Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Midlife Marriage - Love It Or Leave It?

In the U.S., in 2000, the most recent year for which good data is available, the most-divorced age groups were men and women between the ages of 45 and 54 years old. Almost 15% of men and 18% of women in that age group were divorced. About another 2.4% of men and 3.1% of women were separated. The groups on either side - 35 to 44 and 55-64 - were tied for second highest in both separated and divorced categories. As these figures show, midlife divorce has become a startling trend.
Americans Are Not Alone
In Canada, the weekly magazine Mclean's recently reported a similar surge in midlife divorces. Between 1993 and 2003, the latest year for which statistics are available, the country's overall divorce rate fell by more than 11%. However, divorce among 50-54 year olds rose 34%, 55-59 year olds jumped 47.8%, 60-64 year olds increased 31.7%, and 65+ years of age increased 9.2%.
Statistics in the UK reflect a similar trend. While the overall number of divorces per 1,000 married people increased 2.4% from 2000 to late 2005, for ages 35-44 the divorce rate rose 12.9% (to almost 22 divorces per 1,000 married people), and for ages 45+ the divorce rate climbed 19.2% (to 6.2 per 1,000).
No country has been more galvanized by midlife and later divorce than Japan. The number of divorces among couples married for 20 years or more hit 42,000 in 2004, double those recorded in 1985.
What happened between "I do" and "I don't anymore"?
Triggers of the unraveling marital bond at midlife are varied and many:
o Shift in social attitude toward marriage and divorce, and the legal ease of getting a divorce.
o Increased longevity and attention to personal happiness. At 45, people are now facing another 40 years with their spouse rather than 20 or so a few generations ago. They don't want to spend decades more in misery.
o Financial independence of women due to successful careers. Economic affluence provides self-assurance and fewer fears about going it alone.
o Children have flown the coupe. Couples who "stayed together for the sake of the kids" now have the freedom they've been waiting for to split.
o Onset of "double menopause." For both men and women, passage into midlife can stir an emotional rollercoaster. Spouses simultaneously struggling with aging may take out their inner turmoil on each other in the form of resentment, frustration and rejection.
o Verbal, physical or emotional abuse, differences in values and lifestyles, cheating, and alcohol or drug abuse.
Emotional and Economic Effects of Divorce
Those who think divorce will provide "relief," should consider the potential pain, too.
Healthwise, the stress of divorce diminishes effectiveness of the immune system and therefore, increases illness. Headaches, back pain and arthritis are more prevalent. Entry back into the dating scene and pursuance of multiple sex partners heightens risk of sexually-transmitted diseases. The emotional devastation increases the likelihood of psychological disorders, such as depression, and drug and alcohol abuse.
Divorce, job loss and illness top the list as the most common causes of personal bankruptcy, with divorce often being the catalyst of the other two. Divorce can disrupt the job productivity of an individual for years. Higher absenteeism and presenteeism (being physically there, but mentally checked out), poor morale and moodiness, and inability to focus contribute to work problems. Interruptions due to meetings with attorneys, court dates, relocation, and the like, also hamper functioning.
The financial bill is also hefty. The average cost of divorce in the U.S. is estimated by Forbes to be $15,000 to $30,000. Court fees can add $25,000 for a two-day trial. A study by Ohio State University's Center for Human Resource Research found that divorce reduces a person's wealth by 77% compared to that of a single person.
Marriage Resuscitation
Today's "the couple next door got divorced so it must be OK" mentality leads many others to conclude that ditching their union is the only choice. Contrary to perception, marriage resuscitation at midlife is a viable option. For a couple whose marriage has hit this juncture, the following eight pointers will help get the process underway:
1. Accept that neither of you are exactly the same person as when you married. Experiences and events change us. Attempting to recapture what once was is futile. The relationship, much like a faltering business, has to be restructured to meet each other's needs today.
2. Get to know each other again. In the busyness of life, spouses forget to focus on each other. Jobs, professional commitments, community activities and other obligations pull couples apart. To counter the tug-of-war, just as you schedule meetings for these responsibilities, make appointments to be together and re-connect.
3. Look in a mirror. Would you marry you? When a relationship hits the skids, natural inclination is to blame the other person. Instead, take a good, hard look at yourself. Do you still make an effort to look attractive (not to be confused with being skinny)? Are you proud of who you are? Do you have a healthy sense of self-worth? If you can't answer "yes" to these questions, there's work to be done.
4. Peel back arguments to identify their roots and modify how you handle your differences. When a dispute is stripped down to its core, it's often discovered that the squabble was precipitated due to one spouse possessing a "strength" where the other has a "weakness." The person with the strength has more knowledge, information, experience, skill/talent or education than his/her mate on the subject of the disagreement. A strength pit against a weakness turns into a fight. Rather than function in opposition, re-program yourselves to "blend" your differences.
5. Don't stick to the same old patterns, routines and habits. Predictability causes monotony. Sit down together and list the boring "stuff." Then brainstorm new ways to do those things, creating a new list to spice up the relationship.
6. Create a "couple" tradition. "Family" traditions are commonplace, but what about traditions for just the two of you? Traditions can add excitement to a relationship, serve as an anchor, and provide "glue" for the union to remain sturdy when the going gets rough. Establish one or more traditions to make your relationship special year after year.
7. Love the one your with. Observations at the office, gym, social outings and elsewhere may lead you to believe that others are having all the fun. Don't be fooled. How many times have you seen the couple who seemed to "have it all" wind up in divorce court? Rather than wallow, devote mental energy to rekindling the romance between you and your mate.
8. If you seek professional help, do so with a positive attitude. For marriage counseling to have a chance of success, a couple must start with the proper outlook. Think "How can we revitalize our marriage?" not "Should we get a divorce?"
Taking action to transform a marriage that has fizzled into a renewed source of joy and pleasure requires time and patience. In the process, each spouse is likely to discover incredible strengths within themselves and the relationship. With steadfastness and perseverance, there's high probability that a couple will come out of the journey amazed to have opened a new world of opportunities with their marriage not only intact, but better than ever.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/483857

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