The latest statistics for the UK show that 42% of marriages end in divorce. This is a staggering amount but all of us now know someone who is divorced compared to a hundred years ago when divorce was more frowned upon. Is it more acceptable? Even in this day when a couple announces a divorce it can still be shocking, people still enter a marriage expecting to stay together and when some of our close friends announce divorce it makes us realise just how fragile a marriage contract can be. Lots of people around us are affected by our divorce, family and friends can feel compromise and struggle with loyalty, children are the hardest hit no matter what their age. Some children, even when they are adults themselves feel relieved when a marriage comes to an end, maybe because of hearing squabbles, fights or even violence but they can often still be left with feelings of wishing their parents could work it out. Parents are the people we look towards to find our own way in relationships and with this staggering statistic of divorce our next generations will not value the marriage contract in the same way.
Marriage used to be for life but with us all living longer this brings increasing pressure on married people. We all change many times through our lifetime and what made us happy at 18 will not necessarily give us the same satisfaction when we are past 50. Most couples do not talk about these changes and this can bring resentment and cracks begin to appear. When they are left unaddressed the wound gets bigger and tolerance becomes less, bickering turns to arguments and arguments can turn to talks of separation. With the average person living approximately 40 years early last century they generally only had time for one marriage but now living longer after our children have grown up brings more years of just you two, but this is a different ‘you two’ from when you were younger, you are now different people and have different expectations, this is when most marriages can begin to fail and individuals explore the option of a different future, what they often describe as ‘my time’.
Love changes throughout our partnership, we hope to arrive at a mature love as our relationship grows, we experience together children, house moves, job changes and many other challenges and when these are handled maturely our relationship is more likely to prosper but when we are not able to manage these changes together as a partnership these changes affect our feelings and commitment to each other.
Do you ever ‘check in’ on your relationship? Do you ever talk about the changes? Do you have discussions about the future and plans you want to make? Do you ever discuss how you are feeling about things that affect the relationship? If this answer is no, or not often, you are not alone. Many people I have worked with over the years tell me that they have very seldom taken time to stop the rollercoaster of life to talk about how things are going for them, how they feel about each other and how they want their relationship to mature.
We do regular checks through life on our car, our boiler and our health but why does our relationship, the most special thing that we ever own, take a backseat? If we continue to drive the car, neglect servicing of the boiler and signs of ill health things will go wrong and sometimes fatally, your relationship is no different!
Time and consideration is most important for your relationship to prosper, start to talk, invest time, start today. If you are reading this because your relationship is in trouble then there is something you can talk about today.