These will probably continue to prevail as long as people who keep believing that they victims of a situation which they do not understand and often can’t control. When we know that many factors contribute to the marital success and the others which limit the chances, we also find that there is a web of myths entangling the facts.
“You will recognize Mr. or Ms. Right as soon as he or she comes along.”
Because mass media, particularly when aimed at the teenage market, actively reinforces the idea of “love at first sight,” people have become delusionary. It is the stuff of which teenage dreams are made, not to mention the dreams of the advertising executive. Sad fact is, as evidences suggest, that permanent relationships are not normally founded on that basis.
In one American research study involving 1000 engaged and 666 married couples, respondents were asked how soon they had felt a strong physical attraction for each other. Only 17 percent of men and 15 percent of women replied “immediately” or “within one or two days.” About 50 percent of the men and 58 percent of the women said that strong physical attraction developed two months or longer after their first meeting.
“May-December marriages don’t work.”
The problems aroused by large age gap between husband and wife have been thoroughly explored in novels and films. “Older woman—younger man” marriages have more problems than “older man—younger woman” ones, probably partly because they are less acceptable to society. People have a tendency to view a “cradle snatcher” more critically than a “sugar daddy.” With today’s society, overall, the large age gaps between couples do not appear to affect the marital stability to any significant extent. Studies have shown that there are indeed happy marriages with wives who were from four to ten years older than their husbands in the same way that there are very happy husbands whose wives are twelve or more years younger.
“Mixed marriages are doomed to failure.”
Up to now, many people still think that mixed marriages are “not natural.” It is evident that genuine differences in social background and future expectations place extra stress on a marriage between people of different social classes. The same can be said of marriages with different races or religions. Researches show that marriages between people of different religious beliefs encounter more difficulties than do those between members of the same faith, with a greater subsequent rate of breakdown. It is surprising to note that interracial marriages have a significantly higher success rate than interreligious ones. We now live in a global society where we see that some interracial marriages are even stronger than the average. This probably reflects the tremendous determination to succeed against all odds that characterizes so many interracial marriages.
A mixed marriage is by no means doomed as long as both partners are aware of their differences and have come to terms with the reality of the situation as far as possible before marriage. However much the couple is determined to make a success of their marriage, their parents and relatives may not provide much encouragement. Problems are often felt at most when children first arrive. Some may say that when more challenges are faced in a mixed marriage, the potential rewards may often be greater. Individual differences can offer variety and excitement in what might otherwise have been a monochrome relationship.
“If you can’t make your first marriage work, you can’t expect your second marriage to work either.”
There is considerable argument over the chances of success of a remarriage. The controversy lies in the definition of what marital success is. Few people would say that a marriage is successful as long as it does not end in divorce. Many people fail to recognize areas of breakdown in a marriage –for instance, where people continue to live together, but unhappily so. This alone indicates marital breakdown from within.
It is important to bear a number of points in mind when considering divorce statistics. Some studies suggest that certain people are “divorce-prone” while some people may be unwilling to accept a second-hand relationship. With these extreme cases, the chances of breakdown will be greater.
It is important to be true to one’s self and know the goals for a relationship before getting into another one again. There may be more factors involved and more challenges to be met in a remarriage, but the lessons learned from the previous marriage will help a person mature emotionally. The willingness to adjust to these factors in order for the relationship to succeed may probably make a richer and more satisfying subsequent marriage than other mediocre ones which appear to undergo no difficulties.