Getting Married is Easy, Staying Married is Hard

by Glen Oliveiro (Singapore)

Two relationship coaches explain what happens when the wedded bliss goes amiss.

It would be a very rare bride or groom that sees their wedding day as a first step toward divorce, but the reality is that divorce rates around the world remain stubbornly high.

According to US law firm Wilkinson and Finkbeiner in America, there is a marriage every 16 seconds and a divorce every 42 seconds. There are nearly 3 divorces in the time it takes a couple to recite their wedding vows. In the past 20 years, the divorce rate for people over 50 has doubled. In 75 percent of cases, it’s the wives who most often file for divorce. The average first marriage that ends in divorce lasts about 8 years.

When the honeymoon is over

Relationship Expert, Michael Myerscough has coached countless couples over more than 25 years. A highly trained coach and media personality, Myerscough is a master-certified practitioner from the Relational Life Institute in the USA where he trained under its founder, best-selling author and TV personality, Terry Real.

Myerscough says it’s usually around the seven-year mark that one spouse, usually the wife, gets a sense their marriage is in trouble, although, ‘it could be 10 years, it could be 5 years, but I have also known people who smash through a marriage in 6 months or less.’

‘For couples on the brink the hatred and animosity is so great sometimes it spills over. They are so full of resentment they are incapable of having a conversation without arguing,; he says.

‘People can be horribly unkind to each other when they have been together for a while, and in a way that you would never dream of being to a colleague or a friend. But to your spouse, all bets are off.’

Once the problems begin, some couples endure years of pain before getting help, going through the four stages of breakdown as described by Dr Barbara DeAngelis; from resistance to resentment to rejection and repression.

‘Either people split at rejection or they go ‘wait a minute, we’ve got a couple of kids, a house I quite like living in, I’m just going to get through the next ten years raising kids and then look at it’, but it’s just awful, you go from people who were in love and who were soul mates, and they turn into cell mates.’

At some point a spouse may also start making negative comparisons, looking at other marriages and thinking they are getting a bad deal, which may be true – but the most common reason for marriage breakdown is needs not being met.

‘What is happening, over an extended period of time, is that their needs are not being met and they can’t figure out how to get their needs met, and they get more disappointed and hurt and then that moves to anger and accelerates from there. My favourite phrase is ‘all negative behaviour is a protest about unmet need’,’ he says.

‘Couples stop communicating when they have a boatload of resentment and have stopped seeing each other clearly. They are angry, and usually have a right to be angry, life is hard, even when it’s easy.

Source: iCN Issue 40  (Relationship Coaching); pages 35-38

Glen Oliveiro is the founder of CoachVantage.About Glen Oliveiro

Glen Oliveiro is the founder of CoachVantage.

CoachVantage is an all-in-one coaching platform that helps coaches to deliver exceptional results for their business and clients. It facilitates the coaching partnership between coach and coachee. Taking notes, sharing files, sending forms and e-contracts, invoicing and scheduling are all supported on the platform. It fully automates the client on-boarding process and gives coaches the ability to deliver impactful coaching and transform their clients’ lives.