Sadly, divorce rates are staggeringly high. It’s not just sad for adults; it’s sad for children.  This sobering map shows divorce rates around the world, with many countries showing rates above 40%:

However, the key to a happy and lasting marriage might be as simple as regularly expressing gratitude, according to a new report by researchers from the University of Georgia published in the journal Personal Relationships.  Study co-author Ted Futris comments that: “Feeling appreciated and believing that your spouse values you directly influences how you feel about your marriage, how committed you are to it, and your belief that it will last.”  Lead author Allen Barton considers that the study “goes to show the power of ‘thank you'” and suggests a “practical way couples can help strengthen their marriage.”

Perhaps that is one of the secrets behind the heart-warming story published in New Zealand this week about Nelson couple Gilbert and Joan who recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.  The couple were married on November 3, 1945 in Blenheim. Gilbert and Joan, aged 94 and 90, agree their success comes down to hard work and being dedicated to each other. 

Having lived in different places throughout the country, Gilbert said Joan had been the backbone in their life and did a lot of the hard work behind the scenes. “We just got married, had children and worked,” Joan said. “It is quite an achievement when I stop and think about it.” 

She was my sweetheart then and she is still my sweetheart, it hasn’t changed” Gilbert said. 

I think Gilbert and Joan have it right when they say that dedication is key.  If you dedicate yourself to someone forever, you work at it with that frame of mind.  

Shannon Roberts

Shannon Roberts is co-editor of MercatorNet's blog on population issues, Demography is Destiny. While she has a background as a barrister, writing has been a life-long passion and she has contributed...