I have made it back home from Sydney, and am alive and well. It’s taken some time though – that flu really hit me for six! We didn’t make it to the harbour, but we did have dinner at O Bar and Dining (revolving restaurant 47 floors up), so that was nice. Once home, my gorgeous little ten month old ended up ill as well, poor little guy. But he is recovered and napping now, so I have a chance to write…
With Valentines Day just passed and a lot of discussion in the news regarding affairs (thanks politicians) – I thought I would write a bit about love. More specifically: marriage/relationships. In Australia, about one-in-three marriages end in divorce. One-in-three! There are a few countries that come in higher, and thankfully, many that come in lower.
That’s a pretty saddening statistic. Another quite alarming part, is that the marriage statistics don’t include the serious relationships that bust up. The median age for marriage (in Australia) is around thirty, but quite a few people are in de facto relationships, some with children, and these are obviously vulnerable to the same circumstances as a divorce.
Now, I’m only 2.5 years married and 6.5 years in the relationship, but I am fairly certain of one thing. It is summed up quite nicely by this…
In a nutshell.. Relationships take work. They do. And, love is a commitment. Any couple that has been together for 60 years – you know, those ones that are holding hands at 80 years old and it makes you go “awwwww”- that stuff is no fluke. Affairs, financial stress, intimacy issues, career changes, grief, emotional times etc. These are obstacles that strong relationships may have to overcome. The beauty of it all – is that when relationships do make it through tough times – they come out stronger.
Now, I am not condoning putting up with abuse of any type or staying in a hurtful relationship. I understand that divorces will happen. No one should be expected to live their life in misery. Absolutely. My concern, is that in an era where we are really pushing our individualistic culture, we may be giving unrealistic expectations of relationships. For example.. let’s have a look at this..
I get the positive message that is trying to be said here. But, it is very one-sided, and that just doesn’t work in a relationship with two people. Among the push for us to put ourselves before anyone else, the romantic movies Hollywood gives us where after a few dramas you end up married to a total babe who is funny, wealthy, completely dedicated to you and your interests and a demon in the bedroom to boot, is it any wonder that perseverance during the tough times seems so dreadful?
If Ryan Gosling was my husband he wouldn’t tell me to get my feet off the dash. I don’t love this man anymore. Get me a divorce. That’s not the spirit guys! Here’s another stat to add to the discussion: the median age for divorce in Australia is between 40 and 45 years old. Married for around twelve years. So, contrary to what we might stereotypically think, it’s not all 23 year old’s that were married at 18 who are getting divorced. Another part to this we should consider – is children. It is a huge argument whether divorce affects children and their development. One thing is for sure; It is going to impact them emotionally when it occurs. My parents didn’t divorce until I was 23 years old, and I can honestly say that it did effect my views on marriage. First, it became less important to me. I felt that I would be happy in a de facto relationship my whole life, because obviously being married did not mean the relationship would last forever. Later on, once my husband and I had our first child, I did want to marry. But, I knew that my commitment to my husband would be one of severe determination, and although we have been through tough times, it still is. Both of us have divorced parents, and both of us are relentlessly committed to each other. So, in the end, there has probably been a negative and a positive effect for us. But everyone responds differently.
Anyway, here are a couple of simple things to consider, and they can be applied to any relationship in your life. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a romantic relationship.
- Be realistic. Okay, so she only watches the football for the guys butts and couldn’t name a team for the life of her.. But, she does get out of bed and pack you lunch for work. Yeah, he doesn’t bring you flowers once a week.. But, he does look after you when your are sick with the flu. No, you and your mum don’t have mimosas and brunch every Sunday.. She does, however, never miss your birthday. That’s okay! What is important is that you are there for one another. Don’t believe what you see on television, movies, social media etc. If you can read this, you are old enough to know that life is not a fairy-tale. It’s beautiful and amazing! But not perfect. This goes for relationships as well. They can be imperfect, but still the most amazing, wonderful thing!
- Find a good way to argue. Yes, that’s what I meant to say. It is highly unlikely that two people will agree on everything ever. The key is to know how to address it. If you disagree on say, a parenting method – sit down and discuss it. Find what works for you. Write a pros and cons list. Research and write a report on it. Ask others advice. Sit down with a beer and talk philosophically. Whatever works! Just not hysterical screaming. Unhealthy coping methods such as ignoring each other or screaming at each other, they are generally not productive, and they may affect others in the household (children!).
- Be committed and revisit the reasons why. So she ate the last Timtam. You had a bad day at work and all you wanted was one fucking chocolate coated biscuit! Relax. And you know I was joking there, but apply this to serious situations as well. Let’s say.. she got drunk and texted her ex. You’re pissed off. Like, really pissed off. What do you do? Think about the relationship and the reasons why you are in love. Is she the mother of your children? Does she help you be the best person you can be? Is she one hundred percent faithful and just done something really stupid? Sit back and consider the circumstances of the situation, and the repercussions of moves made after that. Is it worth moving the kids out, slashing her tyres, burning her clothes and causing absolute chaos and trauma..? Or, is it worth forgiving a silly move, because you friggin’ love this girl and she made a mistake. Avoid the heat of the moment. We don’t make the best decisions when our brains are scattered. Feel your emotions first, then make decisions later.
My son has well and truly woken up, and the love of my life is pestering me to go and run some errands, so I am going to end the post there. Obviously love, marriage, romance, sex and the rest is a huge topic, but hopefully this has given a little insight.
Until next time.. Love hard guys.
*stats from the ABS 👍