Hendrix says that although the divorce rate has risen over the last few decades, it isn’t a sign of marriage dying. Instead it just means there are some big changes going on in our society. So if we understand how marriage needs to change to suit our brave new world, then maybe we can enjoy it a lot more too.
So does this mean marital disagreements are as dated as VHS tapes? No, they are actually core to the new marriage. We choose our partner subconsciously in a way that is practically guaranteed to lead us into deep conflict. The reason why is another story. But the deeper the conflict we have with our partner, the more likely it is to be related to some part of us that is hurting inside. It’s often the part of us that holds us back from being fully alive, and being able to express our full potential.
My wife and I often argued about money. I thought I was being responsible. She thought I was just tight and mean. Actually when I checked later, it turned out that practically everyone I knew agreed with my wife – including my ex-wife! And as it turns out my wife had always felt that she was not trusted to be responsible, so my tight-wad financial control was tailor made to set her seething.
But we were married, locked together into a commitment which meant that we either had to work this through, or be miserable. Fortunately Dr. Hendrix rode to the rescue, by providing some great Imago techniques for talking through the issues and get to the real heart of them. The result was that we were both able to leave behind some ghosts from our upbringing, and stretch into a new way of relating to money and responsibility. We learned to love each other far more, and came out of the experience feeling happier and somehow more fully ourselves.
So why get married anyway?