Getting divorced is easy. You stand in front of a judge and quote “breakdown in communication” as your reason and the divorce is granted. What no one really tells you, is that the emotional trauma governs your future choices and actions for years to come.
Over the years I have seen my personal experience of divorce reflected back to me by hundreds of other divorcees. We look pretty well put together on the outside, but a deep fear of being hurt again leads us to relationships with emotionally unavailable people so we don’t really need to commit to them. The pain of loneliness is far more excruciating than we would ever let on. After all, society has trained us not to wear our hearts on our sleeves.
As a Relationship coach and matchmaker, I have interviewed over 800 people and I have seen a pattern of what works for couples who are happy together and what causes relationships to break down.
We are never taught the fundamentals of creating deep, loving, mutually uplifting relationships. We get to a certain age and feel the societal pressure to get married, buy a house and have a family. Falling in love is the easy part and from this intoxicated state, we make a decision to get married. People spend a small fortune on their weddings, but neglect to plan their marriage which they hope will last a lifetime.
The worldwide divorce rate is now 53%, with some countries as high as 70% and none of the people who got married anticipated that it would end. After all, the fairy tales all speak of happily ever after.
So how do you divorce-proof your relationship? If you were once lucky enough to find someone to love, who loves you back; it’s worth the time and energy to learn about creating deeply satisfying relationships.
If you’re in a happy relationship, never take it for granted. We all have the basic human needs of love, acceptance and acknowledgement. If you’re in a somewhat rocky relationship, are you prepared to do whatever it takes to take that relationship to a mutually beneficial place?
Some people, when faced with challenges in their own relationship, would choose to have an affair which is never the solution and only leads to hurt, disappointment and anger. The reason people have affairs, is to regain the “falling in love” phase. That dizzy sense of happiness, excitement and attraction. It makes us feel special, desirable, understood and adored.
So how do we create those same emotions with the person you are with? Can you possibly fall in love with that person again after all the arguments and disappointments that you’ve experienced? The answer is a resounding YES if you are willing to do the work.
When you meet someone for the first time that you feel an attraction to, you see the best in them. You acknowledge the good in them and you “give” them your unconditional love. When you give love the other person feels elated and returns your love. After marriage the giving shifts to expectation. Most of our expectations came from observing our parent’s marriage. “My mum cooked dinner every night, so I expect my wife to do the same”. “My dad was the provider so I expect my husband to do the same”, or some variation of that.
With expectations, each partner feels that they have to behave in a certain way to get approval and when the expectations are different from your personal set of beliefs on marriage, you begin to feel resentful. Where you were once receiving love, something is now being demanded of you. This is how power struggles begin and our ego always tells us that when there is a difference in opinion, I am right so you must be wrong.
If you want to divorce-proof your relationship, start by making little changes that will make phenomenal shifts for you both. For the next week, notice everything that is wonderful about your partner and acknowledge them for it. When you receive good energy, you generally want to give good energy back. So when you see the best in someone, they want to give you more of their best.
Gandhi said: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” So if you want love, can you be loving? If you want acceptance, can you start to accept your partner more unconditionally? If you desire to be appreciated, can you give gratitude for who your partner is and what they contribute to your life?
Often it’s the little things that move your relationship in a whole new direction. A special dinner; a massage after a long day; a hug when your partner’s feeling down or an unexpected compliment. Happy relationships don’t happen by chance, they are created by two people who desire it.
Kas Naidoo is a Relationship Coach and Matchmaker.