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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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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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