Select Page

Each week the Eyres post one tried and proven “Parenting Principle” (or sometimes a Marriage Principle) here on this page, and also on social media (Instagram @richardlindaeyre, Facebook @lindarichardeyre, and Twitter @richardeyre). Please follow, and invite your friends to do the same. Each week the brief, quotable parenting principle will appear with several links to articles, podcasts, videos, or radio and television appearances that give more ideas, instruction and inspiration on that principle.

July 15, 2019

Myth 8 From the 8 Myths of Marriaging

Leave a Comment

8. The Myth of Marriage’s Demise (and other myths about the macro of marriage in society)

Myth: Marriage is on the decline and disappearing as an institution.
Truth: The strongest, most fulfilling marriages in the history of the world exist today.

Sub-myth 1: Educated people are not getting married.
Truth: Today, it is college educated people that are getting married and staying married.

Sub-myth 2: Most people in today’s world no longer want to get married or be married.
Truth: Polls show that over 90 percent of people want to be married.

Sub-myth 3: Marriage is simply not as relevant or as useful as it once was in society.
Truth: Given the disconnected, polarizing, fracturing, temporary, and transient nature of today’s culture, the bonds and connections and commitments of marriage have never been more important and more needed.

There is both a dark side and a light side when we think about the future of marriage. On the dark side, the statistical drops in marriage rates and increases in cohabitation without marriage seem to be spelling the doom and the irrelevance of marriage; but the fact is that the best of today’s marriage have a greater amount of partnership, of role equality, and of mutual respect and support than any marriages in any other era.

To go deeper into this topic:

Podcast Article 1 Article 2

July 8, 2019

Myth 7 From the 8 Myths of Marriaging

Leave a Comment

7. The Equality Myth (and other myths about sameness)

Myth: Equality should be the prime goal of your relationship or your marriage.
Truth: Striving for equality breeds comparing and criticism and it may produce more competition than compatibility. It is better to work for a marriage of synergistic oneness that breeds cooperation and compensates for one another’s weaknesses.

Sub-myth 1: You have to be the same to be equal.
Truth: The best kind of equality is oneness, and it thrives on different but equally important roles.

Sub-myth 2: The key to a good marriage is for both partners to go 50 percent and meet in the middle.
Truth: You may have to go 90 percent to meet your spouse’s 10 percent sometimes, and your partner may have to go 90 percent to meet you other times.

Sub-myth 3: Feminism is about eliminating all differences between men and women.
Truth: Feminism is about women and men being different but equal.

We give equality a lot of lip service and praise, but when applied to marriage, the concept has problems. Insisting on equality can be like trying to make every game end in a tie. If we are constantly worrying about equality then somebody is always a little ahead or a little behind and we have to keep compensating and adjusting. There is an element of competition in equality, and a certain amount of comparing and judging.

Maybe the best marriages are not about equality. Maybe they are about oneness.

In our definition, oneness brings two halves together in a merger that allows for synergy, for specialization, for different abilities and skills, and for mutual appreciation rather than mutual competition.

For more about this myth and the truths we should replace it with:

Podcast Article

July 1, 2019

Myth 6 From the 8 Myths of Marriaging

Leave a Comment

6. The Test-Drive Myth (and other myths about marital commitment)

As you think about this myth, consider the difference between couples who have made “conditional commitments” of cohabitation–hoping things will work out, but seeing the whole “living together thing” as an experiment in compatibility; and couples who have made the unconditional commitment of marriage–to stick together and develop the relationship no matter what kind of hard times come up. The first group will second-guess and perhaps give up when stress comes, whereas the second group will find a way to work through the tough times.

This is a particularly troubling myth because it is undermining society at large!

Myth: You wouldn’t buy a car until you had taken a test drive, and it is unwise to make a marriage commitment before you have lived together long enough to know if it will work.
Truth: It is the commitment that will make a marriage work. Real security comes from promising and implementing complete allegiance, not from conditional, tentative try-it-and-see.

Sub-myth 1: Formal commitments don’t matter. We don’t need some license or certificate or ink on paper to be in love and live together.
Truth: Formally married couples have twice as high a chance of being together in ten years than those without the “ink on paper.”
Sub-myth 2: The longer you wait and the older you are when you get married, the better your marriage will be.
Truth: There is no one-size-fits-all or one ideal age for marriage. It’s more about preparation and commitment than it is about how old you are.
Sub-myth 3: The more relationships I have, the more likely I will be to find the right one—the one that will last.
Truth: Several uncommitted relationships will never add up to one committed one.

For more on this Myth:

Podcast Article

June 17, 2019

Myth 5 From the 8 Myths of Marriaging

Leave a Comment

5. The No-Waves Myth (and other myths about marital communication)

When we try too hard not to have any friction or “too-candid” communication, and when we keep things from each other because we don’t want disagreement, we end up pulling apart, and the things we have not said that bother us or that may have hurt us begin to fester and undermine our marital relationship. Here is the “no waves” myth and its sub-myths–and the truths to replace them with.

