The Most Expensive Weddings Lead to the Shortest Marriages

ENGAGEMENT-RING

The Most Expensive Weddings Lead to the Shortest Marriages

The price on weddings has risen significantly in recent years. So-called “normal” couples today incorporate detailed websites, photo booths and giant ice sculptures into their marriages, and even throw weekend-long events. The industry likes to marry the idea of love and commitment with how much is spent. But although most of us scour the plan looking for ways of saving a few dollars, some wish money was no object. They secretly drool over celebrity-style affairs in exotic locales, taking place in lavish venues where so many luxuries abound their guests’ heads spin. We dream of becoming a part of what looks like modern day royalty. But be careful what you wish for. All of that style may be hiding a lack of substance, according to a study out of Emory University. You would think those who shell out the most mean it the most. But this study found the opposite to be true. The most expensive weddings lead to the shortest marriages. Two economics professors came to this conclusion. They also found that the higher the price-tag for the engagement ring, the greater the likelihood of divorce.

3,000 participants, married only one time, took part in this study. They found that those men who spent $500 to $2,000 were 1.3 times less likely to get divorced than those who spent $2,000 and $4,000. Those who spent $5,000 to $10,000 on the wedding were 3.5 times less likely to get divorced than those who shelled out over $20,000. In an email to Big Think researchers wrote, “Advertising has fueled the norm that spending large amounts on the engagement ring and wedding is an indication of commitment or is helpful for a marriage to be successful.” Though they’ve found a correlation, determining causation is far trickier. The economists surmise that such a big event inflates the expectations of the marriage. The couple is enchanted into the notion that things are going to be easy from here on out. Both parties have unrealistic expectations which undermine reconciliation when the couple hits a stumbling block. Those who have a more moderately priced affair have a level-headed view and so are ready when the inevitable difficulties arise.

No matter how much you plunk down for your wedding, there are some qualities that can be sustained by both parties to give the marriage the best chance of success. The first is to focus on the positive rather than the negative. There are little things that will inevitably drive you crazy. But if you can remember how supportive and understanding they are, you can perhaps overlook the hair they leave in the shower drain or that they are never once on-time. Invest in your relationship. This could be time, energy or thoughtfulness. But you get out of a marriage what you put into it. Communicate clearly and make sure you understand what your spouse has said or is saying. Lots of fights boil down to miscommunication. Fight smart. If you hurt your partner but win the argument, have you really won? Learn to let the little things go. And find ways to increase your closeness and strengthen your bond. For more on how to achieve marital success read, Strong Marriage, Happy Life: The Core Principles of a Successful Marriage and How to Make Your Marriage Work by Sonya Dawson.

Reasons for Divorce Nobody Thinks About

movingout

Reasons for Divorce Nobody Thinks About

Some people are in denial of course. But for many couples divorce doesn’t come straight out of the blue. It was a buildup, a confluence of negative elements that suddenly builds into a deluge. Either there is an enormous blow up fight, or one person or both just decide they need to get out. But the roots of these negative behaviors have their seed in the past. Here are some reasons for divorce nobody thinks about as a big deal but can snowball over time and cause havoc. Do you feel better than your spouse or that you deserve better? Some people make jokes about this early in the relationship, or the other says they are too good for you and you believe them. Either way, that feeling is going to encroach on the relationship later on. Take a good look at your spouse and remember what tremendous qualities they have.

If you feel too constrained in a relationship don’t think about getting married. And if you do feel confided in your marriage you will probably look for any reason to cheat, or even get out of it. Explore those feelings and see where they lead. Lack of communication in any relationship is a serious issue. The best relationships are the ones where not only does our partner understand us but we understand them perfectly. But it takes a lot of hoops to get there. If you can’t communicate over little things your marriage won’t last. Marriages are rocked by serious problems in life. So if you can’t get over little things what happens when a big one comes along?

