Monday, June 16, 2014

The Silent Marriage Killer

Monday, June 16, 2014
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Let's be honest, the divorce rate in America is ridiculously high. About 50%. It seems like at least once a week we hear about some famous couple getting a divorce. The most common reason? Irreconcilable differences. Most of the time, what this means to me is the couple grew apart and just doesn't get along anymore.

So, are those of us that do get married and think our love will last forever just kidding ourselves? Are we just being hopeless romantics doomed for failure? I don't think so, but I think there are some things we need to realize. I think what we all need to realize (and I would do well to remember) is that relationships take work. Sometimes a lot of work. Fairy tales and romantic comedies don't usually dive into happily ever after. Happily ever afters do exist, it just takes effort. It's not this magical thing that happens once you get married that means you'll never fight, or that you'll never have to work on yourself or your marriage.
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I think what happens to most couples is that they feel like they've "grown apart". But what does that mean? How does it happen? Think about it in terms of friends from high school. You probably have some friends from high school that you don't really talk to anymore for no other reason than you went in different directions. Different schools, different jobs, whatever. But you probably have some friends that you still have from high school that went in a different direction, but you've remained close, or at least friends. So, what's the difference? Either one or both of you did or did not put forth any effort into the relationship by calling, emailing, texting, writing, etc. It's that simple. We make excuses for it, but it is what it is. We did not put forth enough effort to continue to get to know our friends and the relationship faltered.The same thing can happen in marriage in an emotional level.

A complaint often heard is, "he's/she'snot the same man/woman I married. Well of course not! I for one hope I have changed after 1 year, let alone 5, 10, or 20. I am not the same person I was a year ago and that's a good thing. The hard part is making sure you and your spouse are growing together. While it's true that people change, growing apart can be prevented. Depending on your situation, this could be super simple, or require a little more effort. But basically, take time to get to know your spouse. I know some people who like to have "interviews" with their kids as they're growing up to keep in touch and up to date with their kids ever changing and growing favorites, opinions, goals, and dreams.

Just we've hit adulthood doesn't mean we've automatically hit the brakes on evolving. We are changing each and everyday. Make sure to keep up to date with your spouse as well with your kids. If it takes having a scheduled "interview" with your spouse then do it! Take time to really listen and pay attention to each other. Remember you were dating and one of the things the magazines would tell you to do was to bring up something that you talked about previously? Like, hey how did your game go? Well, why should that stop? Just because you live together doesn't mean that you know everything that goes on. Try your best to remember details from previous conversations and bring them up later. Not only will it show that you care, but it will help deepen your understanding of each other.

 Monthly or weekly date nights will help with this problem as well, though make sure you have time to talk on your date nights and aren't just going to the movies every time and not taking time to talk before and after. If you and your spouse are both attached to your cell phones and tablets, take time to unplug together and just really focus on each other. And no mean on each other. Kids are very important, but take in these special moments together try to not talk about the kids and their accomplishments. This is time to continue to learn about your ever changing and evolving spouse, not your children. You and your spouse should be consistently learning new things about each other. I know sometimes with other time commitments it can be hard to find the time. But find it, isn't your marriage worth it?
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