Strengthening marriages in a skeptical culture: issues and opportunities.
Questions are answered in relationship to Scott Stanley's work in marriage education and in relationship to a variety of sociocultural so·ci·o·cul·tur·al
Of or involving both social and cultural factors.
soci·o·cul factors concerning the condition and treatment of marriage issues in contemporary society, including current trends for public sector efforts to strengthen marriages in the U.S. The PREP and Christian PREP approach to marital education is discussed. In addition, recommendations are made for marital interventions in general to local community and church leaders as well as marital therapists.
Can you briefly describe what kind of work you are currently doing in support of Christian marriages?
I am involved in a great many things that have bearing on this. Many are more in the "secular" world, as I am a big believer in the importance of Christians being involved in public policy discussions, research, and planning. I continue to conduct research on the prevention of marital distress and divorce with Howard Markman at the University of Denver Background and rankings
The University was founded in 1864 as Colorado Seminary by John Evans, the former Territorial Governor of Colorado, who had been appointed by US President Abraham Lincoln. , and have been very engaged for some time in research on commitment theory and dynamics. These lines of research have been particularly fruitful in understanding things like cohabitation A living arrangement in which an unmarried couple lives together in a long-term relationship that resembles a marriage.
Couples cohabit, rather than marry, for a variety of reasons. They may want to test their compatibility before they commit to a legal union. vs. marriage, and why marriage might play a particularly important role in how men treat women. I am also one of two senior consultants to the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative, which, in my view, is the most sweeping, strategic effort being conducted by any state in the nation at this time when it comes to public policy initiatives on behalf of marriage. As part of that work, the public domain efforts have a strong engagement with the private domain of the faith community in Oklahoma. I am often talking to Noun 1. talking to - a lengthy rebuke; "a good lecture was my father's idea of discipline"; "the teacher gave him a talking to"
rebuke, reprehension, reprimand, reproof, reproval - an act or expression of criticism and censure; "he had to and advising people on both sides of that fence in Verb 1. fence in - enclose with a fence; "we fenced in our yard"
inclose, shut in, close in, enclose - surround completely; "Darkness enclosed him"; "They closed in the porch with a fence"
2. Oklahoma and around the nation.
A number of dangers to the institution of marriage have been proposed including cohabitation, increased religious heterogeneity het·er·o·ge·ne·i·ty
The quality or state of being heterogeneous.
the state of being heterogeneous. , dual career issues, modern mobility, increases in the length of life and others. Over the next decade, what do you believe will be the greatest risks to the institution of marriage?
Apathy apathy /ap·a·thy/ (ap´ah-the) lack of feeling or emotion; indifference.apathet´ic
Lack of interest, concern, or emotion; indifference. and fear. People have begun to shy away from Verb 1. shy away from - avoid having to deal with some unpleasant task; "I shy away from this task"
avoid - stay clear from; keep away from; keep out of the way of someone or something; "Her former friends now avoid her" marriage--not because they do not desire it or seek it, but because they fear that it is not really possible to have a lasting, healthy, and satisfying marriage. Those currently studying the youngest generation say that they have an interesting combination of conservatism about marriage and family, but with a loss of confidence about the ability of any couple to make marriage work as a life-long union. Unfortunately, I think the church has not done nearly enough to take the lead in the culture to (a) assert that God created the desire for marriages that last (which most people seem to have), and (b) to present comprehensive support for people through the life-cycle for building and sustaining strong marriages. The good news is that churches seem to be putting greater emphasis on providing premarital education. This is one key area where the church is in the best possible position to do solid prevention work because so many couples seek faith institutions at the point they seek to become married (Stanley, Markman, St. Peters, & Leber, 1995). With its institutional base, moral perspective, and contact with couples and families at critical times, the church can play a major role in any revival of a culture that broadly supports marriages of quality and stability.
Follow up: What do you believe is the cause of high levels of divorce in the Christian community today?
