Are Married Couples an Endangered Species?
Did you hear? If you’re a married couple you’re a rare breed. Closer to becoming extinct. A dinosaur. For the first time, married couples have dropped below half of all American households, according to the Census Bureau. Married couples are now the minority. From The New York Times:
Married couples represented just 48 percent of American households in 2010… This was slightly less than in 2000, but far below the 78 percent of households occupied by married couples in 1950.
Den of “dinosaurs”
Armed with this new information, I jumped right into a den of “dinosaurs”. I was invited to speak to about three dozen couples honored for…. brace yourself… keeping their word. Every year the First Christian Church of Owasso celebrates marriages that have lasted at least 50 years.
They didn’t like being called dinosaurs. So I asked them for their secrets to protect their species. Here’s their advice for a long marriage:
Ben and DeLoris Harper have been married the longest in this group. Deloris says, “Keep your mouth shut, and love him anyway.”
Dewey Daniels’ words of wisdom? “Keep your opinion to yourself. You’re not going to win. It took me 55 years to learn this.” His wife Betty wrote, “See Dewey’s.”
Donald Stanton’s secret is simple: “Respect one another.”
The marital tidbit from Don Huggins included “Say, yes honey. You’re right.” Kay says “It’s not 50-50. It’s 100-100.”
Among Sharon McKee’s secrets? “Don’t have any secrets from each other.”
The Flickingers say it’s best to “put your spouse first”.
Ray Riker told me, “Your spouse should be your best friend.”
Barb Horry says her secret to a long marriage is “Hang in there.”
Some more advice:
- “Kiss an angel good morning and love her like the devil when you get back home.” Ben Harper (69 years)
- “You are right, I was wrong.” Bob Parker (64 years)
- “Being in church and build your life around family and friends.” Linda Driscoll (55 years)
- “Divorce is too easy for him. Stay and make him miserable (ha).” Nancy Marshall (52 years)
- “I wear hearing aids.” Larry Rist (56 years)
- “Don’t die.” Anonymous
- “?” Robert Miller (56 years)
Even though Robert Miller doesn’t have any idea to the secret of a long marriage, whatever he and his wife have done has worked. I remember hearing my grandmother hammer home her advice: “Never, ever go to bed angry.”
(66 years) are also members of the exclusive 50+ club. I called them to get their advice. My dad was quick to say, “Commitment.” My mom: Faithfulness.”
No more Ozzie & Harriet
William Frey, who analyzed the data that shows married couples are now in the minority, told The New York Times, “The Days of Ozzie and Harriet have faded into the past.”