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"... society's greater acceptance of divorce may itself be contributing to the decline in marital happiness. A study published in the Journal of Family Issues recently concluded that "by adopting attitudes that provide greater freedom to leave unsatisfying marriages, people may be increasing the likelihood that their marriages will become unsatisfying in the long run. "It seems that the divorce culture feeds on itself, creating a one-way
downward spiral of unhappiness and failure." - David Brenner
In a society where gradually, by means of technology, everything is becoming easier for us; marriage ends up being one of the only difficulties that isn't simplified by the advancement of society. Therefore, in a sense, our culture adapts the idea that marriage should be simple as well, and if not, it must come to an end. There is no "Disney World" package kind of marriage, but unfortunately many people believe there is. Many couples believe that the entire marriage is going to be as "perfect" as the first year, but later find out otherwise. Marriage, in fact, takes work. Many leave current situations in search of another, but soon realize that the "grass isn't greener on the other side." And the trend continues
"Americans love to get married, but half our marriages don't take. Then we switch partners and remarry, with roughly the same odds of success." - Amy Dickinson
In two of the three synoptic Gospels (Mark 10:2-12 and Luke 16:18) Jesus claims divorce is unacceptable and remarriage is the same as adultery. He also says that once a man and woman are united as one, they should not separate (Rubio, 166). Though the bible says this, what does a spouse do when they are being abused in a marriage? As noble as it would be to try to "work out" issues to save a marriage, I firmly believe that one should take themselves out of any kind of abusive relationship or situation, especially when there are children involved. Even if the children do not see the violence directly, they unfortunately see the effects it has on the abused. Sadly it's been shown that there is a cycle when it comes to violence, and in a way it usually doesn't end. Abuse can be not only hitting one's husband and wife, but forcing one or the other to have sex when not in the mood, or humiliating one another in front of others.
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In my opinion, the basis of a lasting marriage that will not end up in divorce is the idea of human love rather than romantic love. I believe that many couples may think and feel like the beginning stages of the relationship are feelings toward human love, but are actually feelings of romantic love. Romantic love is based more on the feelings of lust and enjoying ones company. Human love is a much deeper and spiritual feeling between partners. A couple must learn to grow into human love, but at the same time try to keep that romantic spark that is so immanent in the early stages of a relationship. As you stated in class, "Make love to a person not a body." This statement holds true for the marriage as a whole. The greatest unselfish gift a husband/wife can give to one another is to understand the difference between the two types of love.
"Even though romantic love has not turned out to be what we thought, there is
Still a human love that is inherent in us, and this love will be with us even after
Our projections, our illusions, and our artifices have all passed away."
Many married couples assume that both human and romantic love are intertwined, and put too much importance on the romantic end. Once the romantic "spark" is gone, so is the relationship as a whole. Romantic love is a dead end road and leads couples to doubt love's entire existence. A marriage should have the primary focus of loving one another for who you are instead of who you would like each other to be. You cannot "mold" your spouse into the person you would like. Conflict is sure to come out of this attitude as the realization that there is someone better in the world will come about. There is no self interest in love and each spouse must work to becoming the "whole" that they were married to be (Rubio, 39).
In intimate relationships, communication is the foundational skill. There is none more basic as it is the indispensable condition of union. Efficient communication can keep marriages together even in the most difficult situations. It is the only way two people can continue growing together, or even living together. Clinical psychologist Dr. Michele Carelse addressed several techniques to help better communication between partners. The married couple should attempt to spend more time together despite the busy lives they lead. The time spent together should be a priority and not just watching a TV show while one is cooking dinner and the other is helping the kids with homework. Also, make sure your partner understands what you say. A lot of arguments begin with one assuming that the other heard them or understood them when they did not. Do not keep things inside. Let your feelings out or they will build up to be one huge argument in the end (Caralse, 1-7). The most important communication skill, in my opinion, is to focus on the positive more than the negative, because negative words are more powerful than positive ones. If there is a positive atmosphere then long lasting argument and subsequently divorce is less likely to happen. The problem is these things are easy to say, but difficult to follow.
''Love does tend to grow, but loving each other may not prevent break-up,'' according to psychologist Susan Sprecher, Ph.D., of Illinois State University. ''Couples break up because of decreased levels of satisfaction in the relationship-not because they stop loving each other.'' Marriage is not how we see it in the movies, falling in love and having butterflies the whole time. However, if we put the time and effort into the human love of a marriage, it will not end in divorce.