I think about this in two ways. For one thing, the church has received a bum 1. bum - To make highly efficient, either in time or space, often at the expense of clarity. "I managed to bum three more instructions out of that code." "I spent half the night bumming the interrupt code. rap related to recent stories about high rates of divorce in the Bible belt Bible belt
Those sections of the United States, especially in the South and Middle West, where Protestant fundamentalism is widely practiced.
Bible belt and/or conservative religious groups. Those findings gained force in the media via a release from the Barna organization. The data as far as they were presented were certainly accurate. However, the data led people to the wrong conclusions in giving the impression that this is evidence of hypocrisy Hypocrisy
See also Pretension.
judged most social behavior as hypocritical. [Fr. Lit.: Le Misanthrope]
self-righteous abbot of the Capuchins at Madrid. [Br. Lit. about marriage within the community of faith (especially, conservative faith). In actuality ac·tu·al·i·ty
n. pl. ac·tu·al·i·ties
1. The state or fact of being actual; reality. See Synonyms at existence.
2. Actual conditions or facts. Often used in the plural. , those kinds of findings have been around for decades, and they are nearly entirely driven by demographic factors such as young age at marriage and poverty (that co-occur in the Bible belt at higher rates) rather than the ways in which faith and practice affect marriage (for example, see Call & Heaton, 1997, about the importance of the demographic variables compared to the religious variables).
The data are quite consistent and clear that people who are more religious (I'm speaking now purely as a researcher rather than using theological terms) tend to have slightly more stable and happy marriages. The closer you get to what people actually practice, the closer you get to much larger effects. In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , couples who really practice their faith together, and who have faith that supports the special nature of marriage, are likely to be doing quite significantly better in their marriages. I highly recommend Mahoney et al. (1999) on this score, as this is the single best study ever in this area. We recently tested the study's findings explicitly in a large, very well constructed survey in the state of Oklahoma and found that religious faith--and especially attendance--were significantly related to strength of marriages, and in the expected directions, contrary to the impressions given in the media about divorce rates in conservative groups and in the Bible Belt Johnson et al., 2002; available online at http://www.OKmarriage.org).
Having said all that, I think the divorce rate in the Christian community is quite high (even if not because of faith, as the media suggested). This is most likely because Christians are highly affected by the broader culture in what they think and how they behave. The dominant culture no longer has as broad of support for marital longevity longevity (lŏnjĕv`ĭtē), term denoting the length or duration of the life of an animal or plant, often used to indicate an unusually long life. , and Christians' behavior often mirrors that of the dominant culture. Clergy have become intimidated in·tim·i·date
tr.v. in·tim·i·dat·ed, in·tim·i·dat·ing, in·tim·i·dates
1. To make timid; fill with fear.
2. To coerce or inhibit by or as if by threats. about preaching and teaching related to marriage and other family matters due to concerns about criticism from their flocks. I think the church, broadly speaking Adv. 1. broadly speaking - without regard to specific details or exceptions; "he interprets the law broadly"
broadly, generally, loosely , could do a far better job of putting marriage into a prominent place when it comes to preaching, programming, and public discourse about what really matters most in life. It seems to have been rather important to God in his design.
David Blankenhorn recently suggested that a shift in how partners see marriage has occurred. He noted that couples today often see the partners as bigger than the marriage. In the past, partners saw the marriage, and faith or community-based commitments to marriage, as bigger than themselves. What are the consequences of this shift in values away from faith or community-based covenants?
Rampant "me-ism." I think David Blankenhorn has noticed something profoundly important here. We live in a culture that thrives on messages dominated by individual needs and concerns. As part of this, people no longer see their vow to their mate as part of a commitment to the community, but as more of the nature of an agreement between two consenting parties (Blankenhorn, 1997). Of all institutions, part of the core teaching of the church is that the coming together of the community (two in marriage, individuals in the body of Christ
The Body of Christ is a term used by Christians to describe believers in Christ. Jesus Christ is seen as the "head" of the body, which is the church. , etc.) has the power to trump break-downs in relationships caused by a focus on me vs. you 'Me Vs. You' was a demo recorded by the band Reuben in 1998 back when they were known as Angel. This is their first ever recording, done when the band were very young.
