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Love and Marriage Article

Marriage In Brazil

by Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz

We are so excited!  On Thursday of this week we are heading to Brazil!

Oh, my goodness, Brazil – the land of the Samba, Rio de Janeiro, the Amazon Jungle, beautiful beaches, the amazing and stirring monument called Christ the Redeemer, mountains that inspire, and the wonderful Brazilian cuisine.  And more importantly, friends tell us that the Brazilian people are incredibly friendly and welcoming.  We can’t wait to find out.

We can’t wait to get to the VERY cosmopolitan Rio de Janeiro.  We will also head of to Iguazu Falls in the Amazon jungle (where Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay meet) to see what 275 simultaneous waterfalls actually look like!  Niagara Falls – be prepared to move to second place when it comes to the beauty of a waterfall!

Brazil is our destination for two primary reasons:  we need some rest and recuperation, and we want to interview successfully married Brazilian couples.  We know, it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it! 

Our sequel book to Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage (Ó 2008) is almost finished and we want to add a South American essay or two.  By the way, its title is Simple Things Matter in Love and Marriage.  Look for it soon.  And look for an inspiring relationships story about one of the Brazilian couples we will interview.

Brazil is probably one of the best examples of why it is important to “drill down” when confronted with statistics about marriage.  Why you ask?  It’s simple, really. 

The divorce rate in Brazil is minimal, approximately one-twentieth the rate in the U.S.  In fact, today's divorce rate in Brazil is lower than it was a century ago in the U.S. 

Brazilians, for the most part, still do not get divorced.  We wonder why.  Is marriage more happy and blissful in Brazil or is it due to other reasons.  We really want to find out!

Understanding the divorce process in Brazil can be complicated and time consuming, that’s for sure.  All individuals, regardless of nationality, who seek to get a divorce in Brazil, must comply with Brazilian law.  And Brazilian law is tough when it comes to divorce.  It seems that Brazil, for historic and cultural reasons, as well as religious reasons, want those who commit to marriage to honor their commitment.  We’ll come back to this notion later.

According to the new Brazilian Law Code, the government recognizes a "stable union,” defined as the relationship being "recognized and known.”  Judges look at each case individually according to the law, but generally speaking, a relationship of two to three years is considered a “stable union” between two people, “especially if the couple has children together.”

Therefore, many of the legal aspects/issues of divorce will apply to these couples as well as to those who engage in traditional marriage.

So, as you can see, marriage and/or a “stable union” in Brazil is apparently a hard bond to break – a hard tradition to separate.

Perhaps, we in the United States of America make divorce too easy.  Maybe, we aren’t tough enough when it comes to fulfilling commitments made to another human being.

Maybe, just maybe, we don’t do what is required to make our marriage and relationships work.  Is it possible that we have lost sight of the effort it takes to make marriage and loving relationships successful?

Our trip to Brazil might help answer these questions.  In the meantime, fique ligado para pensamentos de amor de nossos novos amigos no Brasil.

Amor bem! In English, it means “Stay tuned for thoughts of love from our new friends in Brazil.”

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