It's no secret that many Americans will marry, divorce and remarry, all in search of the perfect union and the perfect mate. But the more someone remarries, the more likely he or she is to divorce again.
It doesn't have to be that way, according to Tina Timm, an assistant professor at Michigan State University. Timm studies marriage and relationship satisfaction, as well as counsels married couples. "The divorce rate, as every knows," she said, "is hovering around the 50 percent mark and so most marriages are not succeeding."
Divorce is something John and Marge Fiedler of Holt never considered. They were married on January 26, 1957, and celebrated their 50th anniversary just last month. John Fiedler jokes he learned "I love you" and "Yes, dear " are the two most important things to say to a wife, but in all seriousness, the mid-Michigan man says marriage isn't easy all the time.
"Sure we've had our disagreements over the years and I'm sure we'll continue to have them, but you have to give and take," he told News 10.
The Fiedlers also unwittingly practiced the three keys to a successful marriage that Dr Timm explained. First, she says, is that anger in a marriage is okay, as long as it keeps communication going. "Actually not talking about it, not being willing to , not being able to or just disengaging completely, that's what's fatal to marriages," she said.
Second, don't compromise; negotiate. Dr Timm says compromise smacks of both husband and wife having to give something up, but she says if both sides negotiate, stating their needs and interests and coming up with a solution based on who wants or needs something more, then they might find an answer that pleases them both.
And third: don't lose your identity to the marriage. Dr Timm says many people make the mistake of putting aside all their interests, friends, and values in order to be with their mate, and that can lead to depression and anger. Instead, Dr Timm says it's important for both husband and wife to have their own interests, friends and opinions.
It's a formula that's worked for the Fiedlers. "We just give each other room for our personalities and our own interest," Marge Fiedler told News 10, "but we share so many of the same interests."
For more information on how to have a healthy, successful marriage, got to www.healthymarriageinfo.org.