Challenges to Engagement
By Dave Pipitone
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Your engagement relationship is a special time that you want to protect and grow. The ultimate goal of your engagement is to develop the roots to build a lasting marriage.
There are many challenges that can stress and pull a lasting marriage apart during this current time in history. Rutgers University released its 2007 report, The National Marriage Project: State of Our Unions. According to the report, divorce rates are high - around 50% or half of all marriages end in divorce.
Twenty percent of first marriages end within the first five years. Some of the factors that help prevent divorce include marrying at an older age, having higher income or more education, absence of divorce in your family of origin, and having a religious affiliation.
You can't change your past. You are engaged now. One thing that you can control is how you use a religious affiliation to relate to each other.
According to the Rutgers report, things have changed in what people are looking for in a marriage. At one time, marriage was a form of survival for the human race. Today, men and women look at marriage as the primary place for intimacy, friendship and companionship.
There are many reasons why what seems like a magical engaged relationship can turn sour after marriage. The average American engagement period lasts 14 months. During that time, relationship issues surface that may or may not be addressed. Common causes of relationship breakdown include lack of communication, inability to accept the other person as she or he is, or unrealistic expectations.
Have you experienced any of these? We did during our engagement period and even our marriage. No one told us what we are going to tell you: God believes in you; God builds up the hope for a better future with you; God loves you.
Talking with each other about your feelings, your needs and your expectations is a good way to expand your friendship and engagement. Think of how your relationship has grown since you first met. Recall your first date. The time when you met each other's family. Your first kiss and the first time you held hands. The first time you said, "I love you."
Each moment was progressive. That means, you had to take a first step before you could take a second and more meaningful one. As you progress in your engagement, you are actively growing and protecting your relationship, so you can have a lasting marriage.