Relationships are, even in the best of times, challenging. In fact as the poet Rilke once said, “relationships are the work for which all other work is but preparation.” This is one of the reasons that divorce rates are often high. In these particularly awkward economic times when money issues, things that often stress relationships, are so prevalent, a number of people are divorcing. In this excerpt from an article by Dr. Pat Love (pictured left), an AgeNation Expert on intimacy and relationship, Dr. Love looks at the subject of ‘unnecessary divorce.’
Unnecessary Divorce By Dr. Pat Love With permission of the author from www.divorce.com April 2010
An unnecessary divorce is one that can be prevented by information, skill or structural change. I often ask couples on the brink of divorce “If I could guarantee you that you’d have the relationship you want, is this the person you want to be with?” If they say “yes” then there’s still hope—lots of hope, for the marriage. It’s a lot easier to change a relationship than to change a person.
An unnecessary divorce is also one you’ll look back on with regret. How many times have I heard someone in a remarriage say:
“If I’d worked half as hard in my first marriage as I have in my second, we’d still be together.”
So many people don’t really know what a normal marriage looks and feels like—until it is too late. Here are some facts, backed up by research, that help define a normal marriage:
• All couples (happy and unhappy; stable and unstable) have about the same number of problems they never solve (approximately 10).
• Once you solve a problem another one magically takes its place.
• Talking makes many matters worse not better.
• There are good marriages where arguing takes place.
• Men are different than women.
• Most every couple has differences in sexual desire.
• Half the population (some men & lots of women) don’t feel like having sex until they’re already having sex.
• More money doesn’t make you happier unless you are below poverty level.
• Infatuation, that “in love” feeling (i.e. soul mate experience) is a dopamine high brought on by novelty and will wear off, leaving you to your own devices and to face your ability/inability to create a loving relationship.
• Marriage is what happens after infatuation has left the building.
• Being attracted to someone else doesn’t mean your partner or relationship is at fault.
• Two people who’ve grown apart can get re-connected; often, time alone creates the repair.
I’ve seen relationships work even though one or both believe it is so o-v-e-r. If you are contemplating divorce based upon one of the issues listed above you’re in luck. It’s very possible you won’t have to: separate your assets (everything you own divided by two is not half); lose time with your kids and grandkids; start making trips to the Laundromat; or live in a place with no furniture in half the rooms. There are so many resources available (www.smartmarriages.com) many free, most reasonable, all cheaper than a divorce.