Keep the energy, passion, and newness in your relationship and avoid divorce dangers.
The notion that marriage is a temporary institution isn't new. Sociologist and futurist Alvin Toffler wrote the best-seller Future Shock in 1970, and with matter-of-fact conviction, he wrote of the rising trend of "trial" or "temporary marriages".
These trends include the first marriages of young people, lasting three months to three years, and "serial marriages" that would take place after the dissolution of the "trial marriage," happening at specific turning points in people's lives.
Toffler's views hold true today. Having accurately predicted the coming trends, he could see how men and women would begin to view marriage as a temporary state of being, and today the divorce rate still hovers at just over 50 percent. But that "50 percent" data point is just a common data point.
Here's the truth (from the US Census and the Association of Divorce Reform):
- 19.5 million adults have been divorced at least once.
- 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce within five years.
- Of the couples that last five years, only 50 percent make it to their 10th wedding anniversary. (That's a 75 percent divorce rate before the 10th anniversary.)
- Over 80 percent of divorcees reference "irreconcilable differences" as the reason for separation.
Here's something to consider: If you've been married for a few years, you might have a child (or two).
So, how is the rising divorce rate affecting kids? Is it providing the quintessential example for children of just how temporary marriage — and all relationships — can be?
Divorced homes account for:
- 63 percent of youth suicides
- 90 percent of homeless/runaway children
- 85 percent of children with behavior problems
- 71 percent of high school dropouts
- 85 percent of youths in prison
- Over 50 percent of teen mothers
So, not only are the adults in these relationships causing themselves heartache and emotional turmoil, but they are potentially perpetuating the problem and showing their children — by example— precisely what a temporary relationship looks like. Not a pretty picture for our up-and-coming generations.
So what can be done? Obviously, there isn't a magic bullet to "cure" these relationships issues. There are, however, things that people might consider to avoid disconnecting and divorcing in order to have their dream marriage:
1. Be ready before tying the knot.
Why get into a committed relationship unless you're ready? There is no Cardinal Rule stating that people must get married by X date — or at all!
Before taking the leap, it's not only important to know your partner, it's perhaps even more important to know yourself — who you are, and where you're going.
After you know those two things, who will go with you is a choice, not a forced decision. And don't let anyone pressure you into committing before you're ready, including yourself.
2. Don't give up your individuality.
People that put everything in their relationships and leave nothing back for themselves are setting themselves up for failure. Maintain your own life, interests, and friendships and then share them with your significant other.
3. Put effort, not work, into your relationship.
I’ve long suggested that a successful relationship or marriage takes effort, not "work". Oftentimes, work is that thing you must do in order to have time and flexibility for the things you really want to do.
Effort is what you put into activities you care about, what you are most passionate about making succeed. In short, Effort is a driving force behind a great partnership and marriage.
4. Remember where you came from.
It keeps the mystery and respect and the forefront and allows both of you to maintain a level of effort and newness that will allow you to value each other for the entirety of your relationship.
Charles J. Orlando is a YourTango Expert and relationship expert best known as the author of the acclaimed relationship book series The Problem with Women… is Men® and is the sole voice behind the smash-hit advice and relationship page The Problem with Women... is Men on Facebook.