Dr. Terri Orbuch, a research professor at the University of Michigan and author of the book “Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship“ has completed a study that found people who experienced failed marriages often offer the best advice on how to build a happy relationship.
It kind of makes perfect sense if you think about it. One of my favorite quotes is: “Failure is merely the opportunity to start again more intelligently”.
Once you do anything and fail miserably at it, surely you learn something, right?
The marriage study started back in 1986, and followed the relationships of 373 newlyweds. By 2012, 46% had gotten divorced.
[Sidebar: The marriage breakup rate in America for first marriage is 41% to 50%; the rate after second marriage is from 60% to 67% and the rate in America for 3rd marriage are from 73% to 74%. Reports also say that couples with children have a slightly lower rate of breakup as compared to couples without children.]
The study found that the people who had divorced or ended a serious relationship over and over again brought up the same 5 issues that they would improve if they had the chance to do it all again.
Letting go of the past is a key to being in a happy relationship. This is true for people who are currently married as well as those seeking love. If you are irked by thoughts of your partner’s old boyfriend or girlfriend or of a fight that happened weeks ago, you might not be interacting in a healthy, positive way.
The study also suggests that people who felt neutral toward their ex were significantly more likely to find love after a divorce. If you can’t let go of your anger, her book outlines a number of exercises including writing a detailed letter to the person you are angry at—and burning it.
4. Communication is key.
A trap many couples fall into is “maintenance” rather than true communication. Orbuch suggests having a “10 minute rule” every day when you, “Talk to your partner about something other than work, the relationship, the house, or the children.”
The key is revealing something about yourself and learning something about your spouse. “Forty-one percent of divorced people say they would change their communication style,” says Orbuch,“and, 91% of happily married couples say they know their partner intimately.”
3. Don’t play the “blame game”. Examine what went wrong in the relationship instead of assigning individual blame, suggests Orbuch, and think about how you can resolve conflict better next time.
“When divorced couples found fault with their relationship using ‘we’ statements, they were significantly more likely to find love than those who used ‘I’ or ‘you’ statements.”
Those who found blame in factors such as being incompatible or too young experienced less anxiety, insomnia, and depression than those who blamed their former partner or themselves for a break-up.
Another surprise was that men crave affection—but not necessarily sex—more than women.“It’s counterintuitive,” says Orbuch, “but men crave feeling special and being noticed by their wives.”
She adds that men who report not getting enough nonsexual affection were twice as likely to ask for a divorce, but the reverse was not true for women. “Women are fortunate. We get this kind of affirmation from more people in our lives, our mothers, children, our best friends”—so women tend to need less from their husbands.
And the numero uno downfall to most marriages? Dollars and cents!
The study found that many divorced singles say that money was the number one source of conflict in the early years of marriage.
Orbuch recommends that each partner evaluate their own approach to spending and saving money and discuss with their spouse early on. She says there is no one-size-fits-all-financial plan, but couples need to determine their own rules and adhere to them.
A wedding is simple. A “marriage? Not so much! Trust me… I know. 😯
While they say all wounds are healed by time, if a significant other hurt you (especially one you committed to for “LIFE” before God and more importantly your Mom & Dad!!), it’s easy to hold on to the pain of a failed relationship and never let go.
It’s easier to hold grudges than to forgive, but the sooner you can move past the trauma of divorce… the sooner you can move on to a future with someone better suited for you.