It was available on cassette tape, and only sold at shows, thus it is very hard to get hold of and not found on . It is remarkable to me that the apostle apostle (əpŏs`əl) [Gr.,=envoy], one of the prime missionaries of Christianity. The apostles of the first rank are saints Peter, Andrew, James (the Greater), John, Thomas, James (the Less), Jude (or Thaddaeus), Philip, Bartholomew, Paul is Paul I, 1754–1801, czar of Russia (1796–1801), son and successor of Catherine II. His mother disliked him intensely and sought on several occasions to change the succession to his disadvantage. the writer in the New Testament who writes the most text that emphasizes individual roles and differences while also writing in the most sweeping terms about the power of oneness to trump divisions. For example, Galatians 3:28 (English Standard Version The English Standard Version (ESV) is an English translation of the Bible. The first edition was published in 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers, which also owns the copyright to the text. ) says, "There is neither Jew Jew
Any person whose religion is Judaism. In a wider sense the term refers to any member of a worldwide ethnic and cultural group descended from the ancient Hebrews who traditionally practiced the Jewish religion. nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." This portrays a very powerful point about what makes for truly healthy and strong churches and marriages: a strength and respect for the union itself as an identity that trumps trump 1
a. A suit in card games that outranks all other suits for the duration of a hand. Often used in the plural.
b. A card of such a suit.
c. A trump card.
2. the focus on the individual. We in the church have much work to do in this regard, but we are also given a very powerful theology to help guide us.
The Bush administration, under Wade Horn, is searching for ways to support marriages in America today. Marriage interventionists have tried to assist marriages in a variety of ways including church-based marriage enrichment enrichment Food industry The addition of vitamins or minerals to a food–eg, wheat, which may have been lost during processing. See White flour; Cf Whole grains. , pastoral counseling Pastoral counseling is a branch of counseling in which ordained ministers, rabbis, priests and others provide therapy services. Practitioners in the United States are subject to the standards of the American Association of Pastoral Counseling and many are either licensed as a LPC , professional counseling, marriage mentoring, and pre-marital counseling. If you could make a recommendation to Wade Horn today, what would you recommend his office attempt to make a difference in marriages?
When it comes to the faith community, all of the things you just mentioned. Clearly, this administration is comfortable supporting efforts in both the public and private sectors to strengthen marriage. While the efforts on the latter have to necessarily be carefully thought through and circumspect cir·cum·spect
Heedful of circumstances and potential consequences; prudent.
[Middle English, from Latin circumspectus, past participle of circumspicere, to take heed : , there is nevertheless an important role for collaboration between these two sectors in accomplishing good things for more people. In Oklahoma, for example, they are doing tremendous things through both sectors, and the administration through Wade Horn and his colleagues at the Administration for Children and Families The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It is headed by the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, which from 2001 to 2007 was Dr. Wade F. Horn. (ACF (Advanced Communications Function) An earlier official product line name for IBM SNA programs, such as VTAM (ACF/VTAM) and NCP (ACF/NCP).
ACF - Advanced Communications Function ) are very aware of the efforts in that state. Again, I would refer people to the website for the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative to get a sense for the range of things being attempted. Among other things, they have hundreds of clergy signed on to a covenant about marriage and preparation for marriage. They also had Les and Leslie Parrott in the state for an entire year working closely in various groups and sectors to help support the efforts underway in that state, including the promotion of mentoring programs.
