatically and people would give marriage the chance it deserves instead of being scared away by the fear of failure.

Love well!

by Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz
Award Winning Authors of the NEW hardback book
Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage 

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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Sewingchic wrote Apr 9, 2009
    • I would not rule out online dating services.  I met my first husband at church, and he eventually became a minister.  When we met, we had the same values, and seemed to want the same things.  After he had multiple affairs, I divorced him after 29 years.

      I met the new man in my life online.  It gave me the chance to talk to men to see what they want in a relationshiop.  It’s pretty easy to weed out the bozos most of the time.  The relationship I am in now is absolutely wonderful, and I expect to spend the rest of my life with him.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Igoplaces wrote Apr 9, 2009
    • My first husband was my boss, and we were married for almost 25 years. Then, he left me. For a man! But that’s another story!!! Like “Sewingchic,” I turned directly to online dating and got to meet hundreds - yes, hundreds - of incredible men (and about 50 losers, but hey, no one’s perfect!). Exactly three years to the day of my signing onto online dating, I met my Mr. Right, and, as I write this, we‘re living “happily ever after.” I even wrote a book about it: THE INTELLIGENT WOMAN‘S GUIDE TO ONLINE DATING. It’s available on Amazon.com and on theintelligentwomansguide.com. It tells how I did it and how you - or someone you know - can do it too.



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Sewingchic wrote Apr 9, 2009
    • That’s great.  So many are quick to judge regarding online dating.  I confess that I often lie and say we met “through friends“.  I just don’t want to hear the sermons.  Personally, I think online dating can be one of the safest ways to go - much safer than blind dates!

      Congrats on your “happily everafter” guy.



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Junqueattic wrote Apr 9, 2009
    • Amen, sister. I just recently met the most awesome guy through a friend, but, like you said, I listened to the inner voice - opened myself to the possibility and have found the most wonderful guy in a most unexpected place.   happy The first time, I listened to the outside—you‘re so right...



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dancinggirl wrote Apr 9, 2009
    • I find this all very interesting.  My divorce date is May 8th and I am just thinking of getting back in the game.  We were married 23 years and separated a little over 18 months ago.  Two grown boys who are still hurting over this.

      My marriage had its good points, but the abuse was too much in the end.  I have gotten help with the emotions and the brokeness and continue to grow and heal.  I spend my time working, dancing and enjoying friends.  My friends say that they have never seen me happier and enjoy being around me.

      I have really been thinking about the online dating scene - but am nervous about putting myself out there.  I like the idea of the book - maybe I’ll read up on it before I venture out.



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz wrote Apr 9, 2009
    • Congrats to those of you who found Mr. Right using an on-line dating service.  While we think that most women stand a greater chance of meeting Mr. Right at their favorite activities and gathering places, the other side of the coin is that if you cut through to the real substance of the answers provided on-line, you can see a lot about the person before meeting him.  The advantage of this approach is that you tend to focus on some of the questions and answers that you might not think about asking when you first meet a man.  In fact, many women don’t ask some of the most important questions until they have already fallen for the guy and it is almost too late to ask the questions.  By then you are not as objective as you would have been when listening to his answers.  If you were able to read the answers on-line before even meeting the man you can remain objective.  So, for those of you who take real advantage of the on-line services, you have found a way to gather information before jumping in.  Congratulations on your successes!

      Liz and Charley



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mjmurphy wrote Apr 9, 2009
    • I have thought about the online dating thing but something keeps holding me back from doing it, it just doesn’t seem right for me. I like that you listed several different ways to meet someone, you have given me some ideas I can work with.



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      Sewingchic wrote Apr 10, 2009
    • I think you will find that people are more honest and ask the important questions online.  The man I am with asked some very upfront, honest questions - I was not expecting them.  He had been dating online for 10 years and certainly knew how to cut to the chase.  It’s so much easier to do that in front of a computer than in person.  

      My experience has been that many people have opinions about online dating, but very few have tried it.  Unless you have seriously looked into it and experienced it, it’s hard to have an objective opinion.

      For those of you who are afraid, trust me, I was too. You can imagine - I was a minister’s wife for many years!!! However, you can be very anonymous online.  I had my picture up there, but didn’t even use my real first name.  Most of the sites you can try for free.  There’s nothing to lose in checking it out, and if you are uncomfortable meeting anyone, just don’t give them your phone number.



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Move2poetry wrote Apr 11, 2009
    • I too have tried online dating and thought i was successful at weeding out the bozos, but let me tell you, it was a challenge.  Some people can make you think they are perfect!

      I was lucky, mostly.  After a pretty great 3 year relationship with a wonderful man, it turned sour over a petty argument.  

      We were both in a bad space and it has just gotten worse.  We were great friends.  I miss that friendship....

      But while I am now healing, I do know that when I am ready, i will try the online dating thing again.  I am not a social butterfly, keep to my usual routine and do not go out to bars and love activities that keep me indoors a lot. Except for travel, which funnily enough I love doing alone...

      So this online thing is perfect for someone like me...



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Lynne wrote Apr 12, 2009
    • I met my second husband on line/at work.  I worked with him a long time ago, then when I was purusing an on-line dating site I saw his picuture and called him.  Anyway, four and a half years later, I am not so sure about my happiness with this marriage.  

