As divorce takes hold of the Baby Boomer generation with a vengeance; we are experiencing another round of studies focused on the major causes of divorce. There are hundreds of articles chronicling the many factors contributing to a marriage’s failure.
These reports reference the below factors as being the top 4 factors leading to divorce. However, I think there is only one…
Relationships end because of money. Marital couples, business partnerships, and friendships have been destroyed over money issues. Regardless how much a couple has, or doesn’t have, money issues and a lack of communication around finances can have a profound effect on a marriage. When interviewing couples for a University of Pennsylvania report, some couples stated money issues were more detrimental to their marriage than an extra marital affair.
We are all human; we all have faults. Some marriages start out with one partner thinking they can “change” the other. Well it doesn’t work that way. We are who we are. We can modify our personal actions; but we cannot change who our partner is. Openly communicating hopes and desires surrounding children, sex, religion, life styles, and finances helps manage present and future expectations.
• Mid-life Crisis
This one is particularly interesting in light of the recent up swing in the Baby Boomer divorce rate. The definition of mid-life crisis can be vague at best. Ultimately it boils down to the desire for a “life change.” A mid-life crisis can seem abrupt and selfish. The desire to change jobs, location or lifestyle can place an enormous amount of stress on a spouse and marriage. Communicating, and discussing this new lust for life with your spouse, can mitigate most of the scary and intimidating feelings. Most spouses do not want to leave their marriage in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Studies show that most individuals in a midlife crisis intend to bring their loved one along for “the new ride.” Lack of communication, assumptions, and unilateral decision-making allows this potentially exciting new “stage in life” to damage and undermine the strongest of relationships.
Yes, sex is important! Both emotional and physical sex! The emotional and physical intimacy of a marriage should not be overlooked. It is an area where most couples lack the ability to effectively communicate. Why is that? Without respectful and open communication around intimacy, couples become angry and resentful. As humans we strive for intimacy, when denied we feel empty. Studies have linked a lack of physical and emotional intimacy with alcoholism, adultery, and binging. When interviewed, most couples said they were still attracted to and desirous of having intimate experiences with their partner; unfortunately, they were unable to adequately communicate their needs and/or desires.
Communication in any relationship is essential. If you don’t deal with what you need to deal with, it will go underground for a while but eventually it will raise its ugly head; often resurfacing with an increased level of anxiety and resentment.
Poor communication is a cancer to any relationship.