If you’ve read the recent news, you know that one of America’s hottest celebrity couples are calling it quits. It’s actually old news already.Even though Hollywood is notorious for tumultuous breakups and divorce, it was surprising when Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, a couple who appeared in love with each other and their growing clan as much as they were with the charitable causes that were close to their hearts, decided to end their marriage.
So why after twelve years of togetherness did their relationship end so shortly after tying the knot?
It’s not uncommon to see couples who live together, even parent together for years suddenly split after short periods of time after saying “I Do”. Whether you know some of these couples personally or are among this growing list of statistics yourself, you probably wonder what went so wrong.It’s actually rather simple if you consider the expectations that go along with marriage. There are not only emotional ties, there are legal ties as well, and promises and vows that many willingly make but cannot live up to. And, we’re not just marrying one person. We marry into families and ones we may not like very much.
Do so many marriages end because we’re so uncommitted or more that marriage and vowing forever is unrealistic at best? And you have to consider too, that the fear factor rises tremendously when we think of forever.
Let me be clear. I believe in love and marriage. I believe in monogamy and commitment. I believe in growing together as a couple and reaching new heights of passion and devotion. I am all for having children and building happy families. And yet, I am divorced more than once.
You have to consider that when we step into “happily ever after”, we can’t possibly know what lies ahead. Also, our expectations become different as husband and wife than our previous relationship as boyfriend and girlfriend. Almost instantly, expectations and demands go up significantly after we exchange rings and we look more closely and critically at our partners and begin to dislike the things we fell in love with in the first place. Add children to that mix and we become responsible and sacrifice things we never thought we could or would.
Marriage can be a wonderful lifetime connection if a couple is committed to growing together and spending the time and attention it takes to peak each other’s interest. But just like anything else that we let fall by the wayside, a relationship cannot exist without being nurtured. And a lot of people lose sight of that and become overly relaxed, inconsiderate and non-compliant.
I remember when I dated my second husband to be, one who I could have dated endlessly and had the greatest relationship with, we had so much fun together. He clearly showed some questionable concerns regarding husband material, right after we married. I had high expectations and a black and white picture of what our relationship should look like and ours was a disaster in living color. It ended rather quickly. When I look back to our early days together, I remember after several dates, he turned to me and said, “Let’s promise each other that we never have to impress one another”. “What?!”, I responded. “We should always commit to impressing each other!” The discussion ended there, but it was clear we thought about relationships very differently. In addition, I wasn’t privy to the information and tools about relationships that I have today.
I have clients who share with me the disconnection and disappointment with their spouses and their partner’s lack of interest in working on things that need resolution. Also, people are told by their friends that “marriage is hard”, and so many people buy into that belief, which creates a self-fulfilling prophecy that many people resign to.
And finally, is marriage too restricting?? Sleeping in the same room and bed night after night when one or both is angry or when we simply want a little space? Do we have to endure sleepless nights when our spouse snores the likes of a construction site or when we’re temperature incompatible and one of us has to freeze while the other sweats, later hiding from shame when the kids or neighbors judge us for sleeping on the couch?
I believe marriages have to be approached on a case by case basis. Which means, we can be happily married by our own rules and not have to rigidly follow what’s expected of us in a marriage. As long as both parties agree, everything can be tweaked without making negative meaning about what others expect.
Most of all, we must take responsibility for our own behavior, choices and actions and accept that we co-create the relationship we have with our spouse. All relationships look differently when seen from different perspectives and we have to respect that our perspective is not the only one.
So, can marriage change a happy relationship for the worse?
Yes. But only when we let it. And only when we adhere to vows that are unreasonable at best and feel that we are imprisoned with no way out. The out shouldn’t be leaving the marriage, but instead an opened path to feeling heard and understood when things get really tough. We need to have outlets and support to be able to resolve things quickly and get back on track. And when we do then marriage can make a relationship extraordinary, sacred and blessed.
If you want to make your relationship one that makes you happy and fulfilled, then contact me and request a free consultation.