The late Christian author Ingrid Trobisch once quipped:
“There is only one thing harder than living alone, and that is to live with another person.”
We begin with some good marital advice that may help make that living more pleasant:
- Three Common Mistakes That Undermine a Happy Marriage
Our happiness in marriage, according to famed marriage researcher Dr. John Gottman, is determined by the ratio of positive to negative interactions in the relationship. When positivity in marriage is high, couples are drawn to each other. When negativity reigns supreme, the marriage is at risk.
In my experience, three common mistakes conspire to undermine what should be a happy marriage. It surprises me how many couples make all three mistakes. Happily, for each of these mistakes, there is a simple fix. If couples could just embrace the following three “good marriage practices,” their chances of having a happy marriage would be improved.
Mistake #1: Getting Too Comfortable
The first mistake couples make—I call it a silent killer of marriage—is getting lazy about the small niceties of married life. We forget to say thank you, fail to greet each other at the door, and show little interest in the other’s day.
Mistake #2: Talking at the Wrong Time
The second common mistake couples make—this one is often a not-so-silent killer of marriage—is talking at the wrong time. Dr. Gottman estimates couples are emotionally available to talk at the same time only 9% of the time—91% of the time is “ripe ground for miscommunication.” From my work with couples, I’ve seen that talking at the wrong time is the single most common couple communication error.
Mistake #3: Failure to Make Time for Fun
The final common mistake couples make is the failure to make time for each other and for fun. When I ask couples what’s wrong with their marriage, the most common response I get is “We spend no time together.” I also like to ask couples if they have anything fun planned. Almost always the answer is “no.” Even the best couples will struggle to enjoy marriage if they barely see each other. And when nothing is planned, there is nothing to look forward to doing together.
Dragging Your Feet On Marriage? Here’s A Robust Case For Tying The Knot Amid A Recession
From The Federalist:
There are many reasons why marriage is a good thing for individuals and society in general. While the economic aspect of marriage is usually the last thing a couple who are madly in love is thinking about, they shouldn’t ignore it either. In today’s challenging economic environment — record-high inflation and an economic recession — the case for getting married has only become more robust.
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis examined the link between wealth and the relationship status of young adults (25- to 34-year-olds) between 1989 and 2016. Its research found that marriage rates have declined in young adulthood from around 57 percent in 1989 to 37 percent by 2016, while married couples’ median net worth has remained consistently higher than that of single households. In fact, “from 1989 to 2016, the typical married household had around three times as much wealth as a partnered or single household.” One of the authors of the research, Lowell Ricketts, told The Wall Street Journal recently that the wealth gap between the two groups had only widened in the last couple of years. As of 2019 (the most recent data available), “the median net worth of married couples 25 to 34 years old was nearly nine times as much as the median net worth of single households.”
Married couples have more wealth than singles for many reasons. By pulling two incomes together, married couples can grow wealth faster by putting more money into savings and investments. They also have more ability to build a financial cushion to deal with emergency spending and higher household expenditures due to inflation.
Some tax regulations also favor married couples. For example, an unemployed individual cannot contribute to an individual retirement account (IRA). But the Internal Revenue Service makes an exception for married couples, allowing a working spouse to fund the IRA of a non-working spouse, which “effectively doubles their retirement savings for the year.” If one spouse earns considerably more than the other and the couple files their income tax return jointly, the lower-income spouse can serve as a “tax shelter” and keep the couple in a lower tax bracket. Reducing tax liability means the couple will have more money to save, invest, or spend.
Marriage helps save money in other ways. For example, married couples pay lower car insurance premiums because most insurance companies offer multi-car discounts and rate reductions for married couples.
2. Pro-Life GOP Governors Lead in Battleground States
From National Review:
Ever since the Dobbs decision overturned Roe v. Wade at the end of June, political observers have been trying to detect how much the issue might help Democrats in November, and there have been a few data points suggesting that Republican prospects have been diminished over the last couple months.
