When gays started getting married in droves some years back, there was much discussion of how this would solve all of our collective problems.
HIV/AIDS, cheating spouses, promiscuity would all disappear or so we were lead to believe.
With enough courage and the claiming of very understandable rights, we would all get the benefits of straights and none of the drama.
One thing that was magically overlooked is the possibility of the dreaded “D”.
With the option of Marriage comes the convenience of Divorce.
Many pollyannas want to believe that you shouldn’t bring up this possibility. That mentioning this option makes it more likely that someone will take it.
Anyone who has ever considered or been married knows that this is a possibility. Using it as an escape clause or to win an argument is something different.
I know several couples who never married and are beyond committed to each other.
I also know many married people who obligatorily and brutally stay in relationships hoping the other one dies or runs of with someone so that they don’t have to take the blame for a fucked up union.
And here’s the good news …
There is a grown-up approach that can make your marraige Divorce-Proof.
If what you want is a great and not perfect relationship that is constantly growing and in no way approaching a court mandated splitting of assets, I have put together a list of three traits that I have seen in powerful relationships regardless of the sex, age, religion or beliefs of the involved parties.
1. Communication – People get this confused and it is often misunderstood. Everybody is always communicating all the time. We communicate our deepest fears and thoughts via our behavior. My brilliant acting coach, Colette Duvall, used to tell us: the subconscious always reads. The way powerful and constantly growing couples communicate is unique and individual and in many cases is often being changed while its participants allow their needs to change. All of the couples I know who are deeply committed to staying and growing in love have a particular way that they speak to one another. Many couples create, over time, their own short hand and ways to communicate without speaking. Being emotionally aware and highly attuned to our own needs makes us that more wise when tending to those of another. A tough day for me requires a long hot bath before I can connect to my husband. We both know this and allow for personal care before reaching out to care for one another. We have developed our own love language.
2. Appreciation – It always amazes me that people get so comfortable with another that they permit blindness to distort all that is around them. Beds don’t make themselves. Dishes don’t wash themselves and kids certainly don’t prepare themselves for dinner, complete homework and pack bookbags by magic. These things require that someone take charge and make sure that these things happen. It doesn’t matter who does it or who does it better. The most important thing is that someone gets acknowledged. Don’t wait for your partner to launch the appreciation train, start first with a short list of three things that make a difference in both of your lives. Here are a few personal examples to get you you going. I appreciate that you have fresh coffee when I wake up. I appreciate that we face the tough shit together. I appreciate it when you listen without interupting, fixing or advising.
3. Having a world that is all yours – You might assume that being married means being joined at the hip for every activity, thought or desire. Everything does not require a discussion, a vote and a consensus. Being passionate about a cause or a hobby is what will give you new life that in turn will give your relationship new life. Having a world that is all yours is about discovering or continuing to discover what brings you joy outside of the relationship. What makes your heart sing. When are you at your most passionate and powerful? This is what probably attracted you to your significant other initially. Why do we allow ourselves to believe that love is all encompassing in a very self-sacrificing and demented way. When you met your wonderful significant other, what gave you life, lit you up and made you feel alive? Did you meet in a writer’s group? A save the porcupine’s march? Show up for a meeting about saving our children from gun violence? These issues don’t disappear because you have a smart, funny, sexy welcome distraction. The world still needs your gifts, passion and commitment if great books are to be shared with the world, porcupines still need a warm resting place and children are afraid to go to school.
But here’s the most important part…
Relationships die because the people in them die.
It is very easy to blame the other for your personal lack of motivation. It is more difficult to be honest about why your life sucks and what you can do to move it out of shitsville. Writing, reading and thinking are my favorite past times and yet when I met and began dating the man I married, so much time was spent together that often the writing was put off and in some instances not gotten to at all.
When I found myself bored with the relationship, I quickly realized I wasn’t bored with the relationship, I was bored with me.
I was not creating, thinking or challenging myself in any artistic way and was now suffering the consequences.
After recognizing my flawed thinking and designing a course of action, I began writing a great deal and was able to rejuvenate my life and my marriage. I discovered my passion and then attacked it.
I got very honest and then held myself to that honesty in ways that provided several opportunities to make some different choices and in turn, pump new life into my marriage.
If this all sounds crazy, remember this…
More than 50% of marriages end in divorce and many of the other 50% are limping about on life support waiting to be put out of their misery.
Don’t let your marriage become a statistic.
Ask yourself: Am I communicating or assuming I know enough to not pay attention to what’s being shared? Have I offered unsolicited appreciation? Do I stoke the fires of a world I created and loved prior to my relationship?