By Daniel Davis: NewsNet Staff Writer
PROVO, UTAH -- BYU Professor Jeffrey H. Larson believes that many
marriages can be improved before they even start. Larson has compiled
the results of 60 years of social science research and more than 100
studies into a new book, "Should We Stay Together." In it, Larson
identifies 25 factors that can improve a marriages long-term success.
"Most marriage problems can be traced back to the premarital
relationship," Larson said. "It is so important for couples to take a
comprehensive inventory of their relationship and address important
issues before they marry,"
Larson, a professor and chairman of the Family and Marriage Therapy
Program at BYU, says that today many people are wary of marriage or
are nervous about marriage because of preconceived ideas. Others
think that love will overcome any obstacle. But, he says, the studies
show these things are simply not true.
This book can help lower the divorce rate, hopes Larson, because he
says it shows couples where they need to strengthen their
relationship before marriage, so that it can withstand the inevitable
stresses and strains of marriage. "There are those instances when the
red lights indicate marriage at this time, or to this person may not
be the wisest decision," says Larson, and some of the factors listed
in the book identify those red lights.
For example, among the factors that Larson says are important is the
wife's age at marriage. "Research has shown women that marry after
the age of 23 decrease their chances of getting a divorce," he said.
Another factor that is important is how long the couple has been
together and dated before marriage. The studies Larson cites show
that the longer a couple has been together and dated before marriage,
the more successful a marriage will be.
But Larson doesn't say that even marriages with older women can't
succeed. He gives a three-dimensional model that serves as a roadmap
to guide couples toward a happy marriage. Larson says that the couple
understanding their strengths and weaknesses can lead to long-term
stability for a marriage.
Larson's co-worker, Dr. Bob Stahmann, a professor of marriage and
family therapy at BYU, endorsed Larson's book. "This book is based on
the best of what is known about predicting marital satisfaction," he
said. "Its style and content are unique and directly applicable to