Myth: In marriage, some things are better left unsaid, and it’s safest to float along and not make waves.
Truth: Unexpressed feelings never die; they are just buried and come forth later in uglier forms. Timing is important, but the best marriages communicate everything—even when it creates some turbulence.

Sub-myth 1: Too much of the wrong kind of communication can ruin a relationship.
Truth: More often, it’s too little of the right kind of communication that puts marriages in peril.

Sub-myth 2: Marriage kills excitement and romance, and relationships get stale and less passionate over time.
Truth: Communication can rise to new levels after the marriage commitment, and steadily improve over time— lifting passion, romance, magic, and excitement with it.

Sub-myth 3: The hardest things to agree on are money, sex, goals, parenting methods, and religious beliefs.
Truth: These five most common causes of divorce can be flipped into the five key subjects of good marriage communication.

Sub-myth 4: Marriage is serious business.
Truth: Part of it sure is, but there had better be another part, because, from our experience, a sense of humor ranks number one in what is looked for in a spouse.

For more on this Marriaging Myth and on the truth that can replace it:

Podcast Article Book

June 10, 2019

Teach Your Children Values This Summer

Leave a Comment

When our book Teaching Your Children Values hit #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list in the ’90s, people were surprised. We were surprised. A parenting book had not topped that bestseller list for 50 years.

Thinking back, there were a couple of reasons for the book’s success. One was Oprah. She loved the book and had us on for the full hour of her show, and then re-ran the show a few weeks later. The article below is about the Oprah show, and the video is a large portion of the show itself.

The second thing that helped the book become number one was the way it is organized. It outlines twelve key values that all parents want their children to learn and live by, and instead of chapters, it has 12 months, and the suggestion that parents concentrate on one value each month….Honesty in January, Courage in February, Respect in March, and so on. Then it gives practical, tested methods to teach each value. Parents liked this because it simplified their lives–instead of trying to worry about all the values they wanted their kids to live by, they could just focus on one single value each month.

Article Podcast 1 Podcast 2 Video 1 Video 2 Alexander Series

June 3, 2019

Myth 4 From the 8 Myths of Marriaging

Leave a Comment

4. The Perfection Myth (and other myths about happiness and expectations):

I can find (or create) a perfect match for myself and then I will be happy.

Truth: Some married couples are better matched than others, and there are even those who believe they have found their soulmate. But most marriages are about accommodation and adjustment—and more about changing our own minds than about fixing our spouse’s.

  1. Sub-myth: I can fix my spouse.
    Truth: You can’t. And you might not like the result if you did. Better to work harder at changing yourself than at changing your partner.
  2. Sub-myth: Your job is to love yourself; and you are responsible for your own happiness, not anyone else’s.
    Truth: It is important to accept and love yourself, but caring more about another whom you love more than yourself is the surest way to receive joy as well as to give it.
  3. Sub-myth: If you settle (or have settled) for someone who seems less than perfect, you will never be really happy.
    Truth: Marriage is not a game of perfect. It’s about adjusting and improving and getting happier by supporting each other.
  4. Sub-myth: Your marriage is going to turn out to be pretty much like your parents’ marriage.
    Truth: Many who have bad memories of their parents’ marriage are motivated by those memories to fashion a very different kind of marriage for themselves.

More about this myth and its corresponding truth:

Article Podcast

May 27, 2019

Should You Be Getting Your Kids out of Their Comfort Zone?

Leave a Comment

As summer begins, some parents contemplate not some cushy, luxuriating “entitlement” vacation for their kids, but rather how to get them out of their “comfort zone” and into some kind of very different environment where they see things differently, realize how others live, learn to work, or give service. Some families go to great lengths to give their children this kind of perspective-changing experience.

We have worked pretty hard at it ourselves. We found that summer humanitarian expeditions to third world locations to build a school or dig a well actually didn’t cost any more than a vacation at Disney World, and our kids came home with a new appreciation of their blessed circumstances and the beginning of an understanding that they have the power to help those who have less.

Another summer we lived as a family deep in the woods of eastern Oregon and built a log cabin together. We started out in a teepee and cut logs and worked together to build a small cabin the same size as the one that our great great grandfather raised 9 children in. In a similar effort with similar goals in mind, our daughter Saydi and her husband took their children to live on an isolated working farm for 6 months where they grew crops and raised livestock and were home-schooled.

Another summer, we staged the production of the musical “Annie” in a small rural Idaho town, with our kids and the town kids (and their parents) doing all the acting, costuming, directing, publicizing, and music, and used the proceeds from its three-night run to build a new parking lot for the church.

There are certainly less dramatic ways to get kids out of their comfort zone, including a “real” summer job, or helping out at a homeless shelter, or providing some kind of service in an inner city. Each parent needs to think about the awareness and perspective needs and limits of his own children and look for ways to meet those needs and lift those limits.

