Monday, November 9, 2009

Relationships strengthen during times of hardship... or is it that they just can't afford to get divorced?

I've been reading article upon article about how the divorce rate in this country is expected to be the lowest since 1970, and every source claims that it is simply due to the fact that couples cannot afford to go through the costly legal process of divorce. Supporting two separate family dwellings is certainly more expensive than one, but are we really this detached from one another that we can't fathom or promote another reason for couples staying together during these hard times?

I propose that there is a sector of the population that may have been unhappy enough to divorce, and may even still be able to find reasons to divorce their partner, but have kicked into survival mode instead. Whether they have rekindled, forgiven, or are simply tolerating their spouse, aren't some of these couples making it work?

I have friends who fit into the too expensive to divorce category, or so they say. I believe that in times of trouble, we are inclined to hold on to what is dearest to us. I believe that we stay connected to friends and family more, not ignore the human desire to belong.

What authority do I have to back up my theories? I have been married three times, divorced twice, and certainly know the difference between a happy relationship and a not so happy one. I have seen friends marry for the wrong reasons, and people who are not happy stay together. Being a suburban mom, I see couples everyday who are most likely keeping it together for the kids, but for money? I think not. Money is a crutch, it's an excuse.

I expect more from the people of this country. They may be afraid to start again. They may have insecurities about who would take them in their less than "young, single, and beautiful" state, but they still have an innate need to love and be loved. Humans are capable and exceptional beings. We can create the happiness we so desperately lack, if we choose to employ those skills. Some of us just need a reminder. So why do we focus on the negative, instead of facilitating a happy relationship?

A non-profit group in Arkansas called FamilyLife offered a free marriage counseling conference for people who had recently lost their jobs. Their intention was to give these people an option to letting the stress of unemployment and financial crisis break up their marriages. ONE positive article among PAGES of Google results. They wanted to empower these couples to again commit to being a team and getting through this time TOGETHER. Kudos!

Many of the men and women I meet really love their spouses. They may hold resentments for indiscretions, but ultimately they have proven to me that we are a compassionate species. Many of our upbringings have led us to a limited view of what a committed relationship looks like. We have suggested it is merely a way for two people to achieve success in worldly acquisitions. Marriage has become a business. We have forgotten the emotion in the relationship between partners. We fear sexuality, we fear our partner's needs for sexuality, thus creating a huge space between us. Sometimes, all we need is to reconnect on a level that is pure. Experience the emotions of love and elation. Take the time to feel instead of judge. Forget the money, the stress, the bills, and be thankful and present in who you are, and what your relationships bring to you. Ask everything of you partner, and be open to giving them everything in return.

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