They say, single women over the age of 40 are as !*$# a demographic as can be when it comes to romance (from the movie Somethings Gotta Give). Well, they might not be the only ones. Marriage experts believe that half of all marriages end in divorce and only half of those who stay married are happy couples. This means that only 25 percent of all married women are happy and the rest – 75 percent — walk among us heartbroken, married or divorced. People might think a married woman who leads a reasonable good life, gets what she needs. But this is not so, 75 percent of the time. And if this is the case for the women, there must be a whole lot of unhappy men out there as well.
Does this prove that the institution of marriage is a failure? Maybe. Why are most couples (straight or gay – actually I don’t know if gay couples have the same rate of unhappiness) unhappy in their relationship over time? The answer is manifold and I don’t have the answers. Just a few thoughts:
1. Relationships are like everything that is supposed to last, hard work. Constant talking, listening, reassurances, compromises, and time, time, time commitment is needed. It’s exhausting just to think about it.
2. We have been conditioned by society (think Hollywood movies) to believe that one person – the one we are meant to be with, our soulmate, can be all and everything to us, best friend, amazing lover, breadwinner but available whenever needed, smart and funny… you get the picture. And of course, we humans are imperfect, nobody can live up to these ideals, and so we get disappointed very quickly. The expectations are just too high.
So, what is one to do? Forge many relationships that satisfy one or the other need? Be a better partner? Be your own best friend?
There are many ways to be a happy couple but without intimacy, mental, emotional, and/or physical, you really are not a couple. You are just business partners and even business partners need some form of intimacy, a mental space where they can connect, share a secret, and have a common goal they are working towards.
As I said, I don’t have the answers but I just want to point out that perhaps we should not glorify the institution of marriage as much as we have in the past and be realistic, loving, but realistic and be prepared to work hard for what we think we deserve. Listen first before talking, that kind of thing.
Also, marriage is often portrayed as the one and all, the goal, the happy ending of an adventurous journey. Singles are searching and married people have found it. Well, this may not be so. And next time you see a (gorgeous) married 40-some year old (woman or man), don’t be too harsh on her or him. They might just be as lonely as the next person.
8 thoughts on “Marriage experts believe …”
Thanks for your thoughts! Throw in a few kids into that mix and marriage is even harder…
Yes, kids can be adding to the stress but they can also be a source of inspiration for the relationship. In theory anyway. Thank you for your comments. Keep them coming!
Great post. Marriage is not all happily-ever-after and easy once the vows are exchanged (like in the movies). It’s hard work. I like to think the fruits of that labor are so much sweeter come harvest time, if only both parties would give it their all to keep the marriage healthy and alive. Easier said than done, I know. Life happens and people change. Relationships are two-way. The “marriage” is just a formality. Thanks for writing! Looking forward to more posts 🙂
Thank you Krystal. I like your analogy of harvest time. Very poetic. Looking forward to more of your inputs as well.
In my case, I much prefer being married to being single. I spent my 40s divorced and single, and while I was OK generally with this, I would have stayed with my first marriage if it had been up to me and I felt quite lost for several months after the split. I feel very fortunate to have my second husband, nearly 14 years now. I don’t believe I’m just one in four here, but maybe so. I had to give myself a lot more pep talks when I was single, and lost a lot of weight since I didn’t much care to eat alone.
You are fortunate and we are all benefiting from your happiness. I think you are hitting on two important points — marriage can be a comfort even if when the relationship does not live up to all that it was set out to be. Second, may people remarry and are happy which might change the statistics somewhat. We should do an analysis. 🙂
Marriage is like exercise. You do it and stay in shape, you stop or slow down and fall out of shape and sometimes – if you wait to long, you are too old, tired, busy or interested in other things to get back to the shape you were once in. To top it off – your exercise is totally dependent on another human being so. Once you have a kid, and you are the woman in the marriage – then you are bound to the marriage in some capacity (even in divorce) whether you like it or not. So my advice to a younger me would have been: have a kid and live with other like minded women – and if you are with a man – make sure he has his own house cause one day you will be tired of cleaning up after him. On that day – wrap a dust pan up in beautiful box and send him to his own house. If he learns how to use it, brings you a beautiful gift and also gets a PhD in vacuuming and house hold chores, allow him back in.
Ha! Exercise and chores, I like it. Staying in shape and cleaning together is preferable to doing it on your own I suppose. I like your dust pan gift idea. This also relates to my post on “Why is life hard.” Keep your comments coming!