      This is where I need some help from my fellow fabulous forties out there. Is it unreasonable for spouses to ask for certain changes from the other?  He actually doesn’t ask me to change, but when we get into a fight he has all sorts of complaints about me.  Then when I ask him why hasn’t he told something I do or don’t do bugs him, he answere that he just ignores it.  That is until I complain about something about him.  There are some things about him that bug the living crap out me.  I have tried ignoring, overlooking, even making up for, but I still can’t get around some of his behaviors.  I believe that a peerson in a relationship should accept their partner %100.  I also believe that a person in a relationship should be willing to make changes to please their partner.  If both persons are doing this, then both will be happy.  Does anyone out there agree/disagree, or have a better way to do this?  I really don’t want a second divorce.



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz wrote Apr 12, 2009
    • Lynne,

      When behaviors bug you to that extent, you have to deal with them openly and honestly.  The same is true of what is bugging him that he continues to bring up during arguments.  Either you deal with it now or it will just keep building.  Find a time to have an open conversation by asking him what he most would like you to change that would make it a more enjoyable relationship.  Stick with only one thing at a time, not an entire encyclopedia of what you don't like and what he doesn't like.  Then, build on the successes.  Start small and work through each issue by having an agreement that you both want to work through the things that bug you so the marriage will be successful.  We have a sharing exercise in our book, Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage , that allows each one of you to think about just these types of questions.  We always recommend that you set aside an hour a week to engage in sitting talking about the really important issues that make your marriage work. The important thing is that you find the time and deal with it.  If you would like to for us to send you some of the questions, just email us and we will do that for you.

      Liz and Charley



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lynne wrote Apr 12, 2009
    • Drs.  Thank you so much for your response.  We have tried counseling, and  although I do not have your book, I have tried introducing marriage books into the relationship.  I think your advise  of dealing with one thing at a time, openly and honestly, is excellant, and definately missing from our levels of communication.  Can your book be found at any bookstore, or just on this site?  

      One of his favorite responses is that if he makes a change for me, then I will always expect him to change and he won’t get to be himself anymore.  I have tried to tell him that I don’t want that much change out of him, and that I am even willing to make necessary changes for him.  Then I end up getting mad and yelling at him what I hate about him.  He even goes so far to say that he likes everything about me.  I truly find that hard to believe, since I was single for quite awhile before him, I developed some “by-myself” ways of doing things.  My point is how do I know if he doesn’t like something about me if he doesn’t say anything about it?  

      After finding out the hard way what makes a marriage go bad, I came into this one with a much better (and more mature) attitude.  We were fortyish when we met and married.  

      I was also reading one of your blogs about how women test their men, what about men who test their girlfriends?  What does that say about them?  I didn’t realize it at the time, but in hindsight, he did several tests of my loyalty and intentions before we were married.  When I confronted him about it later, he denied it and said that was not what it looked like.

      Thank you for your attention,  Lynne



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz wrote Apr 12, 2009
    • Lynne,

      Yes, you can find our book on Amazon.comBarnesandNoble.comin Barnes and Noble Bookstores and on our website  If you get  copy, please start right away with the Seven-Week Sharing Program.  It has been very powerful for couples experiencing the same issues.  While counseling can be a great benefit, it will not be effective if you and your husband do not sit down in honest conversation with each other.  It sounds like that is a level that you both need to work to get to as soon as possible.  Again, starting with one issue at a time is the best way to find success quickly and then build on it.  We wish you the very best with this process.  It is critical to the long term success of your relationship.

      Liz and Charley



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Suzannemichele wrote Apr 14, 2009
    • Sounds like the positive potential is still there, but buried beneath arguments.  Please do not rule out counseling at this time - it may help get to the root of his complaints whenever arguments come up.  This is especially true if you have found yourselves having the same arguments again and again.  That is indicative of a communications failure, which can be helped.  If you still love him and would like to work on the relationship, please see a good relationship counselor together.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tammy Slater-Kendrick wrote Jul 24, 2009
    • I see that these are old comments - but suspect that there will be a whole crop of new ones now that the blog post was re-introduced.

      Two failed marriages and one failed 10-year relationship taught me the most valuable lesson I could hope for. I learned that I had been settling for ANY relationship, because I didn’t have enough self-confidence to actually reject men who were not right for me. So, I first took care of what I hated about myself - I got in shape and lost the weight that made me feel unattractive. I also looked for my own personality traits that were likely to turn men off and worked on changing them.

      Then, I followed Dr. Phil’s advice and wrote out a list of (1) the traits I absolutely insist upon in my partner; (2) the traits I will not tolerate in my partner; and (3) all the traits I would LIKE to have in a partner. According to Dr. Phil - look for a man who meets 80 percent of your “like-to-have” criteria and 100 percent of the MUST-HAVE/CAN‘T-HAVE traits (these are the deal-breakers). Then, you just have to be willing to accept that the 20 percent that isn’t what you PREFER is something you just have to accept (Lynne, take note, please - it might help). I realized that the only person I can - or should - try to change is ME. I realized there’s NEVER going to be a “Mister 100 Percent” and stopped trying to find one.

      For me, online was the only logical place to look. It gives you an opportunity to “shop” en masse. Using the methods described in the blog post could take years to meet someone (if ever) if you don’t have a really active social life. Online shortens that time considerably. I met the most wonderful, completely compatible man online a couple of years ago. He’s definitely my “happily ever after” guy and we have developed a fairy-tale relationship that both of us are thrilled with. We would NEVER have met had it not been for online dating as neither of us attends church or other social activities, clubs, etc. We love to travel, spend time with our daughters and play with our dogs. How would we have met otherwise?

      Sorry - my “2 cents” worth ended up being more like “4 cents.” Sometimes, I just don’t know when to stop writing!



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