Just a quick-hitter this week.
If you’ve read much of my blog, you will have come across the above title any number of times; it’s become one of my mantras. Just a few minutes ago, I read an article that came out last week from the Chicago Tribune, telling of a survey done by the Pew Research Center.
The take-away from the Pew study was supposed to be that shared chores was that the key to a happy marriage. The survey of 35,000 adults showed that 56% of the respondents said that “shared chores” were very important to a happy marriage. In fact, that was the headline of the Pew Center’s article.
But Heidi Stevens, the writer of the Tribune article, in looking at the study noted, that there was another answer given by the 35,000 adults that they considered even more very important, something that the Pew Research Center didn’t bother to headline. By a greater percentage, 61% to 56%. What was that answer, that option, that 35,000 adults said was very important to a happy marriage, that the Pew Center decided wasn’t all that important to headline?
“… a satisfying sexual relationship”
My mind is spinning in so many different directions right now.
First – has it become toxic today to suggest that sex is important to a marriage? Why was the “shared chores” (56%) touted over the “satisfying sexual relationship” (61%), if not because of political correctness? It would appear that to come out and say “A satisfying sex life is the key to a happy marriage” is so scary that the Pew Center went with the second-most popular answer, because it fits with today’s dogma and cant of what constitutes the right perception of relationships. Could that actually be the case?
My money is on “Yes.” (Also, the Pew researchers would stink on Family Feud.)
Second – Church, are you listening? Pastors, are you awake? For me, the money quote is Stevens’ short paragraph:
Which leaves me with two thoughts. One: Marriage doesn’t look the way it used to. Two: We don’t really give people the tools to be successful at it.
If the answer to the question, “What is the one thing that does the most toward building a happy marriage” is “a satisfying sex life,” we are failing abysmally in teaching the folks in the pew that truth. We have a whole bunch of other bad teachings (see the Sexless Marriage link in the header, above, for my writings on that), but finding serious teaching about the importance of sex? It’s like searching for oases in the Sahara.
Yes, Stevens goes off the rails with her final remedies, but she is truly on point when she questions how we basically teach for failure at marriage with our woefully inadequate support system for those (everybody?) thinking about marriage. We may teach shibboleths, both popular and religious, but we don’t prepare people for the realities of marriage, do we?
Third – the article title (mine, not the Tribune’s). I used my mantra about “y’alls’ sex life” because of the findings of the survey. To me, you can’t define a “happy marriage” based on a one-out-of-two election. I’m sorry, but if only one person can say that they are happy in the marriage, it’s not a happy marriage!!!
The Tribune article and the findings of the Pew study say that a “satisfying sex life” is the key; not satisfying to just one of the two people involved. Satisfying for both. It’s a common mindset, to downplay the importance of sex in marriage: “It’s just sex”, “It’s just icing on the cake”, etc. This new study blows that thinking out of the water.
New info, folks. Read both the Tribune article and the Pew report of the study. This is new ammo for the struggle for a good/great marriage. Take it and run with it.