Like you, I’ve known couples who have been married a very long time, and couples who didn’t last very long. And we’ve all known people who have had several marriages and divorces, and it just doesn’t seem like successful marriages are part of their lives. Right?
So why is there such a difference in the length of time people stay married? After speaking with Dr. Thomas Jordan yesterday on our podcast episode “Having a Healthy Love Relationship is a Learning Process” I understand better why some relationships last and others don’t.
It’s hard work at best, and a futile expectation if our choice in mates isn’t done correctly.
Let’s start with our choice in mates. We can easily make bad choices. Our choices are reflective of what we saw in our parents’ marriage, in our extended family’s marriages, and indicative of our own ability to be vulnerable, speak from our hearts, know our truth, and communicate our values to our potential mates in order to see if our choice in mate is healthy for us to commit to.
Dr. Thomas Jordan explained that it takes time and an on-going series of life experiences to understand why we react as we do to our mates, even given that we may have made a healthy choice in a spouse. Why we assign certain meanings to behavior of our mates that may not be our mate’s intention. There is so much family tree influence, learned behavior from our youth, that goes into who we are as adults that will be unknown if we don’t explore our thinking through therapy, and through open communication with our mates.
I went to a mediation convention some years ago and attended a wonderful seminar given by a therapist and a family law attorney on the topic of why certain relationships last forever, without the threat of divorce to course-correct. A video was played for us in which we got to hear couples who were married 30 years plus all say the same thing: We didn’t mind the daily habits and individual idiosyncrasies of our spouses. We accepted who they were for the values that they held, and the love that they gave.
I have a friend and colleague who has been married for 35 years. He recently said to me, “I just like her company. I like being around her.”
But this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t take work to remain in sync with each other, to keep the lines of communication open so that misunderstandings don’t take the relationship in an unintended and unhealthy place, and to always share deep-rooted feelings, fears and desires. The latter takes vulnerability to share who we are and how we think and feel. Without vulnerability and an openness to express ourselves with courage, the relationship won’t be as healthy as it needs to be in order for us to grow as individuals and to grow as individuals in relationship with the most intimate individual in our lives, our spouses.
#divorce #relationships #lovelife #divorcerate #familyhistory #commitment #communication #acceptance #behavioralpatterns #lovelifelearningcenter #DrThomasJordan #grief
Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City. He is on the faculty of NYU’s Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis, author of Learn to Love: Guide to Healing Your Disappointing Love Life and founder of LoveLifeLearningCenter.com. Dr. Jordan specializes in the treatment of unhealthy love lives and has been studying them for over 30 years.
Business Name: Love Life Learning Center