Watch your expectations. Some people have really high expectations early on and it starts to weigh on the marriage later. You will both have expectations that the other will not meet. Learn to mitigate these and remember your spouse’s positive qualities. Really it’s up to you and your spouse to invest in your marriage. You need to talk a lot and really investigate what goes on when you have a fight. Talk not only about issues but about your patterns. What sets one person off? What makes the other ignore subjects or leave, escaping the issue? You need to create a space where the two of you feel comfortable to discuss anything, without it being used against them later. Make your relationship more cooperative and less adversarial. See in which topic such as money or chores, or what issues such as one always feeling blamed or the other not feeling listened to, come up the most often. Why are these such touchy subjects in your marriage? What baggage does each person bring that contributes to your fights? Learn how to analyze your marriage and put positive patterns in place to supplant negative ones. For more advice read, The 11 Reasons Why Marriages Go Wrong and How to Make Yours Succeed by Richard Chesser.

Why First Marriages Often End in Divorce

Divorce-Proceedings

Why First Marriages Often End in Divorce

With such longer lifespans nowadays, “Until death do you part” may mean 80 years altogether for the average couple, rather than the 30 it used to mean in the past. Today, young people are staving off marriage to get more education and develop their careers. What’s more, many wonder with so much time in their life whether it’s possible nowadays to stay with one person for the rest of their lives. This is true, too, given the fact that so many young people today grew up in households that endured contentious divorces in the 1970’s and 80’s, and so are more wary of the institution in general. Americans today it now seems are becoming serial monogamists. For late baby boomers and below, two or even three marriages in a lifetime is not uncommon. Long-term partnership through cohabitation without getting married is becoming much more common today than it was in the past. So the days of marrying your high school sweetheart, though nostalgic, are probably gone. It’s probably for the best, too since those relationships certainly were not the most solid. Though this is a good time to form the basis for what it means to be in an adult relationship, the criteria adolescence use for choosing their partner is quite a bit different than adults use when selecting a life partner.

The problem is some have carried these immature patterns into adult relationships. Being whiny, condescending, passive aggressive or outright aggressive is certainly adolescent relationship behavior. Of course we are all human and take part in such interactions from time to time. But many marriages are consumed by these. There are many other reasons why first marriages often end in divorce, too. Another issue is unrealistic expectations. Lots of people enter into that first year of marriage thinking that everything will fall into place all by itself. They think that “Happily ever after” is how life really is. But anyone who has ever been in a real marriage realizes that there is a lot of energy, time and effort that has to be put into a marriage to keep it alive and to make it grow and thrive. Otherwise it can get stale, old and your connection can fall apart. There are those who enter into marriage seeing it as a way to edify themselves, but they don’t realize that it’s important to hold up and support their spouse and at times, step out of the lime light to let their spouse be the star of the show. Each person in the relationship should be important. It should be a union of equals. What’s more, each person should hold up and support their partner for that person’s own unique set of talents, help them to thrive and celebrate their growth. Today, we seek partners who help us grow. If our partner inhibits that growth, it’s sayonara, and this does happen in a lot of first marriages. This shaping one another into their ideal selves is called the Michelangelo phenomenon by psychological researcher Carol Rusbult, and has been called “a defining characteristic of mature love,” by Associate Professor of Psychology at California State University Kelly Campbell, Ph.D. in an article in Psychology Today.

While immature love grasps for one’s self, mature love holds the beloved up so that they can fly. Though we live in an individualistic society where we often put our own needs and desires ahead of others, counterintuitively it’s when we put our partner’s needs first that we ourselves thrive. For they, if they are worth your time, will invest the same amount of energy in making sure that we succeed and develop and grow accordingly. If you are in a first marriage or any marriage and want your relationship to last, support your spouse. Show them how much gratitude and affection you have for them. Don’t react with being defensive if your partner needs a change, or asks you to change. Listen deeply. Internalize their concerns. See where they are coming from. Talk it out without any shame or blame but just what is happening and what all the moving parts are. Once you’ve got a good handle on the situation you both can come up with novel solutions that can satisfy both of you, or at least compromise on something you can both live with. Always edify and hold them up and they should do the same for you. For more, pick up a copy of Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last by John Gottman, Ph.D.

Are you More Roommates than Spouses?

Young couple sitting on bed separated by blue line

Are you More Roommates than Spouses?

