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Holidays can revive romance or widen cracks between couples
by Graeme J. Davidson,
27 December 2008

The main reason wives give for leaving is emotional neglect and lack of sensitivity on the part of their husbands. They feel lonely and unloved.

....Former Hollywood actor Mickey Rooney quipped, “Always get married in the morning. That way, if it doesn’t work out, you haven’t wasted a whole day.” While I’ve known only one marriage to end that fast, the staff at Wellington’s registry office tell me there are brides turning up within days of their wedding wanting to know how to get a divorce.
....These women are not alone. A British study found about a quarter of divorcees had serious doubts as they walked down the aisle. Many married women said they wouldn’t remarry their current husband if they had the opportunity and we all know of widows who’ve blossomed after burying their husbands. Kiwi wives in their late 30s or early 40s instigate most of the divorce proceedings that end a third of New Zealand marriages.
....According to a recent Expedia survey, Kiwis look forward to going on holiday more than anything else. We want to get away, unwind and spend quality time with our partner and children. Holidays promise to revive romance, and they do for most of us. But the prolonged intimacy can bring stress that widens cracks between couples, causing more relationships to fall apart during holidays than at other times.
....Holiday break-ups are not the only risk couples face. Researchers found we have a higher chance of splitting if we have a low income, a pregnancy prior to marriage, wide differences in intellect or personality type, or different religious faiths. The risk increases if we’ve said “I do” at a young age, if either partner has previously split from a marriage or similar relationship, if either partner has previously been promiscuous or either set of parents has split.
....The main reason wives give for leaving is emotional neglect and lack of sensitivity on the part of their husbands. They feel lonely and unloved. Infidelity is involved in about a fifth of break-ups and is often a symptom of the relationship already being in trouble. Substance abuse, verbal and physical ill-treatment and problems with health, finances and children are also significant reasons why couples split. Lack of respect and communication problems are warning signs a relationship’s in trouble.
....Couples who pray together don’t always stay together. A recent Barna Group survey in the US discovered Christians divorce at about the same rate as the general population.
How do we avoid divorce? There are plenty of suggestions. Seeking professional help early could help. Most couples wait until they’ve hit the rocks so their marriage counselling degenerates into sessions about how the partner who wants to leave can abandon the relationship.
....Many churches provide pre-marriage counselling to help couples understand what’s involved in marriage and how to cope with problems. Some also run programmes for married couples designed to enrich and improve their communication skills, intimacy and emotional lives together.
....An interesting experiment promoted by evangelical Christians in the US is the covenant marriage, which has been a legal option in Louisiana, Arizona and Arkansas since the late 1990s. Couples in these three states can choose between a regular marriage licence that allows no-fault divorce or a covenant marriage licence that requires premarital counselling and the couple signing a sworn statement to do all they can to save their marriage and seek marriage counselling when they hit stormy conditions.
.... Divorce is a last option and is normally only granted if there is sufficient evidence of adultery, abuse, abandonment or life imprisonment.
....Few couples opt for the covenant option and researchers have found that most people, whether they have a covenant marriage or not, do try to take their marriage vows seriously.
....Perhaps the best way to avoid break-ups is to take to heart what researchers have learned from those with successful lifelong marriages. The partners strongly believe they are right for each other and benefit from their relationship. There’s also a high degree of trust, understanding, respect, intimacy and emotional support for each other, even if they don’t always agree. Most importantly, they are the best of friends.



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