Have you ever dreamed of a fairy tale marriage?
Last night we watched “Married at First Sight” for the first time. I know, it is a bit of a “busman’s holiday/vacation” for me! But I enjoy watching that kind of social experiment. We watched episodes 1 and 2 of Season 10, which was the earliest we could access on our Netflix.
What was interesting was that all 5 of the couples seemed surprisingly well matched. The “experts” had obviously researched the match making quite extensively. They had taken into account physical preferences, interests in common, and of course personalities, among other categories. We saw 3 of the weddings take place and they certainly all looked very happy. Several individuals described their marriage as a fairy tale.
Afterwards, I was curious to see how many of the couples had actually remained married. SPOILER ALERT: over 14 series only 13 couples have remained married. I don’t know how many couples are in each episode, or how many episodes are in each series, but that is a very low success rate! It’s much less than the often stated projection that in the US 50% of marriages will end in divorce or separation at some point.
So if choosing a mate by looking at a comprehensive and sensible range of criteria doesn’t work to keep couples together, what does? What are these “perfect couples” lacking that prevents them from being happy together?
Let’s look at the reasons given for divorce in the US according to research:
- Lack of commitment 73%
- Too much arguing 56%
- Infidelity 55%
- Married too young 46%
- Unrealistic expectations 45%
- Lack of equality in the relationship 44%
- Lack of preparation for marriage 41%
- Domestic Violence or Abuse 25%
(Respondents often cited more that one reason, therefore the percentages add up to much more than 100 percent)
As you can see a lack of commitment is the biggest reason for divorce. This means that when problems arise, such as infidelity or too much arguing, people are generally not committed to work on their relationship. Maybe they work on it for a bit and give up. Perhaps they have been unhappy for years and don’t know what the work is that they need to do. Whatever their situation is, it is a lot easier to tell yourself that you married the wrong person in the first place. It is so easy to re-enter the marriage market and “get’ another partner.
But as you might already know from statistics on 2nd and 3rd marriages, the likelihood of divorce goes up dramatically. In fact I have read that if one of you has been married before, you are 90% more likely to get divorced than if it is a first marriage for both of you. Quite a depressing statistic!!
What can we do?
So what can we all do to avoid divorce and have a happy marriage? If lack of commitment causes the most divorces, then having commitment causes couples to stay together. But commitment to what? To the idea of staying together? Nobody wants to stay together to be unhappy! No, commitment to working on your relationship. This involves acceptance that both partners need to constantly improve. It means you have to have uncomfortable conversations and be willing to be vulnerable.
So the people who talked about a fairy tale in Married at First Sight were right. That’s exactly what it turned out to be: a lovely fictional story that was not based on reality.
If you want any help with building commitment in your marriage, I invite you to try out a powerful coaching call so you can experience it for yourself. It is my gift to you.
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Feel free to let me know what you think of this. ❤️
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