I don’t understand people who look at studies on marriage, decide they are average, and feel happy. When you realise about 40% of first marriages end in divorce, average puts you just ahead of those who are not going to make it! Besides, do you really want to grade your marriage on the curve, especially given the sorry state of marriage in our world today?
The other part of this is the growing number of studies of what couples do – what is average or normal, or how common certain things are. If you are ministering/counselling to couples, those reports help you understand what the problems are, but beyond that I don’t think they have any real use. The fact the majority of people do something does not make it right, useful, successful, or sane. The fact most couples argue as much after ten years of marriage as when they got married (a study I saw once) does not mean it has to be that way. The fact it is true for “most couples” means it’s not true some couples. Why do some couples beat the odds? Are they smarter or better? I doubt it! Rather, by happy accident, great effort, or because of what they learned from others, those couples found a way to be better.
My advice is to see average and normal for what they are, rather than something to aim for. Go beyond, aim higher, have a marriage that blows the curve!
By the way: I saw a great quote today that goes along with what I said yesterday. “More marriages might survive if the partners realized that sometimes the better comes after the worse” ~ Doug Larson