It’s Valentine’s Day month and LOVE is in the AIR.....or is it?
It's been said that love is blind. The truth of the matter is that in order to love, you have to be willing to overlook some flaws.
Love and Relationships
Of course, we are not talking about destructive habits*. We're talking about two people from two different upbringings who received different messages about…..well, possibly everything…and now these two people have come together in blissful union. That is, until there are disagreements that they can’t solve, each believing that their way is right. Hmmmph.
We're talking about when you don't feel the love because your partner can't, won't, or doesn't know how to love you in the way that you want to be loved. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13 that love is "patient" and "kind." Unfortunately, over half of those in marriages lose their patience each year and choose divorce. There’s a good chance these couples long since stopped being kind as well.
(*Regarding destructive habits, these are the behaviors that threaten the safety or the livelihood of the family. They include but are not limited to: physical/sexual/verbal abuse, addictions of various kinds, illegal activity, affairs, and the like. If your spouse is involved in any of these behaviors and remains unrepentant or unwilling to change, you would benefit from consultation with a therapist to consider your options. In these cases, which is the greater tragedy: sacrificing personal health and welfare so someone’s destructive habits can live, or sacrificing a marriage for the safety of the rest of the family? Sometimes the answers are not so clear. Seek help for yourself so you feel more confident in whichever decision you decide to make.)
Here are some interesting stats about weddings:
Average number of weddings per year in the US -- 2.4 million
Average cost of a U.S. wedding pre-Covid -- $28k
Average cost of an engagement ring - $6000
Percentage of first marriages that end in divorce - 41%
Number of those who saw it coming - ???
Making a Marriage Work
Remember that time when you would do anything for love? (Like pay $28,000 to get married?) Well, now that you found love, what are you willing to do to keep it? You made quite the investment in the ring, the wedding, the honeymoon, the house, the kids, the cars, the trips, the retirement plans, and more.
So what are you willing to spend to keep the love you have? When the sh*t goes down, are you more likely to call a divorce lawyer (big bucks), or a professional marriage and relationship counselor (smaller bucks)? According to USA Today, the average cost of divorce in Florida is $13,500. Tack on another $7000 if you have minor children. This cost does not include splitting of the assets. This does not include the trail of emotional wreckage on children, in laws, and mutual friends, all of whom at some point feel they have to choose sides. In the end, a divorce costs a heck of a lot more than a marriage both financially and in many other ways. Major big bucks. Not good!
If you invested so much time, money, and heart into creating a family, why not spend a little more to save your family?
So let’s say that you decide to try out marriage counseling. That’s great! What a wise and humble decision. We therapists will tell you, however, that the longer you wait, the more damage has been done and the more work it will take to save the marriage. But for two people who have invested so much of their adult lives into a marital union, who are both willing to take a look at their own behaviors that need changing, restoration IS possible! You may not know what to change or how to change, but if you are willing, a competent marriage counselor can help with both.
And it only takes one partner’s willingness to get the ball rolling. So if you’re unhappy in your relationship, you can still get marriage counseling as an individual even if your spouse isn’t willing to get help. Yet. 😉
And what’s the cost? Without insurance we’ll say the average rate for therapy is $150/session. Fifty weeks of counseling x $150 = $7500. Right there you’ve already saved at least $6000 from the average cost of divorce and you have given yourself a chance to save your marriage. You, your spouse, your children, and everyone else around you might feel happier as well. Holidays and trips and family get togethers may be more fun and no one has to split time or take sides. Whatcha think about that?
Pre-Martial Counseling is Important
But wait, there’s more…
If you’re engaged or thinking about getting engaged, do yourselves the HUGE favor and sign up for premarital counseling. Premarital counseling assesses the health of your relationship along 12 different categories associated with marital success. Couples who underwent counseling before their wedding had a 30% higher marital success rate than those who did not. Also, 10 to 15 percent of couples who invest in premarital education decide to not get married.
Whoa…..that’s not the result you’re looking for is it? Maybe it isn’t, but after taking a good hard look at your relationship, would you rather cut your losses before spending the $28K on marriage and another $13K on a divorce later? We’re thinking that’s a “Yes.”
At the comparatively very low rate of $550, you and your love can make a tiny investment to assess the strengths of your relationship and the likelihood you are both ready to get married, or even get married to each other. With the assistance of a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, you can have those very difficult conversations about money, in-laws, child rearing, spirituality, sex, conflict resolution and more before you invest even more time, emotions, and money into your union.
Learn to Fight Fair
One of the most robust indicators that determines the strength, vitality, and longevity of a marriage is the ability to resolve conflict and fight fair. So many of us did not have healthy role models to know how to get through a good healthy fight. Premarital counseling can help you prepare for that.
This Valentine's Day we say, as Celine Dion once sang,
“Don't surrender, 'cause you can win in this thing called Love"
The less tension and resentment building up in a marriage, the more space your love for each other has to flourish. We want you to flourish. Before marriage, during marriage, and, if necessary, after a marriage loss. We all deserve to be loved for who we are. Dontcha think? Let a #teamsoulspring therapist to help you get there. ❤️