Divorce and Marriage, Together Like a Horse and Carriage!
When A Marriage Needs Professional Help
Ideally, before they’re married. Marriage is one of the most important decisions an individual makes. It’s made with virtually no advance information.
It sounds like you’re advocating living together before marriage.
Only if it’s compatible with your philosophy and moral values. The important thing is to establish what you want from marriage.
There are many possibilities:
A haven against the world.
Sanctioned, available sex.
Creation of a family.
A devoted partner.
Some churches insist on premarital instruction before marriage rites are performed. Curiously, the best help often comes from friends and relatives who oppose the match. They, at least, make young people reflect a bit about the decision and the intended spouse. Mostly, people marry solely for love, but highly romantic love is a kind of short-term madness.
When do problems emerge?
The honeymoon phase can last two or three years. At that point, you may wake up one morning, look at your spouse, and think: Hey, I really like this person. If that happens, there’s a good chance to build a lifelong relationship. If not, trouble is ahead.
Another critical point is the arrival of a child. Some of the natural childbearing approaches have done a marvelous job preparing the father for the prenatal care and the blessed event. But it’s a shock the first time he comes home from work and there’s no cocktail, dinner’s not ready, and his wife is busy with the baby.
Don’t most people marry thinking that they can change the things they dislike in the other person?
That’s bound to cause problems. You can alter little habits, such as finger-picking in public. But individuals have basic personality attributes that are difficult to change. If the change has not occurred before marriage, accept it or find someone else beforehand.
The most critical attributes to consider:
How much consideration, affection, and respect are shown to each other.
The quality and quantity of sex.
What the relative dominance and submission needs are (who takes the lead and who follows).
Another extremely important consideration is how much distance and how much closeness both individuals need. Closeness works on two levels:
Sharing space and hours together.
Expressing and hearing feelings, thoughts, and ideas.
Lack of intimacy can cause problems, too. Example: When one spouse expresses heartfelt sentiments and the other responds, That’s nice. Did you pay the electric bill? Lack of intimacy and poor communication are the most common marital problems today.
What are danger signs?
When you’re frequently irritable with your spouse and you don’t know Why. When you start thinking about old lovers you could have married. When your spouse always wants to kiss at the “wrong” time. When you escape by watching too much television or, worse, drinking too much alcohol. Infidelity is a danger sign if monogamy is important to you.
When should a couple seek help?
As early as possible. Unfortunately, most people wait until it’s too late, until the problems have escalated.
How does a spouse raise the subject of trouble in the marriage?
Be honest and caring since the topic can surprise, hurt, or anger a mate. The first step is to bring it up, and try and understand the problems. You say: ‘Hey, I love you and I want our marriage to work. I want things to feel good between us again. Let’s discuss our problems.’
When problems are very serious, how helpful is therapy?
If one partner is not motivated, it won’t work at all. If one wants help and the other is ambivalent (not sure about going for therapy but also not sure about risking no therapy), great progress is possible.
Can a badly damaged marriage be saved?
I’ve seen everything work. The real test is whether the marriage gratifies and meets the emotional needs of both partners. Today, if needs are not being fulfilled, people are too ready to leave their mate without making a concerted effort to work out problems.
With the alarming number of marriages ending in divorce, is it still a viable institution?
Absolutely. In fact, I think we’re likely to see a swing back to more stable marriages. It’s a very old-fashioned notion, but people simply have not been taking their commitments in marriage seriously enough. I think that’s going to change, and for the better.
How long does counseling take?
It seems to take either about 10 weekly sessions or about a year. Usually, husband and wife are both involved, but occasionally only one partner is counseled.
A Look At Marriage And Divorce
A successful marriage is a function of one partner’s system of organization meshing with the other’s. Example: A husband may bring needed order to the life of his wife. His wife may humanize him by bringing emotion into his life.
It often takes many years for a wife to realize that she can have different tastes from her husband and that the marriage will continue to work. (She can even have her own tube of toothpaste.)
The great virtue of some marriages is that both partners retain an important part of their privacy. Trade-off: The basic loneliness of human existence is only partly mitigated by such marriages.
The luckiest people are those who marry their best friends. Unfortunately, because most people consider their best friends to be members of their families, and because there’s a taboo against incest, most people end up marrying “strangers.” This often leads to dissatisfaction and, finally, to divorce.
