“Well, you know the statistics. I’m not sure why you’re so shocked. I mean, what you and T have is rare, it almost never happens. You really shouldn’t be surprised.” She declared to me after telling me about the 7th divorce amongst our friends.
I recently attended a graduate school reunion. We grew ten years older. I was guilty of narrowing my world to a speck compared to what it was before I had children and before I moved out of the city. My life had become so simple that I had forgotten that life moves quickly. The fact that life often takes sharp, unexpected turns and downward spirals slipped my mind.
I had to use two hands to count the number of divorces since we graduated in 2006. I suppose out of a class of nearly 100, that is below the average divorce statistic of 40-50%.
My eyes glazed over, I gaped across the table listening to friends laugh and tell joyful stories while my mind circled thoughts about life’s path. Once I decided my celebration of old friends had come to an end for the night, I walked back to my hotel. On the way home I pondered the “whys” of failed marriage. I explored the “hows” of successful, even thriving, marriages. Certainly, luck must be part of it.
What makes my relationship different? What enables a couple to be “in it for the long haul”.
12 Reasons Why Marriages Survive and Thrive
Here are my conclusions based on the “happily married” in my life (including myself):
- Marry for companionship
- Solid foundation with two feet planted firmly the ground
- Share a vision for life, for parenting, and for what it means to love
- Open communication about the good, the bad, and the ugly
- Room to be flexible with life’s plans
- Be the backbone and support your partner, but also take the support
- Constant reminders of why you fell in love and why you fell in love
- Willingness to accept the most challenging days and work through those difficult moments
- Don’t let children come between you
- Embrace the evolving definition of intimacy in your relationship
- Spontaneity goes a long way
- Laugh until your cry at least once a week
Life’s sharp turns and downward spirals are not always a terrible circumstance. Typically a life bigger and better emerges from that chaos. I must hold onto that idea. I can’t stand in shock among friends divorced for a myriad of reasons and fail to see the silver lining. I will, however, never take the fortunate I have in my own life with my own marriage for granted. Do the same. Grab hold and don’t let go.
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