Counselor’s Corner: Divorce and Marriage

Counselor's Corner: Divorce and Marriage

Divorce and Marriage

The divorce rate in the United States continues to climb and now sits at about 53% after recent reports. This is an alarming rate that marriages are ending considering what is at stake. Another alarming report is the divorce rate for professional athletes is in the 60%-80% range. If we take the middle percentage of 70 percent that means only 30 percent of professional athlete’s marriages succeed. Let’s say the average professional soccer team has a 25-man roster and apply these percentages we would get about 7 successful marriages per roster.  This is not including coaches and other staff members involved with team, which would fall under the same stress and hours of work as the athletes.

The research stats that this is starting to be an expectation for professional athletes because of the amount of money they make, the time away from families and spouses, fame and much more. Besides the fame, a lot of working Americans face the same struggles as professional athletes, so what about this profession makes the divorce rate 10%-30% higher than the national average?

As a culture we applaud professional success but rarely if ever applaud professionals for personal success.  We spend time planning careers, training sessions, nutrition, film study, off-season workouts, and so much more goes into being a professional.  If we focused this much on marriage or deciding to get married people would be happier in and out of a marriage.

While the career of a professional athlete can be short, having a balanced life can help during a career and after. Putting effort in all areas of life can be difficult but healthier in the long run. Below are some resources that could help when deciding about marriage and during.

Resources

Prepare-Enrich is a good “pregame” resource for marriage. This is an assessment that will help couples see their strength and growth areas along with strengthening communication skills, identify and manage major stressors, resolve conflict, explore family origins and much more.  While this tool can be used at any point in a relationship if it is used before marriage it will help the couple be surer of the decision they are making in the covenant of marriage.

The American Psychological Association posted an article by Judith S. Wallerstien saying that successful marriages complete these psychological tasks.

Nine psychological tasks for a good marriage

  • Separate emotionally from the family you grew up in; not to the point of estrangement, but enough so that your identity is separate from that of your parents and siblings.
  • Build togetherness based on a shared intimacy and identity, while at the same time set boundaries to protect each partner’s autonomy.
  • Establish a rich and pleasurable sexual relationship and protect it from the intrusions of the workplace and family obligations.
  • For couples with children, embrace the daunting roles of parenthood and absorb the impact of a baby’s entrance into the marriage. Learn to continue the work of protecting the privacy of you and your spouse as a couple.
  • Confront and master the inevitable crises of life.
  • Maintain the strength of the marital bond in the face of adversity. The marriage should be a safe haven in which partners are able to express their differences, anger and conflict.
  • Use humor and laughter to keep things in perspective and to avoid boredom and isolation.
  • Nurture and comfort each other, satisfying each partner’s needs for dependency and offering continuing encouragement and support.
  • Keep alive the early romantic, idealized images of falling in love, while facing the sober realities of the changes wrought by time.

While these are not foolproof these are good steps to keep/get a marriage going in the right direction.

Lastly, it is acceptable to seek help. People are willing to find mentors and coaches to help with professional growth. It is time that we do the same for personal and marital growth as well. Seek out a pastor or chaplain, counselor, close friend that can help with the personal side of life. Try not to wait until crisis sets in. The sooner a couple starts talking with someone and working towards a healthy marriage the easier it can be to navigate.

Respectfully,

Counselor Cody

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