Alternatively, one reason many people don’t get married is because their early childhood was so good that they’re searching for someone to fit the ideal that they have of their parents. It’s the sense that they’re waiting to meet the person they seem to know from before. They just can’t bring themselves to marry strangers.
One phenomenon that sometimes leads to divorce is the one in which middle-aged men sometimes begin to perceive that their wives have become their mothers. Reason: When a boy reaches puberty, his mother is usually middle-aged, so when his wife reaches middle age, he transfers his repressed Oedipal desires onto her.
Married people often feel angry when their friends get divorced. Reason: Marriage is hard work. By getting divorced, the divorcing partners are affirming the belief that they’re entitled to be happy and lead a carefree, easy life. The married couple, who entertain this same fantasy but don’t act upon it, experience envy and then resentful anger on account of it.
Today, divorce seems to be a trendy cure-all.Couples beleaguered with personal and business difficulties see divorce as an easy solution that is socially acceptable. After the separation, however, the former partners frequently are lonely and depressed.
To avoid divorce by default, be alert to these six snares:
Divorce is not a panacea. It will not cure dissatisfaction with work, a mid-life crisis, or a poor self-image. In fact, divorce robs you of a helpmate at your time of greatest need.
Don’t choose divorce because everyone is doing it. A million marriages a year end in divorce court, but because the trail is well worn doesn’t mean that it is necessarily the right way for you.
Avoid words that make separation inevitable. The very mention of the word “divorce” in an argument can shatter the fragile bond of marriage. Its repeated use will certainly destroy even the strongest union.
Don’t allow one mate to precipitate the split through extreme actions. One partner will sometimes behave so inconsiderately that the other is forced to ask for a separation. Then the inconsiderate partner can claim that it was the other’s idea. The best bet is for the abused partner to stand up for the marriage, calling the bluff of the other partner.
Never talk to a divorce lawyer unless both sides are serious. Even an innocent request for legal definitions by one mate can send both partners into warring camps.
Don’t be lured by the glamour of divorce. Today’s pop culture abounds with couples who have made fresh and constructive starts after shedding their previous mates. In the glitter of their personal successes as actors, entertainers, or sports heroes, the divorces of these stars seem to be a beacon of hope to others. Most of these new marriages are successful, however, only if both partners work very hard at making them so.
The results of a survey of psychiatrists concerning divorce among their patients:
Who starts divorce proceedings? In 21 % of the cases, the man; in 30%, the women. About half of the couples feel instigation was about even.
A majority (54 %) claim their second marriages are happier than their first.
Roughly half of the couples say feelings of regret about the divorce are evenly divided. Almost 20% of the men experience the most regrets, while almost 30% of the women do.
Following divorce, 85 % of the men had sex with a new partner within six months. Almost half the women waited 6 to 12 months.
More than half the married women polled in another survey have considered divorce at one time or another. Reasons for not following through: (1) Fear that the split would hurt the children. (2) Belief that the marriage would get better. Major sources of marital stress: Money, children, sex.
Divorce Without Lawyers’ Fees
Divorce settlements by professional mediators are increasingly being used as more couples recognize it as a practical alternative to long-drawn-out, expensive litigation.
A mediator is a well-trained, objective third party who can help a couple go their separate ways in a civilized fashion.
The fees are usually a fraction of the cost of legal fees.
It usually takes a few days. Then the agreement is approved by a judge. The parties know almost immediately where they stand.
To find a competent mediator:
American Arbitration Association is a conciliation-and-mediation-service department, often part of a community’s family-court system.
Women’s Educational Level and Divorce
The more years of postgraduate education a woman has, the greater her chance of divorce.
Figures from one study:
The divorce rate for women with one year of graduate work is approximately 15 %.
For those with two or more years of advanced education, the rate is 19 % .
Comparison: About 10% of married female college graduates end up divorced.
Most precarious: A highly educated black woman and her husband, particularly if he is less educated.
Highest divorce rate (21 %): Surprisingly, any woman with less than a high school education.
Impact Of Divorce On Careers
A troublesome divorce saps executives of initiative and diminishes their skills. Consequences: Failing to recognize the emotional trauma of divorce may result in job loss or financial failure.
Roughest period: The first year of the divorce proceedings. Psychologists’ advice: Ask for a less demanding job, at least for the time the divorce is being contested. If you own the company, delegate more authority to key employees (which also helps their development).
One-fifth of executives in top echelons of major corporate hierarchies are divorced.