In some relationships the two get along fine. They’ve raised kids together perhaps, have a house, pets, even go on vacation. But there isn’t any sex anymore. The spark is gone. Are you two more roommates than spouses? According to the director of the Coalition for Marriage, Family, and Couples Education Diane Solee, MSW couples don’t know what to expect out of long term relationships. She recently told WebMD in an interview, “It’s so normal to hit the doldrums. In a way, you should be smug about it. You have a partner who is not bringing drama into your life. You’re not going to alcohol or cocaine treatment classes. You are in a very good place. Realizing all that, your job is to get out of the doldrums. You may have gotten into a rut.” Don’t take comfort in the rut however. Professor of sociology, psychiatry, and behavioral medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle Pepper Schwartz, PhD says that without sex couples could encounter an even bigger disconnect. So how do you know you’re in a rut? According to Schwartz, “You’re leading parallel lives, and don’t see each other anymore. You tell everything important to your friends but not to each other. Those are really big problems, and you’ve got to tend to them.”

Negative comments toward one another are a sign that this marriage is in the doldrums. “If you’re bitchy, if you treat each other with contempt, it’s a warning sign. It may not happen all the time, but it happens often. It’s because people start to feel neglected, disappointed. They had expectations of what marriage should be like, and this is not what they’d hoped for,” says Schwartz. This feeling of monotony toward the relationship may actually cover up deeper seeded feelings of frustration or even anger. On this Schwartz said, “Those deeper feelings have to be dealt with. I’m not talking about deep therapy; it can happen in one or two visits. But there has to be a refocusing on the relationship… a renewal of what this marriage is supposed to be.” Both parties have to recommit to the relationship. You both have to explore your feelings and your sexuality together. Sit down and have a long talk. Start having date nights. Do something exciting that is outside both of your comfort zones. Studies have shown this can recreate the feelings many couples have when they first get together. Talk about your fantasies and try to fulfill them for one another. Make plans for a getaway. Find other ways to reconnect too, over mutually shared interests and hobbies. A marriage needs to be invested in before you can get what you want out of it. Don’t expect it to be like it was. Make it the best it ever could be at the stage you are at now. For more on this topic, read Sex and Love for Grownups by Sallie Foley, MSW.

When your Spouse Doesn’t Want to Invest in the Marriage

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Sometimes we invest so much into our marriage, but when we see what’s coming back toward us from our partner we get frustrated. They don’t seem to put nearly as much time or energy into the relationship. Some people find that they live in some sort of denial, until one day they wake up and decide that it’s high time their partner begin contributing equal time and energy into the relationship. But don’t be afraid if this bill is too high for them. They may just walk away. But if this happens, the relationship wasn’t meant to be. You deserve someone who treats you the way you deserve to be treated, who treats you as well as you treat them. When you come to this wakeup call that you are investing a lot and they aren’t, and you communicate your concerns to your spouse, it should be a wakeup call for them, too. If they walk out on you, and find the price too high, they weren’t invested in the relationship to begin with. It might hurt, but they actually did you a favor. Who wants to endure a relationship where you are treated like something plain, ordinary and unexciting? Don’t you want to be cherished by the one you love, as you cherish them? Perhaps look into low self-esteem issues, and what models your earliest caregivers, perhaps your parents had in your household growing up to see why you might block out or be in denial about the person you chose as your spouse. Author Dr. Laura Schlessinger offers insight on this topic in her book, Bad Childhood—Good Life: How to Blossom and Thrive in Spite of an Unhappy Childhood

If the relationship is over and your spouse doesn’t want to invest in the marriage then pull out. Don’t stick with someone who treats you like you’re not special. You will survive the divorce but a loveless marriage will kill you a little inside each day. Even if you have children, children are far healthier psychologically if their parents are warm, happy caregivers rather than soulless automatons going through their daily routine. Perhaps the children will learn to settle for subpar in a relationship from you and your spouse’s marriage. Of course as a parent you would want them to find love and happiness in their future relationships. So as a good parent you should model this in your own life. If you do decide to move forward with divorce, take each day as it comes. Grieve in a healthy way. But know when grieving is done and when it’s time to move on. Every day is a new deal. So treat it like one. Don’t agonize, overanalyze the situation or attack yourself for imagined transgressions. Know why the marriage ended and stick to that. Don’t keep second-guessing yourself or you will drive yourself crazy. Let go of your anger. You don’t want to carry it around with you. It will do you no good. Carrying around anger hurts you way more than your ex. Find your happiness. Don’t let your expectations come in the way of you being happy. The next person you find may not be exactly what you wanted, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good or better than your ex.