Good friends are hard to find…and keep, (kinda like Soul Mates). So if this story seems quite familiar, and you remember their “real names,” let’s just keep it between us. The second two names I just thought about using was Jack and Jill. I tried to scroll the list of all the names of couples I learned about growing up, and decided not to use Adam and Eve, my obvious first choice.
Jack waited until he was in his mid-forties until he decided that since he loved Jill so much, he was ready to tie the knot. He was so proud to be with her, loved her looks, couldn’t keep his hands off her, the sex was great and she was very intelligent. What more could a guy wish for?
Soon after moving in together, cracks started to appear in their “perfect” relationship. He was a saver and she increased her spending dramatically claiming, “Now that there are two incomes, there is so much more to buy.” He was a neat freak and she was content to wait until “later” to clean up the mess she had made. They each talked about what bothered them, but in a cute loving way. “I love her/him so much it’s impossible to be 100% totally compatible, we’ll work out the little glitches,” they were fond of saying to their closest friends.
Jill remembered very clearly that the “little” problems between them exploded the memorable night she got up and felt her way into the master bathroom attempting to tinkle in the dark. She had no idea he had forgotten to lower the toilet seat…..again. He, was blissfully dreaming when he was suddenly awoken mid-dream by the shrieking sound of Jill in distress. He jumped out of bed and ran toward the sound in the pitch dark bathroom and flicked on the light. Unfortunately for him, (but later on fortunately for his divorce attorney), Jack couldn’t stop laughing hysterically at the sight of Jill only with her head, arms and lower legs sticking out of the toilet bowl, involuntarily splashing her shivering private parts in the cold water.
That was the event that they both referred to as “the unceremoniously opening of Pandoras Box.” All those previous cute little difference’s were now being blown out of proportion being described in x-rated profanity The name calling had started and they were at each others throats trying to remember why “I even fell in love with this asshole in the first place.”
I had dinner with him a couple of months after the finalization of their divorce, and Jack was hesitant even thinking about starting to date ever again. “It seemed so perfect in the beginning now it’s over. How do I protect myself from it ever happening again?” We both agreed to do some research and try to find the solution.
I told Jack that I had read an article about Dr. John Gottman, director of Seattle University’s “Love Lab” and founder of the Gottman Institute, that have studied thousands of couples for decades. He claims that there are “Four Horsemen of the Relationship Apocalypse.” He claims these four traits are: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. Criticism includes attacking your partners personality, “why are you always so late?” Contempt is constantly putting your partner down, “you’re stupid for believing that.” Defensiveness is rebuffing your partners complaint with one of your own, (kind of like tit for tat). Stonewalling means clamming up and refusing to discuss anything at all.
If the intent is to mutually resolve the difficulty between you, then you can look for a highly recommended relationship counselor nearby your home and take classes together for resolving your particular issues. You’ll learn that stopping the hurtful accusatory words will go a long way in resolving your problems.
So Who Will Make it as a Couple?
It really boils down to good communication.Two-thirds of couples claim that their spouse often made them feel good about themselves, whereas only about one quarter of unhappy couples could claim the same thing. The rule to remember: Even if you assume your partner already knows how you feel, that he/she is smart/funny/sexy, or that you’re very grateful for the “things” they do, it’s still vey important to reiterate your appreciation for each other often.
What’s the Main Cause for Divorce?
Most people think it’s the highly dramatic ones like adultery or domestic violence but they are wrong. The main reason is a “soft” one, “We just grew apart.”
Advice on How to Make it Work
Don’t assume that since you don’t fight constantly or get into jealous spats that all is O.K. You both need to think about improving the soft side of your relationship, In particular, doing things together. Learning to play a sport and taking bridge lessons together, taking that cooking class, or even taking Ukulele lessons together, will add additional sparks. The reason is that your togetherness creates dopamine, a chemical in our bodies that is released into your blood stream. It also was released when you first fell in love. Staying in love is not that hard; keep up the mutual respect and do fun stuff together.
It takes a concerted effort to avoid ennui (boredom). Think about all the things you always wanted to do, or try, or see, or listen to, or visit, and plan on sharing them together.
I love to hear from you. Take a few minutes and write a couple of sentences in the comments section about your love story.
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