No human escapes the heartbreak of love lost. Coincidentally, most of us are not taught what it takes to find and keep love, either.
The divorce rate for first marriages in the United States is currently at 51%, and it doesn’t seem to be going down. For second marriages the divorce rate is around 60%. This is a serious problem on a number of different levels.
The reason that relationships fail is because of unmet expectations. Most of us hope our partners will change, or we reconcile ourselves to the fact that they don’t seem to want to change. Either position causes tension.
For a partnership to succeed, we must be honest about our expectations and clear in our communication. Share the deepest, most honest reasons why you feel the way you do. Express what you don’t want. And then describe specifically what you need from the other person in order for the two of you to have a good relationship ~ and what you will give in return.
Image a world where correct action and self-reflection were taught. A world in which we learn through willingness, not shaming. A world in which we acknowledge that every soul comes here to thrive, to find joy, to love ~ and we are each other’s companions on that journey.
Next time you find yourself on the receiving end of behavior you don’t like, slow down. Instead of getting reactive, teach what you want to see instead. And trust that your companions are as interested and focused on their own journey to wholeness as you are.
You can help couples beat the odds regardless of whether you are in partnership yourself. Be an advocate for partnership by refusing to let your friends make their level of happiness depend on anyone else. Notice the illusory satisfaction of complaining and blaming. Hold the space for your friend to get to the root of their own story: how THEY feel, what THEY need. Help them learn to advocate for themselves so they can successfully negotiate conflict. With your support they will be more likely to create the personal breakthroughs that are needed to build long term intimacy and joy.
Do it for your friends. Do it for love.
Do it for the children.