The congressional GOP’s 2.3-point lead over Democrats on the generic ballot has turned into a 0.5-point lead for Democrats according to FiveThirtyEight’s average of polls. Republicans have not met expectations in a couple of congressional special elections. And at the beginning of August, Kansas voters (by 59 percent to 41 percent) rejected a referendum that would have held a right to abortion is not protected by the state constitution.
A number of Senate GOP candidates have seen lackluster polling as well. But the strength of pro-life GOP governors in those same battleground states suggests that the Senate GOP’s diminished electoral prospects may have more to do with candidate quality than abortion politics.
None of this is to say that abortion politics won’t have a significant impact in November, or that pro-life legislators should ignore the lessons of the Kansas referendum. If Democrats defy history and expectations to keep the House, the political reactions to Dobbs would be a crucial reason why.
3. Gov. DeSantis Charges 20 People For Voter Fraud in Florida
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that 20 people have been charged with voter fraud in his state and are in the process of being arrested.
Most had voted illegally because they were previously convicted of murder or sexual assault charges.
“These folks voted illegally, in this case, and there’s going to be other grounds for other prosecutions in the future, and they are disqualified for voting because they’d been convicted of either murder or sexual assault, and they do not have the right to vote,” DeSantis said, adding “They have been disenfranchised under Florida law.”
He noted how Amendment 4 had been passed to allow convicts without sexual assault and murder convictions to be able to vote again, but the 20 that DeSantis had arrested didn’t meet that criteria, and therefore broke the law.
4. It’s time for Congress to listen to parents, support public charter schools
From the Washington Examiner:
America’s confidence in its public schools is sagging to historic lows. The pandemic revealed a system that is ill-prepared to teach students and — even worse — a desire to not return to school buildings. When children did finally return to the classroom, masking mandates proved to be a struggle. Unfortunately, this struggle continues, as some of America’s largest school districts have resorted to masking once again during the upcoming start of the school year.
All of this has led to a breakdown in trust between families and public school districts. A recent Gallup poll revealed only 28% of Americans say they have a great deal of confidence in public schools, the second lowest level on record. Like our country, much of the polling data shows a sharp division between Republicans and Democrats. Republican support has plunged, while Democrat support has dipped five points. In a bad sign for districts, approval from Independents has dropped nine points.
This should be the moment our government leaders and school districts looked inward to solve this crisis.
This politicization of our public education system in America must stop. It can if leaders like our president start putting our children first. That means allowing parents to decide what public schools are the best for their children, and not taking draconian measures to destroy their options.
5. Most Illinois School Districts Reject New Sex Education Standards
From the Daily Citizen:
Most Illinois school districts are rejecting the sex education standards that the legislature mandated in 2021. The age-inappropriate standards, that work to exclude parental involvement, are deliberately designed to sexualize and confuse children.
Sexual education is not mandatory for Illinois schools, but Senate Bill 818 specified that schools that teach sex ed must teach “comprehensive sexual health education,” which includes instruction on controversial sexual topics.
As children across the country go back to school, it’s important that parents pay attention to what their children are being taught about identity, relationships and sexuality.
We want to protect children, not damage them with inappropriate, sexually confusing education.
- The Sharp Rise in Egg Freezing
From the BBC:
Developed in the 1980s, oocyte cryopreservation – more commonly known as egg freezing – was originally designed to help women with serious medical conditions requiring treatment that could harm fertility improve their chances of having a baby post-treatment.
The series of procedures involves collecting a women’s eggs, freezing them and then thawing them later on for use in fertility treatment. In recent years, egg preservation has moved from a process of medical necessity to an elective treatment, and women can now choose to freeze their eggs to improve their chances of having children at a later date.
This interest in egg freezing comes amid a trend towards older motherhood and technologically-aided pregnancy. In the UK, the average age to become a first-time mother has been increasing since the 1970s, and is now at a record peak of 30.7; in the US, the number of women giving birth older than age 40 is at an all-time high.
- Is Motherhood Real Work?
From Desiring God:
When does a new mom go back to work? She never stopped. People will still ask, but by God’s grace she will see motherhood as a job as old as work itself. What is more, she will believe that a mother’s labor matters, eternally so. We are not just nurturing image-bearers who reflect a glorious God. We are nurturing potential Christ-enjoyers and Christ-exalters. We stay home, and we work to this end with all our motherly might.