This question is not hypothetical for me, since I actually do give ideas and advice to Wade Horn and others within ACF. ACF plays such a crucial role in all the public sector efforts because ACF is over programs such as TANF TANF Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (previously known as AFDC) (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families; what used to be Welfare) and Head Start--programs that have immense impacts on families. As I see it, there are many crucial elements to turning the direction of American culture when it comes to the growing ambivalence ambivalence (ămbĭv`ələns), coexistence of two opposing drives, desires, feelings, or emotions toward the same person, object, or goal. The ambivalent person may be unaware of either of the opposing wishes. and disregard of marriage:
1. As Wade Horn has noted, the emphasis at least in policy should be on those who choose marriage for themselves, not in forcing or coercing anyone to become married who does not desire marriage. Policies (and I am not aware of anyone suggesting such things, anyway) that coerce people with regard to marriage are nonstarters.
2. Fortunately, if there is any fundamentally good news here, it's simply that most people desire lasting and healthy marriages. Recent research shows this to be true even among the "Fragile Families" where there is poverty and out-of-wedlock births among the young (McClanahan, Garfinkel, & Mincy, 2001)--a group that has been previously written off as just not being interested in marriage. Hence, we are not talking here about forcing something on people that they do not want. Most people want marriages to last, and public and private (and especially faith sector) involvements can work in varying ways to help more couples achieve such goals. But it's become much harder for the average couple (and nearly impossible for disadvantaged couples) to enter into and preserve solid marriages, and that is the way to think about the opportunity before us in America today.
3. The government in particular at various levels should look closely for policies that punish marriage. One of the best things that is happening right now is that thoughtful policy experts are examining such policies with an eye to adjusting the way they currently work so that they no longer punish marriage. Case in point: most low income people believe that they would lose government assistance of varying kinds if they were to marry (Johnson et al., 2002). For example, for many poor women, marrying the father of their child would mean their child no longer has access to medical care through Medicaid. It is not good public policy that what they fear is exactly what will happen for many. Some policy experts have suggested things like disregarding the income of the spouse making less money when calculating income for determination of eligibility for government assistance-at least for a time while a couple get on its feet financially. These are complex policies with many ramifications ramifications npl → Auswirkungen pl , so it will take some time and effort for such things to change.
4. I think public and private sectors can do more to provide plausible relationship and marriage education resources to aid people in their goal to build marriages that last. The simple fact is that churches and other institutions can reach many people that government agencies never see, and government agencies can reach many people that the church may never reach (e.g., through TANF, Head Start, High School curricula, etc.). The church could take a leading role in reaching those it has contact with, but it's becoming clear to me that, whether or not churches do this on a broad basis, some key government institutions will. I personally believe that there is merit in many kinds of marriage education efforts. I also believe that, in general, the best practices in this area are those that (Stanley, 2001):
a. Are empirically informed, meaning they include information that is based on solid research about such things as risk factors for distress and divorce.
b. Are empirically tested.
c. Are regularly updated based on ongoing research.
I think the pre-eminent pre·em·i·nent or pre-em·i·nent
Superior to or notable above all others; outstanding. See Synonyms at dominant, noted.
[Middle English, from Latin prae source of truth is revelation, not research, so research should be carefully examined in light of revealed truth. However, I think it is also true that there is a striking and clear overlap between teachings in scripture and solid marital and family research. There are no significant conflicts in my view. Yet, research can often shed light on things in more detail than what religious leaders may have otherwise been able to speak to. More importantly, research sometimes points to very important dimensions that are heavily emphasized in scripture, but where those dimensions have, perhaps, not received as much attention from the church as the range and sweep of passages warranted. For example, scripture is replete re·plete
