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Why are so many couples splitting?

Relationships
 Why are so many couples splitting? (Photo: iStock)

Hi Chris,

Several of my friends have divorced, even though I thought they had everything going for them. Why do couples split up so much these days? How can I avoid their problems?

Worried Wife

Chris says,

Hi Worried Wife!

The hardest part of marriage is finding the right partner. Someone who makes you feel good and who is loving, trustworthy, faithful and supportive. So, assuming you have done that, how do you keep the relationship going?

Because it is not the obvious things that break up couples. Issues like infidelity, money and in-laws cause huge unhappiness, but most couples fix them. It is the small problems that lead to divorce. That started so small that you can’t remember how they began. But gradually they escalate, until you don’t know how to talk to each other anymore and the fights become endless.

For example, the inevitable differences in your backgrounds and personalities gradually become annoying as the years go by. So you need to recognise that your partner’s point of view is just as valid as your own. And to respect and enjoy your differences, just like you did when you first met.

You also need to tell each other all your likes, dislikes, desires and dreams. And to be able to talk about anything, including when one of you is goofed up. And that will only happen if both of you become truly supportive listeners. Give each other a hard time over something, no matter how small, and the ‘no-go’ areas will gradually grow until you are hardly talking at all.

Marriages also go through a predictable life cycle: honeymoon, children, mid-life crisis, empty nest and retirement. And at each stage, we have to change. So if either of you becomes resistant to change, or stops noticing that the other is changing, then you’ll soon be in trouble.

Above all, you must give each other enough of your time to be intimate. And enough space for their interests and friends.

Get the small things like this right, add in enough mutual support, respect and affection, and you will be together forever.

All the best,

Chris

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