What does it take to keep a marriage or a committed relationship alive and happy?
Are you stuck in the De facto relationship and wanting more commitment?
Are you feeling unsatisfied in your relationship?
Are you experiencing conflict and/or arguments?
Whether you are in a de-facto relationship or married all relationships struggle at some stage, those of you that have chosen to actually tie the knot, will tend to live with more discomfort and move through this stage. If you have not signed that piece of paper there is an unsettling period where the fact you seem to have a choice tends to makes things almost awkward.
Many couples today don’t feel the need to tie the knot, stating a piece of paper isn’t necessary to hold them together. However, many more would like that piece of paper as it signifies a commitment to one another, usually made public with a ceremony or celebration party. It’s a profession of commitment before family and friends.
So what happens when this second scenario is you but the de facto relationship has fallen stale and there are no more talks of marriage? Do you continue with the relationship and hope things will get better?
This is a common dilemma many young de facto couples face. Many reasons are behind this scenario and mostly they are not about suitability but rather the couple is moving through a normal developmental stage in their relationship. A stage that most relationships go through, awareness of these stages and how to address them is the beginning of taking responsibility for sustaining a long term relationship.
After the initial flush of intense love where both partners only see the best in each other, comes the hard part. With time we begin to see each other’s faults (being human means we all have many faults). Living together can now become a challenge, just because you love each other doesn’t make it perfect. Chances are within 6 months of living together the gloss will have worn off. Unfortunately for many this is interpreted as having made a mistake and that maybe they are not suited. Neither party wants to talk about it as the only option seems to be to break up, the painful denial period begins which if not caught and challenged in its tracks will in fact mean the end of the relationship.
So what next?
If your relationship seems stale, accept things are never perfect no matter what other people think. It’s time to work out what you want and take the risk and ask your partner do you want to keep going forward?
Knowing each other’s needs and expectations is an important first step before committing to a long term, life commitment. For instance, Dr William Harley’s research has summarised some of these needs and placed them in the general perceived order of importance (of course, he concedes that these needs are not the same for everyone, and there are many who would nominate something on the list of the opposite agenda). However, his experience with thousands of people tells him that these do tend to be the deepest needs for men and women:WomenMenAffection Sexual FulfilmentConversationRecreational CompanionshipHonesty and OpennessAn attractive SpouseFinancial SupportDomestic SupportFamily CommitmentAdmiration
When these are not met, extra marital affairs, dismay, unhappiness and divorce are the common outcomes.
In Australia 40 percent of all marriages end in divorce over a 30 year period. Some of the most frequently cited marital problems involve communication difficulties, general incompatibility, infidelity, not spending enough time together and disagreements over money.
Furthermore, research also indicates that couples who are in a lasting marriage have been found to be more accommodating towards each other and more tolerant of each other’s faults, they are also found to be better and more consistent in communicating and problem solving, including the way they handle conflict.
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