Although divorce rates are still rather high, statistics show that couples are staying together longer than they were thirty years ago. Does this mean that couple’s relationships are getting better? Not really, there are several reasons that contribute to this change, none of which directly relates to a couple’s satisfaction in their marriage. The following are reasons that the divorce rate has decreased.
Parents always hope that their children learn from the mistakes that they have made and this seems to be the case with divorce. Many adults are the product of divorced households and have learned more about relationships from their parents than we may realize. Although we may think that a person who grew up with divorced parents may value the institution of marriage less, this is often not the case. These adults have experienced what it is like for children to go through the divorce of their parents and are more determined not to put their children through this as well. This may lead to them enduring an unhappy relationship longer just for the children. On the other hand, some adult children of divorce look at marriage as being doomed and decide not to get married. These individuals stay single or choose to be in relationships in which marriage is not an end goal, and therefore do not add to the statistics of marriage and divorce.
Times are different now as well. Where as before it was expected that a person would be married during their late teens to early twenties, many people choose not to marry till they are in their thirties nowadays. For some people this means that they are clearer about what they want, who they are, and are more able to engage in a mature relationship. Other people decide to date longer to make sure they have found the right person and to be better able to determine if it will last or they wait in order to get all the “partying” out of their system and settle down.
No matter the reason why marriages are lasting longer, the fact is still that these marriages are not necessarily any happier. It takes work to not only survive in a marriage but to make it thrive. The problem is that it is very difficult to step outside of ourselves in order to be objective enough to really see how we are contributing to the issues in our relationships and to interact with our partners from a place of understanding and not defensiveness. This is where the marriage counselor comes in. It is the job of the marriage counselor to be the objective observant and to hold (metaphorical) mirrors up to each person in order for them to see how they are contributing to the relationship. A marriage counselor should also look at the strengths in your relationship and help you to build and strengthen your relationship from them. Now that we are deciding to stay in our relationships longer, it is time to make them happier as well!!