1. Abundantly supplied; abounding: a stream replete with trout; an apartment replete with Empire furniture.
2. Filled to satiation; gorged.
3. with warnings and admonitions about how we talk and think about others (Proverbs Proverbs, book of the Bible. It is a collection of sayings, many of them moral maxims, in no special order. The teaching is of a practical nature; it does not dwell on the salvation-historical traditions of Israel, but is individual and universal based on the and the Sermon on the Mount Sermon on the Mount
Biblical collection of religious teachings and ethical sayings attributed to Jesus, as reported in the Gospel of St. Matthew. The sermon was addressed to disciples and a large crowd of listeners to guide them in a life of discipline based on a new law of are just two key examples). Three decades of research reinforces how crucial these factors are in all kinds of relationships, and therefore, especially in marriage (Karney & Bradbury, 1995). Not only are negative patterns of interaction that are emphasized heavily in scripture predictive of divorce risk, they are also a prime factor in putting children at increased risk for all kinds of negative outcomes in life. Yet, I do not think that the church has placed as much emphasis on these matters as both scripture and research warrant.
Followup: What should churches be doing to support marriages in their congregation and community?
I think churches could do more in terms of teaching about marriage, leading discussions about the state of marriage in our culture, helping couples come together in small groups that are partly designed to support the deepening deep·en
tr. & intr.v. deep·ened, deep·en·ing, deep·ens
To make or become deep or deeper.
Noun 1. deepening - a process of becoming deeper and more profound of their marriages, promoting mentoring models, and generally looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. ways to come along side and support couples and families at all major crucial developmental stages. This latter point relates to what may be the single greatest strength of what churches can do because of the unique positions that faith institutions have in the lives of people during times of major life transitions (e.g., marriage, birth, maturation maturation /mat·u·ra·tion/ (mach-u-ra´shun)
1. the process of becoming mature.
2. attainment of emotional and intellectual maturity.
3. of children spiritually and educationally, and death). Many experts have thought that reaching people at times of transition is key for doing prevention work, and the church is in the catbird seat catbird seat
A position of power or prominence. to have access in the lives of people at crucial junctures in life. Further, when the work is well done, it very likely increases the likelihood that couples will seek other services sooner if they start to falter (Schumm et al., 2000).
John Gottman John Gottman, Ph.D. is known for his work on marital stability and relationship analysis through direct observations. The lessons learned from this work represent a partial basis for the relationship counseling movement which is based on specific training and education of behaviors has proposed that training couples in communication skills is not as effective as marriage interventionists have believed. For example, he found that "master" couples who have demonstrated the ability to create a strong marriage only use the skill 4% of the time. Consequently, there is a debate among marriage interventionists about the utility and efficacy of communication skills training. Where do you fall on the current issue?
Obviously, I have strong views on this matter. Before going into my views, it is worth noting that there is far more agreement between our camps than disagreement. Of course, disagreements get more attention because they tend to be more interesting. But they are not always more informative or useful.
1. We agree on the importance of research informing what we do with couples.
2. We agree on the crucial role of certain kinds of negative patterns of thinking and interacting that undermine marriages over time.
3. More recently, you will note an interesting convergence in our work in that both camps have been emphasizing for some time the importance of both handling the negative side better, but also of helping couples develop and maintain friendship, companionship companionship
the faculty possessed by most truly domesticated animals. They are social creatures and have a great need for the companionship of other animals. Animals in groups are quieter and more productive as a rule. , and vision. We may use different terms and have different approaches, but these twin forces dominate both models in their current expressions (Gottman, Ryan, Carrere, & Erley, 2002; Markman, Stanley, & Blumberg, 2001; Stanley, Trathen, McCain, & Bryan, 1998).
So, on the matter of skills training, I led the critique of his major paper that generated a good deal of controversy on this subject. This is a paper a reader might wish access if he or she is interested in a serious discussion of the methodological limitations of the work that began that debate (Stanley, Bradbury, & Markman, 2000). It would be hard in this venue to give adequate attention to the scientific issues on this matter, but I will highlight a few.
First, the matter highlighted with significant clarity the key role that measurement and design play in research; that what scientists measure, what they call what they measure, and what interpretations they make based on those factors is very important. Here is one example. The same study that launched the idea that some kinds of skill training should be "abandoned" (their word) also concluded that anger was irrelevant in understanding or helping how couples did over time. Does any reader seriously believe that anger does not matter in marriage? I do not think even Gottman's team believes some of the implications one would get from a cursory cur·so·ry
Performed with haste and scant attention to detail: a cursory glance at the headlines.
