When we look at relationships in our country today, we have to ask the question, are relationships doomed? If we look at statistics from places like Divorcesource.com or Census.gov, then we know that divorce is still very rampant in America, and consequently the rest of the world. Since the US influences and affects others nations with our philosophy, it goes to reason that this too will seep in. Maybe not to the degree that it effects us here in the US, but enough to noticeably start to effect other countries, and then where will we be?
Its odd that relationships and divorce seem to rise in times of economical hardships and then the divorce rates fall when the economy is good again. This greatly disturbs me. Why would anyone go into a relationship thinking that it won’t work? I believe that if you’re in a relationship and believe it’s going to work out, never giving yourself the option of “out”, then a relationship has a chance to survive. Relationships are hard, and if people think that there is an out, they will surely take it, even if all it would have taken is a little hard work to fix it and make it last. We live in a society of quick fixes and instant gratification. That is a serious problem in today’s society. Quite frequently, we think that the grass is greener on the other side, but find that it isn’t, by that time the damage is already done. Someone has a broken heart, too hard to forgive, and too damaged not to ruin the next person they attempt to have a relationship with.
We’ve all known someone who’s had a divorce or broken relationship. The trend that I’ve noticed is that most couples don’t know or understand the “why” of the brake up. I’ve interview hundreds of couples and of course you’ll get the generic, he/she just wasn’t for me or we just didn’t go well together. Those might all be true, but there is a level of selfishness in that idea that I’d like to point out. Here’s a stark example, if the husband/boyfriend is a sports fan and spends too much time watching the game and not enough time paying attention to his partner, then he is at fault and is being very selfish and unappreciative of and to his partner, however let’s delve deeper. If he does wish and attempts to include his partner in his passions, yet they resist, then he is no longer being selfish, they are. If its your partner, why wouldn’t you want to enjoy or share in everything they love doing or are passionate about? What makes one way superior to another? One of my favorite artists, Amy Grant, reminds us of that in her Song, “Good For Me Baby“. In relationship therapy, couples are asked to do and share in all of the things that makes the other happy, to take that action and love one another.
One of my favorite writers, Steven R. Covey said it best, when he referenced a couple contemplating divorce in his book,
“My wife and I just don’t have the same feelings for each other we used to have. I guess I just don’t love her anymore and she doesn’t love me. What can i do?”
“The feeling isn’t there anymore?” I asked.
“That’s right,” he reaffirmed. “And we have three children we’re really concerned about. What do you suggest?”
“love her,” I replied.
“I told you, the feeling just isn’t there anymore.”
“You don’t understand. the feeling of love just isn’t there.”
“Then love her. If the feeling isn’t there, that’s a good reason to love her.”
“But how do you love when you don’t love?”
“My friend , love is a verb. Love – the feeling – is a fruit of love, the verb. So love her. Serve her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her. Are you willing to do that?”
I’m not implying that there aren’t bad relationships or that some relationships aren’t toxic. What I am saying, is that we live in a society that has made it far too easy to recycle relationships, to only have them fall apart again, because we haven’t and aren’t addressing the biggest reason that they fell apart to begin with. Lack of communication, understanding and acceptance, are the keys to a successful relationship. In my opinion, the only instance where it’s truly appropriate to “flee” from a relationship is violence, infidelity or that it is toxic and does nothing to enrich or inspire you. When did we, as a people cease to endeavor to listen, learn and love? We are so wrapped up in our own selfish worlds, that we miss those around us, that genuinely love and care about us, however because it doesn’t fit a certain standard, we ignore or reject them.
Statistically, if you look at history, when people got married they stayed married, it was never an issue in our society till now. If love is so disposable, then why not just find someone or something to satisfy your emotional, physical or intellectual needs when the mood hits you and forget about relationships completely? Why put forth the effort and emotion knowing that it’s all temporary? Even worse, why risk hurting another irreparably? We can’t just walk away from relationships, because I believe man was not made to be alone, there is a desire in us to be together. I’ve heard so many men and women say that, “they just want to be happy”, yet day after day, we make ourselves and others miserable. We say we want love, but when it’s offered to us, we reject it, because it’s not the way that we selfishly wanted it, dreamed of it, or were told that we could have it. As the cartoon above eludes to, we would rather keep it in the “friend” zone with certain people, people who would have moved heaven and earth just to make us happy.
I honestly feel that God, the Universe, the Law of Attraction, or whatever you believe in, sends MANY men and women suitors to us that we would have been perfectly happy and satisfied with, however our ego’s and selfishness take over and ruin it. He/She doesn’t have the right car or enough money, or a big enough house, etc, or the best job, or a job at all and that’s no different then animals choosing each other over who has the prettiest stones in the nest. If we aren’t suppose to be animals, then why do we persist in acting like them?! I know countless men and women who’ve had their heart broken this way, when all they needed was for the one they love to believe in them. I know millionaires, who use to be homeless and broke, and entrepreneurs that came from broken homes. Its not what you have, its NEVER what you have, its who you are, and how much love and effort you put into the person your with. I say stop jumping from person to person trying to find yourself or the perfect fit, there is no such thing. You make yourself into what you wish to be, no one else has that power but you. If we as a people, not just the US, don’t start caring about our partners and loving the person that we have, and not the super model or the person next door, then how can they truly love us? That’s when relationships, society, and the family values that this country was suppose to be founded on, will become truly Doomed!