Category Archives: misconception

The Truth About Divorce

I’m going to lift your spirits…by talking about divorce.  Oh yes I am!

Let me ask you a question.  What percentage of marriages in the United States end in divorce?

I heard what most of you were thinking.  The commonly quoted statistic is 50%.  Based on that number anyone who gets married has a 50/50 chance of making it.  Flip a coin, heads or tails, half of you who are currently married are going to split up.  Based on the 50% statistic.

But is it true?

In a word, no.  Multiple studies have shown that the divorce rate in the United States has never hit the 50% mark.  In fact the highest rate ever actually calculated from raw numbers is 41% based on a New York Times article…and the rate has been declining since 1980.  But even that number isn’t truly accurate.  In fact according to initial research conducted in 2006 on first time marriages, “probably 20 to 25 percent have ended in divorce on average”.  This is from Shaunti Feldhahn and her husband Jeff who have written a book called The Good News About Marriage.  They spent several years pouring through the data related to marriage and divorce.  Apparently the 50% value came from projections based on how the divorce rate was increasing through the 60s and 70s but the 50% never happened.  It’s a myth.

In fact among all marriages for those who regularly attend church the rate is much lower, likely in the teens or single digits.  For couples who pray together frequently the rate is less than 1 in 10,000.

The problem isn’t just that there is a false statistic believed by many, perhaps most married people.  The problem is that believing a 50% divorce statistic leads to a sense of hopelessness.  The idea that no matter what we do then we still only have a 50/50 shot of making it.  But it is simply NOT TRUE.

If you are married or thinking about marriage then your chances of staying married, whether or not you are a Christian, are almost certainly above 60%.  If you are a Christian and so is your spouse then your odds are likely above 80%.  If you pray together regularly your odds are at LEAST 99.99%.  This is the truth!!!


If together you make a commitment to a life-long marriage, you center your relationship on God, you take advantage of resources to grow and nurture your relationship then you WILL have a lifelong marriage.  Furthermore if you know what love really is you can have an incredibly happy marriage.  If you want to improve martial happiness, just click through the HappierHusband archives on the right side of this page and enjoy!

Love you all!


What Is Love Anyway?

This is a longer post, but if you really want to know what love is and what it is NOT then please read on.

Recently someone I care about deeply was is a difficult place.  She turned to me (which is an honor) and asked me a couple of questions.  Let me set it up with a paraphrase of her part of the conversation:

“I read a lot of quotes about love, but what are they supposed to mean?  What does love truly mean from a man’s point of view?  In the beginning they tell you daily that they love you, that they want to spend the rest of their lives with you and that nothing matters but you.  However a few months or years down the road all of the affection and attention is gone.  Then they say that they love you, but are not IN love with you.  Does that mean it’s over?  That I need to face this painful reality?  Is it hopeless?

Following is my (edited) response

Wow. Those are big questions. I really should do a long blog post (or short eBook) about what love truly means. (that’s what you are all reading now :-))

First, most of us (guys and gals) most of the time use the word “love” incorrectly. We say, “I love ice cream” or “I love the Cardinals” when we really mean “I have a strong preference for ice cream” or “I prefer the Cardinals over the Cubs.” In this case it’s not “love” it is “prefer” or “really like”.

Second, there are two other common misuses of the word “love”. They are cases of lust or limerance (hang with me a moment friends). We all understand lust. It’s a strong desire for the physical attractiveness of another person. Lust happens more commonly in men than women (at least in my experience) but women are not immune.

The truly tricky one is something called “limerance”. This is a term referring to the chemical reactions in a someone’s brain when they first meet a new person to whom they are attracted. It’s often mixed in with lust, but it is more than just physical. Limerance is the exciting time when the other person can do no wrong, when you want to spend every waking moment with them, when you could be on the phone for hours. They have no flaws and everything they do is AMAZING! They are the perfect person to you and no amount of input from other family and friends can convince you otherwise. (Hence the old saying “love is blind”.) This is the classic “falling in love” stage. Every Hollywood romantic comedy is really all about limerance and so is every fairy tale that closes with, “and they lived happily ever after.”

Limerance is based on feelings and emotions that come from chemical interactions in the brain. Here is the secret very few know about the limerance or “falling in love” period. It has a scientifically proven and measureable lifetime. Limerance lasts, on average, 18-24 months. This is why couples “fall out of love” or say “I love you but I’m not IN love with you.” They have lost the head over heels, butterflies in your tummy, can’t wait to see you feelings. They had limerance, they probably also had lust, but they never had real love.

Here is the big difference…and it’s likely to be a shocker.

Love has nothing to do with feelings. Love is not an emotion.

Don’t get me wrong. Feelings can be the gateway to love. Most long-term happily married couples start out in limerance (and possibly lust). Sally and I were INTENSELY in limerance when we met. But not love. Not at first.

In fact I would go out on a limb to say almost NO couples start out in a state of real love. So, what characterizes the change from limerance to love? One word. Choice.

Love is a choice.

