I’ve worked with couples for almost a decade and over that time I’ve seen a pattern of couples coming in to work on their relationship about 7 years too late. By the time they come into my office there has been so much damage done that the relationships are often not salvageable and that is devastating.
Why is this?
It’s understandable that when we are first in love we want to just enjoy those good feelings! And there is nothing wrong with that! Love is a wonderful thing!!
The problem is that very few of us want to engage in discussing topics that aren’t currently problems, especially when these discussions may involve some conflict. Unfortunately that means that many couples move in together or get married without ever thoroughly discussing essential topics, like:
- money and financial management
- communication styles
- conflict management
- sex and intimacy
- beliefs, values and unspoken expectations
Many couples hope or assume these things will just work themselves out in the long run. But when these topics are left unaddressed they often lead to relationship break-down.
Right now in Canada there is a 48% divorce rate. Another statistic I learned more recently is that people are spending on average $20,000 on a wedding. Those are terrible odds – investing $20,000 with only a 50/50 chance of a positive outcome.
So why do we do that?
I think we’re working on a very outdated model of relationships. There used to be a time when people would come together with very specific roles and societal pressure to stay together. But it’s so different now. We expect so much. We want our best friend, an activity buddy, somebody we think is funny and interesting and the list goes on.
So if you knew there was a way of increasing the odds of having a successful long-term relationship would you do it?
Most of us would say a strong YES!
And yet only a very small percentage of couples will engage in any sort of marriage or cohabitation preparation. That preparation could be counselling, working with mentors, it could be a lot of different things.
Yet very few couples do any of these things. At the same time there is so much research out there to show the behaviors, skills and types of conversations couples engage in who are in strong healthy relationships.
Curious to learn more about the 11 important conversations couples should be having?
Check out this exercise: http://eepurl.com/g_DoQz