Why are we seeing more long term marriages falling apart? Any ideas? There are many reasons why a long term marriage falls apart, but in most cases what we haven’t seen is the marriage slowly breaking down. Couples, especially those with children or professional reputations to consider, can be very adept at hiding what is truly going on behind closed doors.
What we do know is that if these couples had started counseling early on, there is a good chance that these marriages would have grown stronger, not weaker. One of the more common excuses for a long term marriage failing is that the couple were ‘drifting apart’. We all grow and develop as we age – we can choose to drift apart, or we can choose to play an active role in our partner’s lives as they grow.
This is one area where counseling can be of real assistance to marriages. Counselors can teach couples how to grow as individuals while also growing as a couple. We need the freedom to be ourselves and to grow, but that doesn’t mean it has to be at the cost of a marriage.
Children leaving the home and making their own lives always leaves a vacuum in the home. Mothers, who haven’t been working, are suddenly free – yet they have no idea what they should be doing. Others become involved in activities in the years before their last child leaves home. The latter are more fulfilled and handle the ’empty nest’ syndrome much easier.
There is one more reason why long term marriages seem to break up more often today. The reason is very simple – because they can. In the past, it was not ‘the done thing’ to break up after the children left home. The mother of the house often had no resources to fall back on, certainly few skills or employment options. Learning from home, more spouse protection in divorce settlements, and stronger social networks are making these separations much easier.
Before your marriage reaches this point, talk to a marriage counselor. You can both grow independently, yet that independence can be used to strengthen your marriage – not weaken it.