Love is a choice a person makes every day and many times a day. Love is a choice to serve the other person when you are tired, or frustrated, or angry or when you simply feel nothing. Love is the difference between doing what you feel at the time and doing what you committed to do at the altar. Love is acting by doing what you know is best for the other person more so than yourself. Love is a choice.

So when someone says to another person, “I’m not in love with you anymore” it means two things. 1) They likely don’t understand what real love is and never had it in the relationship and 2) They have chosen what THEY want rather than what the other person wants.

But THERE IS HOPE even in this situation. I’m a Christian, do you know why? Not because I deserved to be saved from my sins. Not a chance! Not because God FELT like He should save me. No, I am a Christian because Jesus, in LOVE, CHOSE to die on a cross for my sins. He chose to love me and I accepted that love and now I choose to love Him by serving Him in various ways. Love began with God.

Is it possible to “fall out of love”? No, because love is not a feeling, it is a choice. Is it possible to “fall out of limerance”? Absolutely…and it usually happens within 18-24 months. Couples will often stay together much longer out of obligation or fear. Years longer, in a miserable relationship either characterized by simmering anger and frustration or with no feeling, only deadness and more like roommates than a happy marriage.

Let me wrap this up on a happy note! Can a couple with no feelings, or feelings of anger ever get good feelings back? Yes, yes a thousand times yes!! It’s very simple. Choose to love. Choose to love by serving the other person, by saying kind and uplifting words, by physical touch, by small gifts, by simply spending time together in shared activity. Feelings follow actions and if we take the actions which characterize the choice of love then we WILL have feelings for the other person.

Oh boy, will we have feelings! Deeper, more powerful feelings of love than most have ever experienced! This is SO possible and unbelievably worth it. Sally and I learned these principles from a book we received early in our marriage. It is called The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. Pick up a copy and jump into it! If you’d like my take specifically on that book check out The Book That Started It All.

Now go out there and CHOOSE to love each other!

Love you all, truly I do…because I choose to do so.



First Place

In case you didn’t know it, I love my wife.  I love her dearly.  My life has been blessed beyond what I even truly understand because she said “Yes” when I asked her to marry me.  I don’t know what I would do without her by my side.  But she isn’t my everything.

Popular culture, movies, music, books and social media could easily lead me down this path.  I grew up in the 80s.  Take a look at a few of the song titles from that decade related to loving another person:

“Your Love is King” – Sade

“Endless Love” – Dianna Ross and Lionel Ritchie

“Up Where We Belong” – Jennifer Warnes and Joe Cocker

“All of My Heart” – ABC

“Saving All My Love for You” – Whitney Houston

This is a small sampling even from that 10 year period.  The story from culture is this: Find the right person, fall in love, get married, live happily ever after.  Seriously.  What a lie.  A LIE!

“You shall have no other gods before me.” – Exodus 20:3

I love my wife.  I love her dearly.  I never want to live without her and I know she feels the same way about me.  But is “Saving All My Love” for her the best plan for a long and happy marriage?  Nope.  You know what “Saving All My Love” for a person would eventually get me?  Disappointment, disillusionment, despair.  Why?  Because (like me) she is human.  We are imperfect.  So what is the true way to a happy marriage?

Fall in love with God, meet the right girl who is also in love with God, get married, live in the Spirit and be filled with the joy of the Lord in your marriage.  Oh and if you met the girl then fell in love with God that’s also good, as long as He gets first place.

I can only love her best when I love God most.  Love her, cherish her, encourage her, enjoy her company, sacrifice for her but do NOT worship her.  God is the ONLY object of my worship.

I love my wife.  I love her dearly.  But I love God more and worship only Him…and she is glad for that.




The Problem with (some) Marriage Advice

That must seem like an odd title…since it would seem that “Marriage Advice” is one of the primary themes of this blog.

I read a fair amount about marriage. In addition I hear various speakers express their marriage views.

Interestingly both Christian and secular authors and speakers often follow the same track. They espouse expectations of ‘normal’ married life based on ALL types of marriages. Basically averaging out every marriage, healthy or unhealthy and telling you that’s what you will get.

The mantra is that “all marriages go through certain stages” or “all marriages have great challenges” or even, “no marriage is ever truly happy for the long term.”

Whoa. If I were into that school of thought I would be depressed.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in basing my expectations of marriage on what someone else calls ‘normal’. I want extraordinary. I don’t want what everyone else has, I want what is POSSIBLE!

Matthew 19:26 says, Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

I want the best marriage!  It’s possible!  Do YOU want the best marriage?

Here is some safe advice. If you want the BEST possible marriage then seek out mentors who have what you want and emulate them…no matter what the ‘experts’ say.

There is truth in the statement, “You get what you expect to get.”  If you read books and articles about all of the problems and issues that are “normal” in marriage then you will believe that to be the case. Then you’ll see those issues. I promise. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy. But if you believe for something different then you’ll see what is NOT “normal”.

Your extraordinary marriage waits on the other side of your belief. You want it?  There are three steps:

1) Pray for it.

2) Believe for it.

3) Love for it.

You CAN have the best possible marriage…but only if you want it.

Go be happy!