Statistics about divorce rates in the United States vary widely from one third up to fifty percent. Still, even considering the lower estimations, that would still be every third couple getting divorced.
Surely one reason is the more liberated attitude towards marriage and divorce in our modern society. But there must be different reasons why couples are not getting along in the first place - before divorce becomes an option.
In most cases, it all starts with two people who are madly in love and want to spend the rest of their lives together. Often (here goes liberation again) they've been living together for a while, and they passed already the initial conflicts that arise from two people who suddenly share a living space.
And there lies already the first possible brick in the wall that will divide them later on. By tendency, men are untidier than women. Unwashed dishes are not really a problem, so are unwashed clothes. And since the friends don't really mind those things either, a rather sketchy clearance will do before receiving visitors.
Again by tendency, women prefer things to be clean, tidy and organized. The reputation is altered by the apartment's or house's state of cleanliness when it comes to visitors, so untidy husbands can be a real nuisance. Especially, when they refuse to share the work-to-be-done in the household or even disregard it.
Behind this are two aspects. First, male role behaviour (you might go as far to say, arrogance): I am a man, I will not do housework. Second, many men simply don't give so much importance to those things. That may be influenced by the time spent at home - even though many women are working, they gradually spend more time at home than men, especially if there are children to be taken care of. So of course, the sensitivity towards unwashed socks is higher.
Still, sometimes the degree of female sensitivity on untidyness can reach annoying levels if it's exaggerated. Nagging behaviour and a constant avalanche of complaints, especially about small and objectively unimportant issues, create a stressed atmosphere and can lead to relationship-damaging and most of all unnecessary arguments.
Conclusion: Guys, be more thoughtful with household chores. Try to get used to helping maintain a certain state of cleanliness it's not that hard. And girls, don't also be over-sensitive with your partner's domestic imperfection.
Transferring from easy-going single life to married life will raise a lot of responsibilities that have quite some influence on the way of living. Before, there was only one person to negotiate the course of action with - oneself. Now, two opinions have to be heared and compromises have to be made. That can be quite tough, especially when the respective interests are far from each other. Decisions range from the kind of new car to buy (sporty vs. station wagon), the place to visit on holiday (beach vs. culture) to small things like the color of the necktie.
Depending on who's dominant in the marriage, one partner will feel overruled. Or there will be a constant source of arguments if both won't give in. Either way, it leads to a bad mood and a strained relationship.
Conclusion: Don't just show, but really take interest in what your partner really likes doing. Be open-minded, and overcome social role patterns. Maybe you'll find more common interests among each other.
On the other side, be fair if your partner really doesn't like something. Offer deals (Icehockey against classic concert), or make compromises.
Get used to the thought that marriage will cost you a lot of your personal freedom. Preferrably, get used to that thought BEFORE you decide to get married.
Now you were really enjoying the time together, and it could go on like this for years and suddenly (well, not that suddenly, but sometimes rather unexpected), there are three of you there.
Children can have a serious impact on the plans you made for the next years.
Commonly, men are completely and blissfully ignorant when it comes to dealing with babies. This is surely based in social role patterns - and maybe many are just lacking the talent.
So the mother often gets stuck with the work. Full-time job might not be an option for a while, so it requires a healthy self-confidence to accept the lack of personal acknowlegdement through working success.
But there is also the other side of the medal: In the case of working couples, the husband's responsibility is increased regarding the family's financial situation. Career decisions and risks are not easily taken anymore, and the budget is usually tighter with a third mouth to feed. At that point, nagging about money and arguments about long working hours can cause the husband to develop a feeling of estrangement towards his family out of the anger from lack of understanding.
Since this can be a volcanic source of arguments, better make sure you realize the work that's coming up to you before having a child.
Guys, be helpful. Don't come home after a stressy working day and expect to relax. Depending on the number and temperament of your offspring, your wife probably had an even more stressy day. Help her out where possible - if you can't go with children, at least take over some of the household stuff. Dishes are easier to wash than babies, and they don't fight back.
Girls, show understanding if your husband, though trying hard, has got difficulties when it comes to such profane things like changing diapers. They probably didn't have practice with their little siblings when they were young, and they didn't share a similar affection towards dolls.
Arguments cannot be avoided. Still, try to maintain a civilized way of dealing with each other. It's better to swallow your pride and a sharp reply than hurting your partner's feelings.
Be open to criticism. That's the hardest part of all, but what do you expect when you share your intimate life with someone? Fight the first impulse to defend yourself when criticized and keep your mouth shut. Admit your mistakes. And avoid being resentful. You won't like it being done to you either.
Two partners should be equal in marriage, so no one will rule over the other.
That means a lot of compromises and probably a reduction of former pleasant spare-time activities. Be prepared for that, and keep in mind that what might be great fun for you is a waste of time for your partner.
Remind yourself of the love you feel for each other, and show it. There's no law against being sweet even if you've been married for some years.
And if you're having a hard time, clear your mind, and remember why in the first place you got married.
About The Author
Contributed by Brigitte Meier for E-nterests.com.
Back to the Top