A composite portrait of the semi-happy marriage would probably include the following characteristics. The spouses might have married their "best friends," right at the start—partners who were similar to them, and companions. Of course, that's really good news for marriage, and it can make for a very fulfilling union. How To Keep Your Relationship From Falling Apart
But it can also turn to bad news, if the marriage becomes just like any other friendship, and loses traction, a sense of mystery, or perhaps its aura of specialness in our lives. Many marriages slide from happy to semi-happy with the arrival of children, especially if spouses follow the prevailing trends of hyper-parenting and perfectionist over-parenting. All of the energy in the family funnels toward childrearing, and marriage becomes the forgotten bond of family. Semi-happy marriages—especially after children arrive—sometimes have lost their sexual energy and settled into a comfortable, companionate state. That state makes daily life comfortable, but has its obvious problems.
These semi-happy unions can be agonizingly ambiguous for the spouses themselves, and they could go either way—or, another way entirely, if the couple changes the premises of their marriage, instead of either sticking it out or divorcing. I've yet to talk to a spouse who took divorce lightly; even if they ultimately felt that it was the right decision.
Marriage Confidential isn't an advice book, and I don't believe that there are clear and easy answers. Nor do I think men and women who find themselves lost in a mildly depressed marriage should be dismissed as selfish for wondering about their marriage, or for wanting more out of their relationships, and for asking tough questions about the institution of marriage. The semi-happy among us deserve more than the advice that they suck it up and stick it out, or quit "whining." A life and a relationship is too important to trifle with like that.
Solutions for those in semi-happy marriages or for anyone looking to take their relationship from good to great can be found at the upcoming ART OF LOVE SUMMIT. This free, 11-day online virtual global gathering features 21 of the World's Leading Experts on Love, Sex and Marriage. Experts include: Dr. Helen Fisher, Deepak Chopra, Harville Hendrix & Helen LaKelly Hunt, Marianne Williamson, Dr. John Gray, David Bach, Gay & Kathlyn Hendricks, Alison Armstrong, Dr. Pat Allen, Jennifer Schneider, MD, Ph.D., Pamela Haag, Robert Gass & Judith Ansara, Dr. Jay and Julie Kent-Ferraro, Katherine Woodward Thomas, Otto & Susie Collins, and others.
Co-hosted by Arielle Ford and Claire Zammit, topics cover communication, getting your needs met, surviving betrayal, parenting, money, online infidelity, keeping the spark alive, women as breadwinners, letting go of anger and resentment, what to do when your spouse is ill, grieving, or out of work, and much more. You can learn more and register free by visiting www.lovesummit.com