To think further about this notion:

Podcast Article

May 20, 2019

Myth 3 from The 8 Myths of Marriaging

Leave a Comment

3. The Independence Myth (and other myths about freedom):

It is best for each spouse to maintain his or her own independence and form a self-reliant two-way partnership.

Truth: Independence is overrated and lonely; and it gets more so the longer we live. Interdependence is the acknowledgment of this simple, vulnerable truth and it is a joy to willingly, enthusiastically trade your independence for interdependence. Ultimately, a three-way partnership that recognizes dependence on God is the strongest of all.

  1. Sub-myth: The key to a good marriage is for both partners to go 50 percent and meet in the middle.
    Truth: You may sometimes have to go 90 percent to meet your spouse’s 10 percent, and your partner may have to go 90 percent to meet you at other times.
  2. Sub-myth: Freedom and responsibility are opposites.
    Truth: Responsibility and sacrifice for those you love leads to a higher freedom from the “dungeon of self.”
  3. Sub-myth: Needing marriage therapy is a weakness.
    Truth: Getting professional help when you need it is always a strength.

We live in a world where independence is the perceived goal of almost everything. We are conditioned to want financial independence as well as mental and emotional independence. We see any type of dependence on someone else as a weakness, and we find it much easier to say “I love you” than “I need you.”

Many also think the alternative to independence is codependence, which Google defines as “excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically requiring support due to an illness or addiction.” And who would want that?

But interdependence is not codependence. It is something much different and much more beautiful. It is a mutual dependence that is chosen in love, and it makes those who choose it more, not less, free.

With many, independence is almost an obsession. Young people today want to avoid being dependent on anyone. But not needing anyone and always relying solely on yourself can become the ultimate recipe for loneliness.

Interdependence is so much better. It is the conscious choice of commitment, the deliberate decision to intertwine your life with the person you love most. It is the sacrifice of something good for something better.

More information on this myth:

Podcast 1 Podcast 2 Article

May 13, 2019

Series on the 8 Myths of Marriage

Leave a Comment

In the last two posts (the last two weeks) we have presented the first two of the 8 Myths of marriage, and the response has been so great that we have decided to do a whole series and cover each of the other 6 “Myths of Marriaging” over the next 6 weeks.

We call it “marriaging” because it is a dynamic, happening word; while “marriage” is a static, happened word. Marriaging, like parenting, is a skill—or an art or a science—that can be continually and actively worked on, developed, and improved.

As we strive to build and grow our marriaging ability, there are some misconceptions that can get in our way—some misplaced beliefs or false paradigms that point us in the wrong directions and suck the joy out of our relationships. They do this through unrealistic expectations and false goals that cause dissatisfaction, discouragement, and frustration.

We call these misconceptions the Myths of Marriaging because they all sound good—many of them are even disguised as wise advice or packaged as sage insights. Indeed we may have heard some of them so many times that we assume they must be true.

But they are not.

Some of these myths raise our hopes and expectations unreasonably; others oversimplify; and still others exaggerate a good direction so much that it turns back and harms our relationship instead.

The good news is that wherever there is a myth there is a countering truth. There is another side of the coin—the true side.

Sometimes knowing both sides, and considering them together, can clarify and illuminate. Sometimes we need first to know what not to do or think or believe in order to avoid the common pitfalls that often overtake a marriage.

Then, by contrast, we need to know what to do or think or believe in order to maximize our marriages.

In this series, we will first try to dispel the myths, then to capture the truths.

For a verbal overview of the 8 Myths (and as a preview of this series) listen to the following podcast:

May 6, 2019

Myth 2 from The 8 Myths of Marriaging

Leave a Comment

We continue with a preview of our forthcoming book The 8 Myths of Marriaging.

2. The Achievement Myth:

Achievements are harder and take more work than relationships do.

Truth: Relationships are, both in the short term and the long term, always more important than achievements are—and usually harder.

  1. Sub-myth: The home supports the career.
    Truth: The career supports the home.
  2. Sub-myth: Achievements can be pursued, while relationships just happen.
    Truth: Relationships, particularly the marriage relationship, deserve the most “pursuing” of all; and relationship goals can be as effective as achievement goals.
  3. Sub-myth: Parenting is more work than marriaging, and good parents are almost always good marriage partners.
    Truth: Good marriages take constant effort and almost always make for better parenting—but this doesn’t necessarily work the other way around.
  4. Sub-myth: Marriage is about two individuals, and it works best if the families stay out of it.
    Truth: Your marriage, like it or not, is the joining of two families, so you might as well embrace it. Our in-laws can become our in-loves; the more positive and proactive we are about extended family relationships, the more we will get and the more we will give.

If this myth interests you, or if you think it may be affecting your marriage, take a look or a listen to the advice contained on this subject in the following:

Article Podcast

Pin It on Pinterest