Lesson 4 of 7 - optimize your relationships

In love? It's not enough to
 keep a marriage, study finds

Reuters Life!, via Yahoo
 online news
July 14, 2009

The Web address of this article is http://sfhelp.org/mates/news/love.htm

Updated  02-24-2015

      Clicking underlined links here will open a new window. Other links will open  an informational popup, so please turn off your browser's popup blocker or allow popups from this nonprofit Web site. If your playback device doesn't support Javascript, the popups may not display. Follow underlined links after finishing this article to avoid getting lost. .

      This article is a classic example of well-meant, superficial "research" and mass-media reportage about marriage. It misdirects readers from the true causes of marital failure - psychological wounds + an inability to problem-solve + unwise commitment choices. See my comments after the article. The links and hilights below are mine. - Peter Gerlach, MSW

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SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) Living happily ever after needn't only be for fairy tales. Australian researchers have identified what it takes to keep a couple together, and it's a lot more than just being in love.

A couple's age, previous relationships and even whether they smoke or not are factors that influence whether their marriage is going to last, according to a study by researchers from the Australian National University.

The study, entitled "What's Love Got to Do With It," tracked nearly 2,500 couples -- married or living together -- from 2001 to 2007 to identify factors associated with those who remained together compared with those who divorced or separated.

It found that a husband who is nine or more years older than his wife is twice as likely to get divorced, as are husbands who get married before they turn 25.

Children also influence the longevity of a marriage or relationship, with one-fifth of couples who have kids before marriage -- either from a previous relationship or in the same relationship -- having separated compared to just nine percent of couples without children born before marriage.

Women who want children much more than their partners are also more likely to get a divorce.

A couple's parents also have a role to play in their own relationship, with the study showing some 16 percent of men and women whose parents ever separated or divorced experienced marital separation themselves compared to 10 percent for those whose parents did not separate.
Also, partners who are on their second or third marriage are 90 percent more likely to separate than spouses who are both in their first marriage.

Not surprisingly, money also plays a role, with up to 16 percent of respondents who indicated they were poor or where the husband -- not the wife -- was unemployed saying they had separated, compared with only nine percent of couples with healthy finances.

And couples where one partner, and not the other, smokes are also more likely to have a relationship that ends in failure.

Factors found to not significantly affect separation risk included the number and age of children born to a married couple, the wife's employment status and the number of years the couple had been employed.

The study was jointly written by Dr Rebecca Kippen and Professor Bruce Chapman from The Australian National University, and Dr. Peng Yu from the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Copyright 2009 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.


      I've studied family relationships for 36 years, and counseled hundreds of troubled couples since 1981. The pattern that has emerged from them is that typical marital stresses come from four or five combined causes:

  • denied psychological wounds in one or both partners, and...

  • shared unawareness and ignorance of up to 7 vital topics, - specially effective-communication basics; and...

  • incomplete grief from major life losses (broken bonds). These promote...

  • up to three unwise courtship choices. Then...

  • troubled couples can find little informed help available in their community or the media.

      These well-meaning Australian researchers did not test for these variables in assessing the 2,500 couples they studied for six years. In my experience, this omission is common among reputable (unaware) social researchers and relationship authors and educators.

      This reprint illustrates two major, reputable media sources with a wide readership (Reuters and Yahoo News) suggesting superficial causes of marital separations - at least with Australian couples. This unintentionally hinders family adults and human-service professionals from awareness of the five stressors above and what they mean - epidemic psychological and legal divorce, and major family and social trauma.

      Divorce starts in courtship. It is a sign of - and a cause of - the lethal [wounds + unawareness] cycle that blights most societies. For more perspective, see this article. For three useful steps to prevent divorce, see this. Lessons 1-7  in this nonprofit Web site offer practical help in combating the first four marriage and family stressors above.

      This brief YouTube video outlines key things mates need from each other for a satisfying relationship. Divorce occurs when one or both partners aren't filling these needs well enough. The video mentions eight lessons in this self-improvement Web site - I've reduced that to seven:

- Peter Gerlach MSW

        If you're a media professional, see this for perspective and options..

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      Pause, breathe, and reflect - why did you read this article? Did you get what you needed? If not, what do you need? Who's answering these questions - your true Self, or someone else?

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