Wedding experts say that the three-month stretch between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day is prime time for proposals. With the sparkle of Christmas and the promise of the new year lending an air of romance, nearly forty percent of couples choose this time to get engaged. To my delight, this year, my son and his fiancée are among them.
While the coming months will be taken up with writing guest lists and weighing the pros and cons of a winter wedding (with its possibility of ice storms) or a wedding in June (with its guarantee of mosquitoes) I’m keeping in mind the many years that will follow.
What if when you said “until death do us part” you were signing on to a marriage that may last as long as a century?
Today TIME.com ran a piece that talked about how with the possibility of some of us living to be one hundred fifty years old we may live long enough to have two or even three very long marriages.
I began to wonder, instead, what one would need to do to have one marriage that would remain vital and satisfying for a hundred years, or even longer? With a mere thirty-five years of marriage under my belt, my first thought was Continue reading →
What To Do When Your Spouse Wants A Divorce And You Still Think There’s Hope
Anyone who’s been in a relationship for more than ten minutes knows that no two people will see eye-to-eye about everything. One’s wearing a sweater while the other is fanning herself. One puts ketchup on eggs while the other is horrified.
Fine, you say. There’s no need to agree. You can say tomato and I’ll say tomahto.
But what if your difference is about something more serious than diction or condiments or setting the thermostat? What if one of you desperately wants to hold your marriage together while the other has met with an attorney and is now spending every spare moment looking at apartments on Craig’s list?
You can’t very well agree to disagree about this.
If you were to poll twenty-five couples therapists, at least twenty-four of us would say Continue reading →
The difference between involvement
and commitment is like ham and eggs.
The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.
– Martina Navratilova
When I first met Beverly, she was a newlywed— for the fifth time. Though she’d assured friends and family that this one was for keeps, several years later she was, again, getting divorced.
“Why do you marry these men?” I asked when she announced her engagement to husband number six. “Why not just date them, or move in with them?” I said, knowing that one time she’d married a man she’d met only four weeks earlier while having coffee in Starbucks.
There’s a Turkish proverb that says, No matter how far you have gone on a wrong road, turn back. I find this notion deeply comforting: that things can change, that people can turn their lives around, that it’s never too late to try. Even if it’s the eleventh hour. Even if their wheel’s in the ditch and they’re almost out of gas.
It’s amazing how long people will suffer in dreadful relationships before seeking help. Five, eight, ten years. Sometimes even longer. For many couples, I’m the last stop before they call a divorce attorney. Some have been deemed “incurable” by a previous therapist who simply didn’t have the skills to effectively help them.
“I don’t think there’s much we can do about your marriage,” one therapist told a volatile couple I now see. “But if you decide to divorce, I can help you with that.” This she declared before the end of their third session.
As a couples therapist, it’s my job to be optimistic, to be open-minded enough to look beyond the ostensible train wreck in order to see what’s possible. Sitting with people on the brink of divorce, Continue reading →