I had the opportunity to catch most of a radio show today on my local public radio station concerning “graying marriages.” The show was focusing on long-term marriages and why they stay together but even more on why more are breaking up after being together for a long time (think the Gores).
A couple of statements I found most interesting:
1. “Long-term marriages, those lasting 20, 30 or more years…” Wow. I’m in a long-term marriage as of August 18. Cool.
2. As a country, we are the most prolific marrying type…also the most likely to divorce…and most likely to remarry.
3. Our country tends to hold two conflicting values: romantic marriage and individualism. Because we keep asking ourselves if we are happy, we may be more likely to see if the grass is greener.
4. There is a rise in the number of long-term marriages that end in divorce. In these kinds of marriages, women are more likely to initiate it when in seemingly stable relationships. Men are more likely to initiate it when they feel there is a chance they can have someone else give them what they have felt they were missing.
5. Newness in marriage as well as flexibility seem to be two factors at play in successful marriages. In other words. trying new things and being willing to change roles over the years tends to keep couples out of staleness and thus avoid tempting thoughts that there might be something better out there. Ultimately, this means every long-term marriage really has 3 or more relationships in it due to role changes that take place.
One of the show’s segments included an interview with writer Rachel Simon. Rachel spoke of her 13 year relationship (cohabiting) with her now husband. But they broke up for 6 years before re-establishing their marriage (now 9 years old). She had several good things to say about learning what it means to love someone. She came to the realization that she ought not try to make him be like her. She had thought that romantic love mean having the same traits and interests.
All in all, an interesting show. Here’s the link.