When rightly captivated by the God-given task of motherhood, then, we will not dread a change in or the loss of career, hobbies, or leisure upon a baby’s birth. Rather, we accept the task as both gift and opportunity to shape life to the glory of God.
8. Drink Up, Japan Tells Young People. I’ll Pass, Many Reply.
From The New York Times:
Among the casualties of the pandemic is one that many young people in Japan say they do not miss: the drinking culture.
Sobriety, they have decided after two years of less socializing and nightcrawling, has its advantages. And that’s why a new message from the Japanese government — drink up! — seems to be putting few in the spirit.
To bolster its ailing alcohol industry, Japan’s National Tax Agency has kicked off a contest inviting those ages 20 to 39 to submit ideas for encouraging people to consume more alcohol. It named the project after the national beverage: “Sake Viva!”
The agency says it hopes to “revitalize the industry” with the contest, whose winner is to be selected in a tournament later this year. But its entreaty is clashing with more than two years of actions by the government, which discouraged alcohol sales at restaurants and bars and put up signs forbidding drinking in parks and in the streets.
On average, people in Japan drank about 20 gallons of alcohol in 2020, down from 26 gallons in 1995, according to government data. The decline has hurt lucrative tax revenues: Levies on alcohol accounted for 1.7 percent of Japan’s tax revenue (about $8 billion) in 2020, down from 3 percent in 2011 and 5 percent in 1980.
In the United States, state and local governments collected $7.7 billion in alcohol taxes, or 0.2 percent of general revenue, in 2019, according to the Urban Institute.
- A Messy Methodist Church Schism
From the Wall Street Journal:
Challenging both United Methodism and the Global Methodist Church are declining denominational interests among American Christians. While most historical denominations are declining, nondenominational churches in the U.S. are growing.
Working against this drift are 60 traditionalist theologians who met in Alexandria, Va., in January to craft a 25,000-word articulation of “classic” Methodist doctrine. Rooted in the teachings of 18th-century founder John Wesley, their statement (“The Faith Once Delivered”) is broken into six sections and addresses the nature of God, creation, revelation, salvation, the church and eschatology.
Promoting a specific Protestant tradition over generic nondenominational evangelicalism in America will be difficult. United Methodism has lost five million members in the U.S. since 1968 and will lose millions more. Mainline Protestantism has been sidelined—and it will take years for United Methodism’s schism to resolve.
The hope of traditional American Methodists is that once freed from denominational bureaucracy, they’ll be able to grow anew—as their peers in Africa are doing, and as America’s early Methodists did. Americans hoping for revived spirituality and civil society ought to wish them well.
10. Little League Controversy Helps Remind Kids that Life Isn’t Always Fair
From the Daily Citizen:
Teams from Oregon and Washington were competing for a slot in the big show. It was a nail-biter. With the game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning, and a runner on first, a player from Washington hit a line drive down the third-base line.
Now the controversy.
The third-base umpire immediately threw up his arms indicating the ball was foul. At the same time, the home plate umpire motioned that the ball was fair. Seeing the third-base umpire’s call, the left fielder from Oregon didn’t chase after the ball. But seeing the home plate umpire’s call, the runner on first from Washington took off and scored.
An instant replay review confirmed that the ball was fair, so the run was allowed to count. Washington was headed to the World Series.
Ball game over. Season over. Oregon’s World Series’ dreams over.
Reasonable and rationale-minded people can see this issue differently. Hartlaub’s suggested solution was to expand the tournament by one team and allow both teams to advance.
Isn’t this a lot like life?
Why does someone get eighty years and another just eight? There’s the guy who smokes and drinks and lives until he’s old and grey – and then there’s the runner who watches what he eats – but is diagnosed with incurable cancer in his thirties. Maybe you’ve been passed up for a promotion. Perhaps the loud worker took the credit for the sale – but the quiet guy did all the legwork.
“Life is not fair, but one day God’s going to settle the score,” said Rick Warren. “He’s going to right the wrongs. So, who can get better justice – you or God?”