- Gender and Relationships»
Predicting the Life of Your Marriage
Over half of all marriages in the United States end in Divorce.
Most relationships don't last.
Some collapse fairly early, others limp along for decades, some have the traumatic denouement when suddenly one person decides s/he wants out.
To pretend your relationship is 'different' is to set yourself up for the major heart break.
To enter marriage, hoping for the best, but knowing that it might not last will, at least, give you a bit of option.
The Old Days
In ancient days, most marriages
were arranged. Families got
together and matched up their
children, looking at every other
feature but love.
In the old days, love was like an oak tree, which takes decades to grow.
These marriages lasted because the families had vested interests in making
For example, seventy years ago, if the family learned the husband might be seeing someone else, they'd march to his work place or wherever he happened to be, and make a situation.
The wife might be protected from the revelation, for the affair ended before it began.
Today, no one seems to know anything about the private life of others. People get caught at the worst possible times in the most ridiculous places, and it leads to one of those semi-comedic (if you're a passer-by) performances.
This is because today, a married couple in the West, is on their own. They rarely can get relatives to 'interfere' as it is known.
Further, often the other males in the family are having their own affairs, so there are few who can muster 'righteous indignation'.
Sometimes the affair is simply a symptom of a relationship which isn't working.
Common Mistakes - 1
The most common mistake which leads to broken or unhappy relationships is the
"Us Against The World."
Firstly, the emotional tearing when parents disown children who marry outside of
the bounds may at first, push the two closer together. But over time the stress of
having to be all things to the other person, of needing the other to be
mother/father/sister/brother, is really too much burden.
Sometimes the parties stay together in defiance, but have long since ceased
to love each other.
Where the husband beats the wife or is unfaithful, she has no family to run back
to. She is imprisoned in the relationship, and to admit the marriage was a mistake
is seen as defeat.
Very few of these 'rebel' marriages last, even less last with love.
Common Mistakes 2
The second major mistake is to give up your life to take on the other persons.
This is almost as bad as the first mistake, as one becomes dependent on the other.
That is the Other who has a Life.
If you never had a career or the thoughts of one, if you never really had a life, fine.
But if you had friends, activities, a career, a world before you got married, to lose it
with marriage, creates regret.
It is very likely that feeling unfulfilled, feeling helpless, you will take it out on the marriage. For marriage can not fill every aspect of your life.
Common Mistakes -3
The third major mistake is in not understanding how much time one or both of the
parties need to spend outside of the marriage.
Two busy career people have to fit the marriage into their schedules.
Hence, that romantic dinner may be cancelled at the last minute, that planned trip
may have to be postponed. Then, of course, comes the situation where one is
being transferred far away and the other will have to give up his or her life to follow.
To make it either/or is not going to lead to success.
The woman who gives up her career to stay home and take care of children, will, unless she can work online or is writing a book or indulging her artistic talent, soon become frustrated.
The man who turns down that promotion because his wife can't leave the city will begin to see her as destroying his life.
Common Mistake 4
The fourth problem is the lack of communication.
This is what causes most marriages to collapse. There are not that many unresolved mixed marriages, not that many cases in which there is an either/or.
Most marriages fall apart because there is no communication.
Many people are talking, but they are not communicating. The wife doesn't realise how important the car is to the husband, he doesn't realise how much a particular action
Instead of making it clear before the marriage what is and is not important, instead of communicating honestly, the parties prefer to stew.
They prefer to answer a question; "It's Okay" or "Nothing" when they should be giving the long detailed version of their grievance.
In many cases when the marriage collapses, the other party is totally unaware of how much something meant to the spouse. S/he stands there, hearing for the first time that the other felt 'stifled' 'imprisoned' 'neglected'.
For none of these things ever arose in conversation, even when opportunities were presented, time and again.
Common Mistake - 5
The Fifth is the ranking of 'friends'. There are some people who will literally die for
their friends, and are physically incapable of saying; "This is a bad time," or
"I can't do that" , or in any way 'let down' the friend.
When the person is 'our' friend, and both are concerned, that is not a problem.
The problem is when Jacky is your friend and you have to go to your friend and
leave your spouse, to go to your friend.
You can't leave your spouse for a friend. You might as well tattoo a big '2' on his/her forehead.
You don't give up your friends when you marry, but you have to prioritise. If this
can not be done than the marriage will be.
Common Mistakes -6
Sixth, is the money matter. Some people save every cent, others spend as if there's a money tree in the backyard.
For some money is their definition, for others, it's a rate of exchange.
Before you get engaged, before you have sex, find out what money means to the other.
Sure, there are lots of Gold diggers out there; pretty women who run down ugly men who have money, ugly women who buy attractive men to be their hubbies.
Is that you?
Are you marrying Little Lord Smaddy because he is Lord Smaddy? If so then read the pre-nup carefully and give yourself a lot of space because it is hard to live with someone you don't love.
Are you virtually buying him? Then plan how you intend to keep him. For Kept men tend to steal love on the side.
When you get married with the blessings of your family, and maintain the
relationships and expand them so that it is not 'Us Against The World' you are
taking the first step to insuring a working relationship.
Your families become your support networks. Don't feel you are betraying trust
when you ask for help. Young couples need as much help as they can get, and
getting it from the family is the right place.
Maintaining your identity is another. Some women don't take their husband's name
or quit their job, or make their change of status a change in their world. This
means that the situation before the marriage continues, to some extent, after the
The marriage fits into your life, your life doesn't fit into the marriage.
You can't marry an up and coming and expect him or her to become a has been.
You must enter the relationship knowing how much time you or your spouse has
to devote to their job and be easy with it.
You can't see the job as a rival or feel hurt that your wife couldn't go with you to
that dinner because she was the guest speaker somewhere else. You have to
take pride in each other's accomplishments.
If something bothers you, this is not the UN, say it. Blunt, straight with feeling.
Make it clear. Don't opt for, 'It's okay", with tears in your eyes, or "Doesn't Matter",
when you're ready to scream.
These mixed signals don't help. If it is Not Okay say it loud and clear.
If it matters, say that with all the force you can muster.
You can't attack someone for doing something that you said was 'Okay.'
When it comes to friends, make the boundaries as clear as if you've put up a
fence. If you've a few that need to ring you up every other minute with their
problems, shut off the cell, or put it on voice mail.
Sure, you'll 'let them down' if they are that selfish and needy, but they'll learn to
turn to someone else.
When it comes to money, psycho-analyse yourself. How do you feel about it?
Do you need to have $X at all times to feel 'safe'? Or are you unaware how
much money is in your wallet now?
Be alert to signs of 'cheapness' or the inability to save in the other. Bring it up as
a pre-marriage discussion. If you match on finances it is likely you'll match in other
areas as well.