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Is Divorce Inevitable?

Jada B. Hudson, LCPC

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In a world of online dating, shows called Married at First Sight, and Millennials getting married later, it’s clear that the institution of marriage means something different today than it did when Grandma Lucille met Grandpa Harry in 1946.


Time author, Belinda Luscombe, explains, “Matrimony used to be an institution people entered out of custom, duty, or a need to procreate. Now that it’s become a technology-assisted endeavor that has been delayed until conditions are at their most optimal, it needs to deliver better-quality benefits.  Most of us think this one relationship should- and could- provide the full buffet of satisfaction, intimacy, support, stability, happiness, and sexual exhilaration.  And, if it’s not up to the task, it’s quicker and cheaper than ever to unsubscribe.”


Some psychologists theorize that shifting technological, cultural, and economic influences have shaped Americans’ perception of marriage and made the picture of singlehood more attractive.  Others believe that both partners working outside the home has dis-unified couples by providing each individual with separate social circles and stressors.  Still others believe that couples stay together until they reach the “Empty Nest Years” out of desire to provide the best opportunities to their children.  This, with social media’s ever-connected-to-friends nature, has made it so that couples can find support and conversation outside the home.


Psychology professor Eli Finkel of Northwestern University found that Americans view marriage today as both the most and the least satisfying institution that has ever been.  But, what if “satisfaction” is the wrong pursuit?  What if, by asking marriage to satisfy us, we’re asking it to do something it can never succeed at?


During working years, couples fill their schedules with meetings, kids’ sports practices, social outings, and corporate functions, finding satisfaction in work, achievement, and social connection.  How, then, can they be satisfied and develop marriages that survive. Here are four keys to finding marital satisfaction again:


Commit to stick it out.  One study of 700 elderly adults found that 100% of them called their long marriage “the best thing in their life.” It also found that 100% of them either stated that marriage was either “hard” or “very, very hard.”  Yet, studies have also shown that couples who are committed to one another for the long-run actually find a new kind of sweetness to their relationship.  If they are willing to practice being good to one another, they begin to rediscover and live at the same level of sweetness they had during their courtship.


Develop or discover mutual interests.  Think of activities you both enjoy doing together and do them as often as possible.  When you can connect over shared interests, your relationship will be able to endure an innumerable amount of changes from the outside.


Keep up your sex life.  When comparing couples who have sex once a week to couples who have sex less than once a month, the happiness level of the frequently-intimate was almost three times higher!  Sex will make your relationship sweeter, as you allow intimacy into your relationship.


Find something meaningful to do with your personal time.  Don’t ask your spouse to satisfy your every need.  Fill your days with satisfying activity, and invite your spouse to join in, if he/she wishes.


Start by shifting your focus from getting satisfaction out of your marriage to finding a connection within your marriage.

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