An average of 2.4 million weddings are performed in the U.S. every year, revealing this country’s love of love. Although wedding days are full of joy and nuptials full of promises, it seems that we may be lacking a little bit on the commitment part: statistically, around 50% of U.S. marriages end in divorce (with rates even higher for those who remarry). As a result, there is a multitude of options available to help couples stick to their declarations of “’til death do us part,” but one couple’s approach was decidedly unique.
Annmarie Kelly and Joseph Eagle have just celebrated their 30th anniversary — and their 7th marriage. Every five years, the pair have wed and re-wed following extensive discussion, negotiations, a new five-year plan, and a renewed commitment. By interpreting marriage as an ongoing project that needs to change and grow as its members do, they can ensure that they’re always communicating about individual needs and desires. Kelly even wrote a book as a sort of “how-to” guide for couples of all ages entitled The Five Year Marriage.
“The Five Year Marriage empowers couples to lead their best life using a method that enables them to recognize and respond to change — in their lives, their relationship, and their marriage,” she explained. “[It] is for couples who are ready to commit or re-commit in a whole new way.”
Kelly hopes her book will encourage couples to rethink the way they’ve been married to instead view marriage as a partnership: “The husband and wife have to become proactive and consciously adjust the little issues along the way, so that they don’t turn into big ones.”
Another viable option to encourage and support a long-lasting marriage is couple’s therapy. Although not as radical as throwing a new wedding with fresh, updated vows every half-decade, it has been proven to help those willing to pursue and embrace it: around 97% of couples who underwent joint therapy stated they got the help they needed. In fact, premarital couple’s counseling is making waves of its own.
With the tagline “you’re ready for your wedding, but are you ready for your marriage?” premarital counseling provides extensive benefits, even for those who don’t consider themselves in need of it. It forces couples about to face the Big Day to consider the responsibility that comes with marriage in a positive light: topics focus on realistic expectations, learning or improving conflict resolution skills, and avoiding toxic resentments, while also allowing couples to address any fears they may have (such as money or future plans).