[Late Latin curs read of that paper. This all further highlights the fact that you cannot properly interpret such statements without looking carefully and slowly at what the researchers actually did and how things were labeled.
Second, and far more importantly, regardless of issues about how and when and if couples use specific skills routinely following training, I think the evidence is fairly overwhelming that having couples work hard on such skills training during some key period of time (such as preparation for marriage) causes lasting changes in interaction for the average couple--and lasting changes on patterns of negative interaction that put couples and children at risk for poor outcomes in life (for example, see these studies or discussions: Giblin, Sprenkle, & Sheehan, 1985; Hahlweg, Markman, Thurmaier, Engl, & Eckcrt, 1998; Stanley, 2001; Stanley et al., 2001). Studies of this sort suggest that people benefit from active skills training. If so, whether they regularly formally engage specific skills is not really the most important question. Keep in mind that the Gottman team assertion was based on research that did not include any training or an outcome research component. It was a design merely looking for naturally occurring active listening Active listening is an intent to "listen for meaning", in which the listener checks with the speaker to see that a statement has been correctly heard and understood. The goal of active listening is to improve mutual understanding. .
My point is this: Even if it were eventually concluded that most couples do not formally use skills as taught in relationship education programs, this is a different question than whether or not there are lasting benefits for marry couples from having practiced such techniques. Take our Speaker-Listener Technique, for example. When couples practice it, they are practicing behaviors that have much larger meanings: turn-taking, going slowly and more carefully when talking about something difficult, learning to listen to the other instead of preparing a rebuttal rebuttal n. evidence introduced to counter, disprove or contradict the opposition's evidence or a presumption, or responsive legal argument. when the other has the floor, and so forth. When couples practice such things, they are not just learning skills. They are also learning that each partner is someone with a different and valid viewpoint that is worthy of respect. I think a fairly strong argument can be made for the beneficial aspects of helping couples learn such important messages about the nature of communication with loved ones loved ones npl → seres mpl queridos
loved ones npl → proches mpl et amis chers
loved ones love npl (Lyster, 1998)--and having them learn such things behaviorally.
Third, and perhaps most important, this particular debate has been unhelpful in another major respect. It focused so much attention on one aspect of well conceived marital education when there has been a great deal of research on the efforts to help couples lower known risk factors related to how they handle their differences and negativity. Different couples will derive differing benefits from different aspects of programs--provided that an educational program or therapy model includes attention to various elements. While our program, PREP, is perhaps best known for the skills training aspects, it also includes modules on friendship, commitment, forgiveness, spiritual beliefs and practices, and expectation clarification. Some couples do not need help with skills. Some, even if they do, will respond more strongly to the information and suggestions about friendship or commitment.
In our ongoing premarital research, couples report the single most helpful aspect of the experience to be the Speaker/Listener Technique training. Eighty percent (80%) rate that as the most helpful element (Stanley et al., 2001). Conversely con·verse 1
intr.v. con·versed, con·vers·ing, con·vers·es
1. To engage in a spoken exchange of thoughts, ideas, or feelings; talk. See Synonyms at speak.
2. , in the program evaluation Program evaluation is a formalized approach to studying and assessing projects, policies and program and determining if they 'work'. Program evaluation is used in government and the private sector and it's taught in numerous universities. we are conducting for the U.S. Army, the elements that the young married couples say impacted them most were messages related to commitment, investment in the relationship, and the preservation and protection of friendship (Stanley, Markman, Saiz, Schumm, Bloomstrom & Bailey, 2002). Couples at differing points in their development, or in differing contexts, may respond more strongly to different elements of what a provider has to offer. If a couple can talk safely, openly, and clearly about sensitive matters affecting their relationship, they likely do not need skills training. How many couples can do this?
