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Do You Have a High Priority Marriage?

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Rev. Fr. Charles Joanides, Ph.D., LMFT

I’m certain you’re aware that a high percentage of marriages in our society are failing. Some argue that this percentage is as high as 50%. Others maintain that the divorce rate has leveled off and is declining. They would maintain that the rate is around 40%. And still others are arguing that it’s slightly lower.

Whatever the percentage, I’m sure most of you would agree that whether it’s 50% or 40% or less, the truth is that far too many marriages are failing today.

I could go on and on reciting similar statistics, but I don’t believe this is necessary since I suspect most of you already know that we live in a society that not only condones divorce, but also views it as a solution to marital conflict. In other words, we live in a divorce culture.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not suggesting that there aren’t some good reasons why people divorce, because I’ve counseled enough couples, and been around long enough to know that there are good reasons why people divorce. Nor am I somehow subtly bad mouthing single parents and divorced persons, for God knows they don’t need to be further victimized.

By offering you these statistics, what I’d really like to get you to focus on is the fact that we live in a divorce culture, and spouses and couples can’t take their marriages for granted, because all marriages, without exception, are vulnerable in our divorce culture.

In addition to being an ordained Orthodox priest, I’m also a marital therapist who has had numerous conflicted couples come into his office. And while I tried understanding their story, at some point a few disgruntled, disillusioned spouses have shook their heads and wondered “what exactly happened, and how things got so bad, so quickly between them.”

The Church has, from its inception, taught us that we need to attend to our marriages and not take them for granted. Then again, recent research studies have validated what the church has taught for centuries.

In particular, recent studies indicate that spouses and couples who attend to their marriages are more likely to report being healthier, happier, more successful, and yes, more Christ-centered. Moreover, children from these types of stable, Christ-centered marriages are less likely to engage in destructive delinquent behavior, are more likely to be better students, better citizens and more likely to have a Christian foundation.

All of which means, that if you take care of your marriage, your marriage will have a positive impact on you, your spouse, your family and children.

So, back to my initial question: Do you have a high priority marriage?

Is it way up high on your priority list or barely visible on the radar screen?

If your marriage is high on your priority list, then may our Lord help you keep it high up on your priority list. If, on the other hand, you don’t have such a marriage, then I urge you to turn to God and ask Him to help you make some adjustments so that your marriage appears high on your priority list – way up high.

As I inferred above, I’ve worked with couples as a priest and therapist for over 25 years. During this time, I’ve come to realize that all couples – without exception – can do a better job at attending to their marriages’ needs – especially in the divorce society in which we live.

And finally, if you have questions or concerns regarding anything that I’ve written, then I would urge you to consider reading my latest book entitled, Attending to Your Marriage. Order information in located in several pages in this Web site. You might also E-mail at for a second opinion.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you. Amen.

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