On February 9 we are excited to host our next Marriage on Tap event and to have Lori Lowe as our guest speaker. Lori is the author of First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage and writer for the popular marriage blog, MarriageGems.com. I had a chance to do a Q&A with Lori for our blog. I have been impressed with Lori’s passion to marriages and how she has touched so many individuals with her writings. I know that if you join us on Feb. 9 you too will be impressed.
Gary: Your blog, www.marriagegems.com, states that you are a journalist and not a marriage counselor. So why did you start the blog?
Lori: As a child of divorce, I personally experienced the effects of family division. And as a GenXer, I grew up during a doubling of the divorce rate when many friends and family members were going through a similar division. After getting married myself, I realized due to our life experiences, many married people lacked positive role models for how to work through challenges in relationships and to become stronger. As a journalist, I wanted to capture the stories of great role models and share what they learned. I investigated why some marriages quickly fail, and why others don’t just survive, they thrive, even when they face adversity. In conjunction with writing the book, I also read a lot of research on what makes relationships work well. I decided to share research-based marriage tips at my blog to help encourage couples, even couples who are doing well today. As a Catholic, I believe the state of our marriages and families is critical to our future.
Gary: I see that you have a book, an eBook, your marriage knowledge is published in many popular publications, and your blog is rated as the Top 10 Marriage blog on the Internet. Very impressive! Since this is not your career, then what is your objective with all your wonderful efforts?
Lori: My objective is to strengthen marriages for the benefit of the children in the families as well as the adults. Research is very clear that living with your married parents provides the most stable situation for children in terms of education, faith, physical and emotional safety. Research even says that children of divorce die an average of five years earlier than those from intact families. We’ve learned a lot in the last generation about what not to do when we put children through a divorce. We’ve also learned there’s no such thing as a “good divorce.” But the most important thing we’ve learned is that working on making a marriage better and keeping the family intact is usually the best option. Couples go through ups and downs in their relationships. Many who work through the down period end up with a much more fulfilling marriage and family life a few years down the line. Most unhappy marriages can become happy again if they stay together and work to improve the relationship.
Gary: Can you tell us a little about your book?
Lori First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage tells the true stories of couples across the country who experienced a wide range of adversity and who used those situations as a means to strengthen their relationships. They experienced things like child loss, drug addiction, infertility, infidelity, life-threatening illness and accidents, opposing religions, bankruptcy, interfering family members, stranger rape, separation for military service and more. I learned some important lessons from them, which I share in my book.
Gary: The goal of Marriage on Tap is to make sure couples are making time for their marriage and join us for a date night. While interviewing couples for your book were there any stories you can share that touches on the importance of making time for each other?
Lori: In general, I would say if we are not growing together, then we are drifting apart. There is no middle ground. In addition, if we are not building up our spouse, then we are tearing them down. We need to take positive action to build up our marriage, or erosion will occur. That is evidenced in some of the stories, such as when infidelity occurred. Thankfully, there’s a lot we can do to strengthen our marriages, and it doesn’t require that much time or effort if done consistently.
Gary: Could you give us a trailer of what everyone can expect on Feb. 9 at Marriage on Tap?
Lori: I will share 12 lessons learned from couples across the country that I profiled in my book. These are 12 things that can and should be put into practice in every marriage to ensure that your marriage doesn’t just survive, it thrives.
Gary: In recent years, there has been lots of effort by the Catholic Church to educate Catholics on the importance of marriage. In your opinion what more can the leaders and members of the Catholic Church do?
Lori: I think we as a Catholic community should be doing a lot more to support marriage in general and especially marriages within our Church. While most Catholic churches have active marriage preparation programs, not many offer ongoing marriage education for young and/or mature married couples. Education and skills training has been proven in research to improve marital satisfaction. We also need to become very knowledgeable about what our Catholic faith teaches us about marriage as a sacrament. Couples who are more active in church attendance and practice do indeed have lower divorce rates, despite what you may have heard in the media. Strengthening our faith can positively impact our family lives. It would be nice if trained counselors were in every church, but due to the resources needed, more people need to step in and help. Even those of us without training as marriage counselors should consider getting involved and encouraging one another, even on an informal basis. We need to support families in crisis and help lift up children and families at risk of divorce. We also need more people who are willing to be a positive voice for marriage, which can be a wonderful vocation.