I get frustrated when people try to say that this way or that way is the normal way to do something. Maybe for you it’s normal to mow your lawn when it’s about three inches high, but someone else’s standard might be two inches. Someone thinks it’s normal to buy a coffee every day while another person thinks normal is once a month. It’s normal for your friends to go somewhere on vacation four times a year and yet your normal is that you’re lucky to go anywhere once every other year.
When I heard about a new book called, The Normal Bar, I was irritated before I even read it. Someone told me about this publication because it focuses on marriage, which is something I study a lot.
This book apparently reveals new research conducted by three authors who share what is normal for couples who claim to be super happy in their marriages. The book originated when one of the authors was experiencing stress in her 15-year marriage. She described it as being in survival mode versus happy mode. She wanted to elevate her relationship from a “we’re not doing bad” existence to being extremely happy. She decided to ask couples who would describe their marriage as extremely happy about how it got that way.
I still haven’t read the book, but just hearing some highlights from it intrigued me. Although I think hearing sound bites about a book through the media can be dangerous, in this case, I believe couples could use it as a platform for some interesting discussions. What people need to remember is that even though these authors base their research on surveying over 70,000 people worldwide, that’s still less than .001% of the entire population. I am also never quite confident that people are totally truthful in surveys, and if given the choice, they may inflate numbers rather than report them honestly. So while the authors suggest that this type of behavior in a marriage is normal, more research is needed.
In the area of sexual satisfaction, the survey revealed that extremely happy couples are having quality sex three to four times a week. Instead of comparing yourselves to those numbers, just have a conversation with your spouse about sex. What’s working for you and what is not? If something needs to be changed, how can you make that happen?
If changes revolving around intimacy need to occur, perhaps sleeping in the nude is the catalyst. Over 30% of the men and women surveyed say they sleep in their birthday suit. The lack of clothing combined with physical closeness is a springboard to bliss.
When it comes to trust, the numbers don’t look very good. Fifty-three percent of husbands trust their wives while only 39% percent of wives trust their husbands. Maybe it’s because a whopping 75% of those men say they’ve lied to their spouse but a surprising 71% of women also admitted to lying. Remember, these are the numbers from really happy couples! Is there trust in your relationship? Talk about why or why not and if there isn’t, formulate steps to build trust.
In rating the reasons for their overall happiness, survey respondents said that communication is number one. I couldn’t agree more. That’s why I chose to share some of these statistics with you. Not so that you could determine whether or not you are normal, but so that you could communicate about what is normal for you.
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