by Mark Timm, CEO Ziglar Family
Here’s a friendly calendar update for my guy friends out there: we are only 3 short weeks away from Valentine’s Day, so it’s time to start thinking about showing your better half how special she is!
Ladies, I am pretty sure I don’t have to give you the calendar reminder, am I right? I’m betting many of you already have your Valentine cards purchased, signed, and sealed with a kiss.
For both husbands and wives, this is a good season to focus on the importance of marriage as a strong foundation for families. Because my first marriage failed, I know how painful of a life season that is for everyone involved. So please know that the thoughts I share here aren’t intended to be judgmental in any way of single parents – I’ve been there.
But the reality is this: statistics unquestionably prove that a strong, healthy marriage is simply best for families, period.
Zig Ziglar, married for 56 years to his lovely wife Jean, was a staunch advocate for marriage, and even developed an entire program for couples called Courtship After Marriage.
Here are some statistics that Mr. Ziglar shared:
Take 10 couples who decide to divorce. Two years later, seven of them admit it was a mistake. Five years later, 5 of them have remarried and divorced again. Ten years later, only 1 out of the 10 even claim to be happy.
Of the women who do not remarry, 50% of them end up on welfare. Of the men, only half of them see their children regularly.
The wife’s income for every $10 she had been taking in is now only $3.
A full 50% of the men don’t support the children, and almost half of them will not even see their children during the next 12 months.
50% of first marriages fail. 60% of second marriages fail. 70% of third marriages fail.
Those are some powerful—and sobering–numbers, aren’t they?
I’d say they make a strong case for each of us to take a good look at ourselves and our marriage, and evaluate whether we are doing all that we can to achieve the success and longevity in marriage that Mr. and Mrs. Ziglar exemplified.
So where should we start?
The most important question to ask when you’re taking a look at your marriage is always What am I putting in to this relationship, not What am I getting out of it.
Marriage is not a 50/50 proposition; it’s a 100/100. Both husband and wife have to fully give 100% of their love, affection, interest, dedication, and devotion. You’re both on the same side. You must be true partners, and that partnership is the foundation of parenthood.
Mr. Ziglar said,
A man is a husband first, father second, businessman third. A woman is a wife first, mother second, career woman third.
A strong marriage precedes a strong family. Marriage is permanent; parenthood is temporary.
Marriage is central; parenthood is secondary.
Marriage is the hub; children are the spokes.
Surely any marriage that’s going to avoid divorce must have husbands and wives who clearly understand that they really are on the same side.
Getting on the same page with your partner doesn’t happen automatically when your vows are exchanged. Like almost everything in life that’s worthwhile, it will take some intentional effort on your part.
You already know whether or not you’re putting 100% effort into your marriage.
If the answer is no, here are 10 ways to strengthen your partnership with your spouse:
- Find and develop some common interests/ hobbies
- Give each other plenty of sincere compliments
- Say thank you and show gratitude frequently
- Apologize readily, and make trust and forgiveness a standard part of your relationship
- Check in during the day with a quick text or phone call
- Hug each other as soon as you get home from work
- Say good night every night, regardless of how you feel
- Brag on your partner in front of others
- Encourage and cheer for each other every way you can
- Set goals together for yourselves as a couple, as well as for your family
There are no perfect marriages or perfect spouses. We all know that having a good marriage requires effort and hard work.
I challenge you to choose at least three suggestions from the list above and really focus on making them happen this week. Do three more next week, and finish up the list the following week.
Then by Valentine’s Day, you’ll know that you’re truly giving 100% effort to your marriage, which is so much more meaningful than any box of chocolates, flower, or card could ever be!