Surprising Marriage Factors
Rachael Scharrer, founder of online resource, DivorceAnswered.com.au, shares her ‘Things that are surprising about marriage today’.
What marriage is and what it looks like is ever changing. The traditional 1950s stay at home mother with working husband is antiquated. Today, there are traditional, blended and single-parent families, de facto relationships, double-income household with no kids (DINKS), three generations in one home as well as the traditional nuclear family with a legally binding marriage certificate. Despite the different appearances that marriage and relationships have, there are still factors that surprise or should be addressed by committed couples when living together for long lasting success:
- Keep dating each other. When living together, it is more essential to remind each other of the reason why you are together, why you fell in love and give yourself the space to grow together. Make little gestures and demonstrate how much you appreciate your partner.
- Lack of communication can lead to failure. When communicating with your partner, ensure that you are speaking clearly, they are focused and paying attention and that you are being respectful. If you have something sensitive to discuss, try coming from a ‘feeling perspective’ rather than a judgemental perspective. Should this is an area that needs additional attention, then seek the assistance of a marriage counsellor or couple’s therapist. It doesn’t mean that anything is ‘wrong’ – these professionals can offer strategy and act as a mediator on more challenging issues.
- No one is perfect. Accept your partner for who they are. People become obsessed and focused on the small stuff and the niggly annoyances. When they take a moment to weigh-up how insignificant some of their concerns really are, they will remember that they are in a relatively good and healthy marriage. No one is perfect – encourage the strong points and create strategy to manage the challenging areas.
- Buy time. With the rise in dual income households, save the arguments and domestic duty imbalance by buying time – hire a cleaner (if you can’t afford weekly, then employ the services fortnightly or monthly), get a gardener or local kid to mow the lawns.
- Future proofing with independence. It’s important to have your own hobbies and independence while being able to come together and create the unified front. Balancing your individuality and uniqueness with couple-time helps you to stay true to who you are and keeps interesting conversation alive. It’s too easy to get lost in your partner and their lives and lose your identity, which can unfortunately lead to the end of the relationship.
- Friendship is forever, passion is passing. Too often, we hear people say that in a relationship men need an instant spark or connection and for women that connection grows. Make sure that you create and maintain a strong friendship because when we feel recognised, heard and are generally feeling fulfilled, the sexual connection is often and can be more easily re-ignited.
- Domestic duty discrepancy. With the rise of dual income families, the vast majority of domestic duties still fall onto the responsibility of women. Many men are becoming more aware of the imbalance and actively assisting with the domestic chores. For those with partners who aren’t assisting, you need to learn to ask politely for assistance. Further, children benefit from assisting with the household tasks from a young age, which makes them better life partners.
- Emotional burden imbalance. While men are becoming better at sharing the domestic duties, women still hold the majority of the emotional responsibility, planning and preparation for the family. By speaking up about this, a family can plan together how to best manage and tackle certain situation before they arise. It’s always best to work together for the betterment of the family unit.
- Paternity leave is available but not expected. If there were more paternity leave takers there would be more of an equality in parenting. Until society makes a conscious effort to assist in levelling-out the responsibilities of parenting by allowing men extended paternity leave, the idea of being a ‘stay at home dad’ will be more socially-acceptable and less isolating for these individuals.
- What you first liked about your spouse, is now your greatest annoyance. All too often, what first attracted you to your spouse (and your spouse to you) can become the most irritating and annoying part of the relationship. This may be because circumstances have changed for one and not the other, one partner has matured faster or the individuals have grown in a different direction to the other. Whatever the reason, try addressing the source of the change in you, recognise and accept it and this will go a long way towards your understanding and tolerance of your partner.
Each marriage and relationship is unique and has its own factors that stress or elevate it from others. The common message is clear – mindfulness, continued effort and respect for your partner or spouse, every day, will positively contribute to the success of your union.