In a context such as therapy, the counselor can tailor what they teach to the specific needs and goals of the couple in front of them. Nevertheless, it remains true that the single clearest finding from many outcomes studies is that we can teach couples how to interact less negatively--and this is a very important outcome. But even it may contain complexities we need to resolve over time. There are some puzzling findings in a few studies suggesting that, for some women, being less negative is only better for the marriage in the short run, and not the long run. It will likely take a decade for researchers to understand this finding better. In the meantime Adv. 1. in the meantime - during the intervening time; "meanwhile I will not think about the problem"; "meantime he was attentive to his other interests"; "in the meantime the police were notified"
meantime, meanwhile , it makes a great example of how interventions can be informed by ongoing research: If you do skills training with couples designed to interrupt and reduce negative patterns of interaction associated with increased risks of divorce, you want to make sure that women are understanding that the advice is to learn to raise issues constructively, not to be simply "nice." Sometimes, just being nice does not cut it (see Exodus 4:24-26 for a potent little story about a bold female saving her husband's life in a pretty confrontive manner). Male or female, people need to bring up important concerns with their mates, and we can all help more couples to be able to do this in ways that strengthen rather than tear down the relationship.
Explain to the readers how you integrate your faith/theology with your approach to marital intervention. How do you approach marital interventions and marital research in respect to your faith?
This has been one of the great delights of my professional life. I get deep satisfaction looking at the sweep and nuances of what scripture teaches and thinking about how those things related to the growing body of sound marital research. The parallels are amazing a·maze
v. a·mazed, a·maz·ing, a·maz·es
1. To affect with great wonder; astonish. See Synonyms at surprise.
2. Obsolete To bewilder; perplex.
v.intr. , and each source has the potential to bring new light to an aspect of the other. For example, it is now a well replicated finding in commitment research that people who are more dedicated to their mates think less seriously and less often about what it would be like to be with someone else (Johnson & Rusbult, 1989; Stanley & Markman, 1992). It was because of that research finding that I began studying Malachi 2:15-16. This passage is noted for the quote of God saying he hates divorce-not divorced people, by the way. Not meaning to get into any complex teachings on divorce here, the point I call attention to is the verse before that famous one, verse 15. In it, it says this (NIV NIV New International Version (of the Bible)
NIV Non-Immigrant Visa
NIV No Income Verification (loan)
NIV Non Invasive Ventilation
NIV No Innocent Victim (band) ):
 Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly god·ly
adj. god·li·er, god·li·est
1. Having great reverence for God; pious.
god offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.
 'I hate divorce,' says the Lord God of Israel, 'and I hate a man's covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,' says the Lord Almighty.
So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.
The word "guard" here is the Hebrew word shamar. Shamar is the word for hedge. This knowledge combined with the clear research findings yields a deeper nuance nu·ance
1. A subtle or slight degree of difference, as in meaning, feeling, or tone; a gradation.
2. Expression or appreciation of subtle shades of meaning, feeling, or tone: to this passage that essentially calls us to put a hedge of protection around our commitment in marriage. How we think about and handle alternatives to the path we chose is a crucial element of how couples do over time. Scripture points to this and research highlights it, with the combination of the two leading to a richer, more powerful teaching.
That is but one example among many. Believing that integration can be an enriching experience both for ourselves as well as what we have to teach others, I should also point out that I think working in environments where integrated materials or teachings are not appropriate (or where they would not be well received) can also be very worthwhile. I believe that even in a completely secular setting, helping more couples to build stable and healthy marriages is a good goal. It is one form of doing good to one's neighbor, and it can also be seen as one important element in many overall efforts that give underlying strength to a culture. I believe that this, in turn, ultimately allows the church a better basis to reach people on the spiritual level. When a society is fragmenting and falling into chaos, the opportunities for sharing the gospel are lessened less·en
v. less·ened, less·en·ing, less·ens
1. To make less; reduce.
2. Archaic To make little of; belittle.
To become less; decrease. (you can see this thinking in the flow of 1 Timothy 2:1-5). Hence, I am pleased to work with Christians, and I am equally pleased to work in various ways with people who do not share our faith.
