Contributed by Thomas Holman
Turn to good, trustworthy sources and most importantly, turn to God,
to receive the desire and motivation you need to find a person with whom you can have a happy marriage
Some Interesting Research
DATING AND MARRIAGE
BY THE NUMBERS
Strongly Agree or Agree that Being Married is among 1 or 2 Most Important Things in Life
Strongly Agree or Agree that Marriage is a Sacred Institution
Strongly Agree or Agree that the Idea of a Life-Long Commitment Scares Me
Based on survey of 1500-3000* LDS young single adults age 21-30.
*number varied by question asked
Isn’t this interesting? A lot of young single adults know marriage is important and know there is something sacred about marriage. Yet nearly a quarter were fearful of marriage. Why is that? Many have seen far too many bad examples of marriage and are scared it will happen to them. Much of society and many of their friends may not really be encouraging and so they’re scared that maybe the naysayers are right—marriage now, or maybe even ever, isn’t that important. But like I showed you in the Motivation for Marriage article, marriage has greater potential for helping you achieve lasting happiness than anything else.
So How Do I Make Marriage a Top Priority and Get the Motivation to Do It?
First of all, let’s eliminate the bad answers, starting with the media. Take extra caution as you flip the pages of celebrity and fashion magazines or check out popular websites. Too many people look to movie stars, reality TV, and famous athletes for answers on how and when to get married. I read some research a few years ago about starting relationships. The researcher asked one young woman; “When do you know you are ready for another relationships after a breakup?” She said that one of the characters on Sex in the City said to wait six months, so that was what she was going to do! That seems crazy when you think about it. Why should you pay attention to a TV program’s character!?
Also, be careful about listening to so-called experts. A few years ago, the following short article appeared in the Sunday paper magazine supplement:
“Think your no-sex-until-the-third-date guideline is enough? Try going six months—or more. While sex is a healthy part of romantic partnerships, Kate Taylor, author of Not Tonight, Mr. Right, argues that not having sex can also be beneficial when you’re in a new relationship. ‘Women have up to 10 times more of the bonding hormone oxytocin, which can cause them to feel closer to their partners than they actually are,’ she says. This intimacy often encourages women to become more emotionally invested in men than they normally would, and more likely to ignore or justify behaviors that lead to an unhappy union in the long term. ‘Luckily the solution is simple: Hold off on sex until you’ve reached a level of commitment and security you’re comfortable with,’ says Taylor.”
There are some truths mixed in there, like some of the information about oxytocin, but a lot in it are half-truths and unproven assumptions. Let’s look closely at what we are supposed to just accept and believe:
- Sex on the third date? Where did this idea come from? We are subtlety influenced to think that the third date is the normal waiting period to have sex. But research doesn’t support that idea so why should we believe it?
- We aren’t even told who the writer of the article is and what credential she has for making that statement about sexual timing, so why should we accept his/her statement about sexual timing as fact or truth?
- Sex is a healthy part of any relationship? How does the unknown author know that? Where is the research? Is it possible that premarital sexual abstinence before marriage is a better idea? Again, are we being led down the path of “if people writing in a magazine or on a website say it’s true then it must be”?
- Who is this Kate Taylor quoted in the article and what makes her an expert? Actually I looked her up. Apparently she is a “sex columnist” for a number of different British media. So that makes her an expert? It appears she is a journalist with no other credential for making the assertions she does.
I could go on, but my point is, be very careful what you believe from the media and so-called experts. They may mix in some truth, but they may also (unintentionally or purposely) throw in lies. So be careful.
So then what can and should motivate you?
I was trained to be a family science researcher and teacher and spent over 35-plus years teaching, running workshops, and doing dozens of research projects. The research I’ve cited about marriage and happiness is good research and I stand behind it. I could quote from literally dozens and dozens more pieces of research. But is that what motivated me to get married and to have stayed married now for over 40 years? Research helps, but fundamentally and at the core, my motivation for getting married and staying married came from my faith in God and the support my wife and I have received from Him. I know He loves each of us and He wants us to have happy marriages and families. I know from experience that He helps us through the really tough times.
Turn to good, trustworthy sources and most importantly, turn to God to receive the desire and motivation you need to find a person with whom you can have a happy marriage. God will take away your fears and help you move forward to the greatest chance of happiness you can have in life—a great marriage.
This article is one of a series. For others in the series, see: