Right now, are you fed-up enough to wish you were divorced?
Is it a day when everything seems wrong including your choice of a mate? What happened to “… and they lived happily ever after”?
Before you start an internet search on divorce, I’d like to suggest a few questions to ask yourself, and then offer a few facts for you to consider.
1 What was special about you that attracted that your spouse? Have you lost that quality?
2 What drew you to the person you said, or say, you love? What’s changed?
3 Have you gone from “we” and “our”, or “me” and “mine”? When did it change?
4 When did you last talk to your spouse about that person’s memories, or favorite songs, or dreams or concerns? Do you only talk to each other as if you were functions: “Did you pick up the dry cleaning? Get the car’s oil changed? Make an appointment with the dentist?”
5 What is each of you doing on a daily basis to nurture your relationship?
Answering these questions might help you see why good times are slipping away, but more importantly, answering thoughtfully might help you rediscover why your marriage is special and worth your creative and forgiving energy. Yes, this assumes that the relationship is not abusive, or full of high conflict, or dangerous. Toxic marriages should end.
You may think this is a bad example, but the dull, daily products that you use like laundry soap are periodically promoting “new and improved”. It’s laundry soap!!! But they want you to look at it as if it were something special, new, better. They put a lot of marketing muscle into refreshing your relationship with Soapsuds to keep you married to their product. They put energy into getting you to care about Soapsuds. And what level of energy and creativity do you put into making your relationship feel “first kiss fresh”?
Any of us can get worn down by the details of running our very high demand lives, by the worries, by unkind words, and by annoying habits. But who would you be, what would your relationship be, if you could dump your reaction to what has felt so abrasive? What if you could reclaim what was special about your spouse, about you as a couple?
Byron Katie teaches four simple questions that can help you reframe statements like: “My spouse never listens to me.” Take a look at “The Four Questions” on www.thework.com. They are so simple and can really release you from narrow perceptions.
Many people feel divorce is very scary. It is. It is generally a financially, psychologically, spiritually and socially wrenching event that reverberates for the rest of your life.
Consider these facts:
One in five women falls into poverty as a result of divorce. (T.S. Grall (2003) Custodial mothers and fathers and their child support: 2003 (Current Population Reports, Series P60-230). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.)
After the divorce, men experience a 10% to 40% decline in their standard of living. (L.C. Sayer (2006) Economic aspects of divorce and relationship dissolution. In M. A. Fine and J. Harvey (Eds.) Handbook of divorce and relationship dissolution (pp.385-406). Mahwah, NJ: Laurence Erlbaum.
Three out of four divorced mothers don’t receive full payment of child support. (Ibid. Grall).
The poverty rate for children of single parents is 35% and for married parents only 8%.
Uncontested, amicable divorces might cost about $2,000, but if you are both fighting for whatever you think is your share, the share for your attorneys might be in excess of $15,000.
If you are struggling now, would the conditions just described be better? Is divorce better? Probably not, according to Professor Linda J. Waite, who with Maggie Gallagher, has written a pioneering study, The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better off Financially. Professor Waite reports that “when adults who said they were unhappily married in the late 1980s were interviewed again five years later, those who had divorced were on average still unhappy or even less happy, while those who stayed in their marriages on average had
moved past the bad times and were at a happier stage.” (“Healthy, Wealthy, & Wed”, Amy M. Braverman, University of Chicago Magazine, October 2003, V. 96, Issue 1.)
Wouldn’t it make a difference for you if there were some wise voices that could share how they got through some tough times? Look for these people.
We may be a throw away society about electronic gadgets and all kinds of stuff, but people are not throw away items. What if you and your spouse were able to say everyday something like: “One thing I like about you is…” One thing you did that I thought was really nice was…”? Try stating these truths. You’ll be surprised what power words like those can have to reclaim the best of what is in each of you, and in your marriage. Each wedding anniversary will then be a tribute to your ability to love, forgive and create. That’s how “happily ever after” becomes your reality.
Penelope S. Tzougros, PhD, ChFC, CLU. In all 50 states, I am registered with and securities are offered through, LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. 781 893 0909. Financial Planning is offered through Wealthy Choices® LLC and Bay Financial Associates, Inc. Both are registered investment advisors. 1 800 631 1970. Penelope@wealthychoices.com