Empirical study of Christian marriage and religious marital interventions is seriously lacking. In your opinion, what are the most important studies that need to be conducted to advance our understanding of Christian marriages and Christian marriage interventions?
I have a pretty short list in answer to this question. I would like to see more research in two specific areas: (a) research to shed more light on the ways in which various materials used in church or other faith-related contexts affect couples (more outcome research), and (b) research that sheds more fight on the various ways that couples can develop and deepen deep·en
tr. & intr.v. deep·ened, deep·en·ing, deep·ens
To make or become deep or deeper.
to make or become deeper or more intense
Verb 1. spiritual connection and oneness. I'm quite sure that there are a diverse number of ways couples build great, spiritually connected marriages. Research on this could be used to give other couples more ideas that they may want to pursue.
If you were to give advice to someone who is training to work with marriages, what is the key piece of advice you would like to share?
Be willing to learn from many sources. Give pre-eminence to your faith and teachings, but also look at what others think. Most of us tend to be most comfortable being among people who already think like we do. Broaden your horizons and deepen your connections. I have learned a great deal from people who do not believe many things that I believe about the nature of our world. I think that building such a breadth of relationships is a very Christ-like thing to be doing in this life.
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a chronological study in epidemiology which attempts to establish a relationship between an antecedent cause and a subsequent effect. See also cohort study. . Journal of Family Psychology, 12, 543-556.
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Johnson, C. A., Stanley, S. M., Glenn, N. D., Amato, P. A., Nock nock
1. The groove at either end of a bow for holding the bowstring.
2. The notch in the end of an arrow that fits on the bowstring.
tr.v. nocked, nock·ing, nocks
1. , S. L., Markman, H. J., et al. (2002). Marriage in Oklahoma: 2001 baseline statewide survey on marriage and divorce. (S02096 OKDHS OKDHS Oklahoma Department of Human Services ). Oklahoma City Oklahoma City (1990 pop. 444,719), state capital, and seat of Oklahoma co., central Okla., on the North Canadian River; inc. 1890. The state's largest city, it is an important livestock market, a wholesale, distribution, industrial, and financial center, and a farm , OK: Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
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Lyster, R (1998). Negotiation of form, recasts, and explicit correction in relation to error types and learner repair in immersion immersion /im·mer·sion/ (i-mer´zhun)
1. the plunging of a body into a liquid.
2. the use of the microscope with the object and object glass both covered with a liquid. classrooms. Language Learning, 48(2), 183-218.
Mahoney, A., Pargament, K.I., Jewell, T., Swank, A.B., Scott, E., Emery emery: see corundum.
Granular rock consisting of a mixture of the mineral corundum (aluminum oxide, Al2O3) and iron oxides such as magnetite (Fe3O4) or hematite (Fe2O3). , E., et al. (1999). Marriage and the spiritual realm: The role of proximal proximal /prox·i·mal/ (-mil) nearest to a point of reference, as to a center or median line or to the point of attachment or origin.
adj. and distal distal /dis·tal/ (-t'l) remote; farther from any point of reference.
1. Anatomically located far from a point of reference, such as an origin or a point of attachment. religious constructs in marital functioning. Journal of Family Psychology, 13 (3), 321-338.
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A British and American revision of the King James Version of the Bible, completed in 1885.
Noun . San Francisco San Francisco (săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden : Jossey-Bass, Inc.
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STANLEY, SCOTT M. Address: Department of Psychology, Frontier Hall, University of Denver, Denver, CO 80208. Title: Co-Director, Center for Marital and Family Studies. Specializations: Marital research, commitment, prevention of marital distress, risk factors for divorce and distress.
Correspondence concerning this article may be addressed via Email to Scott Stanley, email@example.com