The top ten reasons couples decide to call it quits is the subject of a survey conducted by the law firm Slater and Gordon, and published in March 2014. A total of 1,000 divorcees were interviewed on questions pertaining to their reason/s for divorce and the process by which the decision to leave the marriage was made. Some of the information from this surveyed is captured in the infographic below.
The results inform us that ‘the average person spends 24 months and 12 days thinking about a divorce before going ahead with it’. This suggests that a majority of couples are able to tolerate significant difficulties in their relationship over a sustained period before one or both of them ‘decide to call it quits’. Over this 24 month period, the average person spends 18 months attempting to repair their relationship.
Given that these results are based on the experience of people whose relationships eventually failed, I wonder what the results would look like if we surveyed another 1000 people with similar relationship issues whose couple relationship was revived and has thrived in the aftermath. What makes the difference?
Here are my 5 tips to help your couple relationship survive the crisis and go on to thrive
- Timing – When is the best time to seek professional help for your relationship difficulties? Ideally, the best time is when a couple notice and acknowledge that they are having significant issues that remain unaddressed causing ongoing tension and unhappiness. In my experience, a majority of couples make counselling their last option instead of their first. All too often, the relationship has deteriorated to the point where communication is an invitation to attack their partner as each seeks to protect themselves from further hurt. Read more here.
- Secrets – Don’t keep them! The power of a secret withheld from your partner only grows over time, eventually becoming toxic to a relationship. Whilst the ‘secret-keeper’ often has very valid reasons as to why it is necessary to keep the secret from their partner, secrets have a way of surfacing and causing havoc in a relationship. All those ‘valid’ reasons sound empty to a devastated partner who feels betrayed and ‘duped’. The question of trust takes centre stage as your partner wonders if they can ever take you on ‘blind faith’ again. Read more here.
- Hard Work – Yes, relationship repair is not for the fainthearted – it is super-hard work. Personal effort, time, vulnerability and the willingness to learn, acknowledge and accept, not only your ‘flawed partner’, but also your ‘flawed self’ will be necessary to the process of repair.
- Patience, patience, patience – The longer a couple are willing to sustain the process of couple counselling, the more likely that their relationship will be able to be repaired and thrive. ‘The problem is never the problem’ sounds like an oxymoron but it is the inevitable truth. Our complexity as human beings is many layered and the issues that bring a couple to counselling will have roots throughout those layers. A couple counsellor can assist you to trace the issues, from the presenting difficulty that sits on the surface of the relationship, and digging down into the hidden places that are often just outside of your awareness. This process takes time, being both confronting and complex in the ongoing implications for you and your relationship.
- Ability to tolerate emotional distress – As I work with couples I am convinced that for repair and growth to occur in a relationship, a couple must be willing to tolerate the emotional distress they experience as the process unfolds. A strong, mature relationship has suffered and survived the disillusionment that we are both flawed individuals with differing needs, thoughts and dreams. That is the reality of a long-term couple relationship however it does not have to be the end of the story. That there is more is the journey ahead for the couple who are able to tolerate the pain of disillusionment and distress.
Source of infographic
If you are experiencing difficulties in your couple relationship and need direction and support to repair your relationship so that it not only survives but also learns to thrive, then here’s what you need to do contact me on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how I can best help you or press book now to book on my online diary.
The article was originally published on watersedgecounslling.com.