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50% of Marriages Ends up in Divorce, Is It That Hard to Save a Marriage?

50% of Marriages Ends up in Divorce, Is It That Hard to Save a Marriage?

Do you know that around 50% of marriages in the US ends up in divorce? There’s also an alarming increase of second-time marriages. It looks like a lot of married couples are in a relationship crisis, but why then couples counseling is still something that sounds like a taboo to many? Why hasn’t it been widely accepted yet?

Compared to others, the divorce rate is 5.2% higher in the 40 to 50 age group, in which most of the divorces were initiated by women, according to a study done by by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This may be because of the increased tendency of women seeking higher education degrees and better-paid jobs[1]. And this may also because of a more open mindset towards ending a marriage due to different reasons such as domestic violence.

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Although getting divorced is easier now, not all couples want to end their relationships just like that. In fact, many choose to give their relationship another chance by seeking help from others – couples counseling.

Seeking couples counseling services is giving your relationship another chance.

The reason why the divorce rate is high among the couples aged 40 to 50 is that they’ve reached reached a point in life where routine becomes a killer. The sparks’ gone because of different struggles they’re dealing with in the family and possibly in their lives. Here are some signs that maybe it’s time to consider asking for help:

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  • When communication is, overall, negative: You don’t talk, you just spend half of your time arguing over the weather, money, kids, your broken car, your work troubles and even your neighbors’ new lawn mower. Everything can become a reason to start a heated argument.
  • When you start losing trust: Relationships are built upon trust, and when that starts to quake, you start to question even the stupidest things that can come across your mind, like how and when did that new friend showed up, since when that new hobby started to take that much interest, etc.
  • When you feel the need to keep secrets: Of course we all have our personal stuff that we prefer not to talk about, but when you feel that you need to keep things from your partner, then it’s a sign that things aren’t working the way they should.
  • When there are severe financial differences: Some of the essential aspects of marriages rely on a good financial management. If one wants to start saving money for retirement and the other spends more from what’s making in a month’s salary, and the tendency doesn’t change over months (or even years), then probably it’s time to seek advice someplace else.
  • When there is no intimacy: No one expects marriages to be like the first year over time [2] as people change, responsibilities show up, and we tend to get accustomed to the same things – meaning that the initial spark may be lost. But if now you don’t even kiss each other goodbye, then something else is going on here.
  • When you live separate lives: To put this in a few words, you share a roof, and that’s all. If even your roommate in college was more aware of your routine and things that went on in your life than your spouse, something’s not quite right in your relationship.

If you can relate to one to two of the above signs, then it’s time to sit down and talk about your relationship with your partner.[3] If you can identify more than four of the above signs with your marriage, you should book a session of couples counseling soon. There is still time to fix things if you love each other.

To save your relationship, let the counselor help you. But your effort counts too.

Pick a therapist that really suits you and your partner.

Referral is the best way to find a professional that suits you and your partner. Either a friend who went through the same as you do at the moment, or your parents, or a co-worker you trust, or your doctor, etc. can give a helping hand to find the person who can set a middle-ground to your constant quarrels or a lack of affection.

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But be sure your therapist’s opinion isn’t biased towards keeping a marriage no matter what because sometimes, there is no viable way to make a relationship work if the differences are way too many. Also, make sure the therapist is someone who’s neutral when it comes to helping your relationship. A friend of one of the spouses definitely isn’t a good choice. You don’t want a biased opinion that can make the relationship worse than before.

Always remember the good times.

One doesn’t simply marry another person because they see each other in the street, fall in love immediately and then tie the knot; there is so much more behind each love story.[4] Think of the first date you two had, a memorable moment while you were dating, a gift you loved, and bring them along to the therapy session.

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Sometimes, the only reason why a therapy works is that the counselor helps us to talk [5] – yes, talk – without being afraid of what our spouse may say. The counselor is there to help, to make your other half understand your feelings and to help you to understand what your spouse thinks about your relationship.

Commitment is the key.

A healthy marriage takes two,[6] nothing is going to change if both people aren’t willing to work together.

If you get to the point that one believes seeking therapy to mend the relationship is a waste of time, then it’s probably best to move on with your life.[7]

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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