THE SINGLE BIGGEST KILLER OF RELATIONSHIPS
How strong is a relationship? What does it take to keep a relationship together through “thick and thin?” What is it, when, even though both partners have seemingly put their all into a relationship, that still tears it down? Just what is the single biggest killer of relationships?
When we speak of a relationship falling apart what is the one thing that immediately comes to mind? Of course, one of the partners cheated, right? Somebody sampled the forbidden fruit. It doesn’t matter who did it, man or woman, and believe me, it can be either. Infidelity is probably the one, best known, most talked about, worse reputed sin, one member of a committed relationship can commit against the other.
I’ve been there, I know the hurt, the misery, the shame, but we did not get a divorce for that reason. We stayed together and worked it out. Several years later our divorce came along. The one instance of “cheating” was never mentioned during our divorce. The reason my wife was divorcing me was termed “irreconcilable differences.” In other words, “we just don’t get along.”
There is a lot behind that simple phrase, “we just don’t get along.” It is a catch-all for a myriad of differences. For instance, we found out, after 17 years of marriage, we had totally different opinions of what the Unity Candle celebration stood for. We used the Unity Candle at our wedding and, in my opinion, lighting the one big, central, candle then blowing out the two little ones, meant we were cleaving our two individual beings into one and forsaking our private individual lives for the combined, much more powerful, union of the both of us.
My wife, of that time, understood it to be nothing more than a pretty display of our intentions. She didn’t apply any meaning to the lighting or the blowing out. It was simply an “act” in the overall play of our marriage. A nice, emotional display meant to entertain our guests and to bring tears to everyone’s eyes. Her revelation that it really did mean the leaving and the cleaving, was the beginning of the killing of our relationship.
In my research I found four different listings of what the top ten reasons for divorce were. The top three were different on each list but they were specifics that could have been generalized through the “irreconcilable differences” phrase. This phrase becomes a catch phrase used to mask a collection of different reasons for relational catastrophe. Actually, to get behind the hidden meaning, I think we may find that the number one reason for relational break down may actually be the coming together in the first place.
Establishing a relationship with someone of the opposite sex takes more than a simple sexual allure. With a divorce rate of 50% today, I have to guess the break up rate, of those not yet married, has to be even greater. The single biggest killer of any relationship then, is the ease with which we feign a commitment to one another and promise marriage.
It takes very little for many couples today to move in together, get a place together, talk about marriage and even schedule the nuptials. It seems people spend very little time getting to know one another prior to actually knowing one another. With the shrinking world today it has become increasingly easy for people who have never even seen one another before, to come together.
Relationships are formed in a whirlwind of commotion and activity today. Within months, or even weeks, of first meeting someone, plans can be made to get together. Criterion for selection of the ideal mate has fallen to an all time low. Women want that real he-man, macho kind of guy and men want the gorgeous, sexy kind of woman. We don’t spend time to look beyond those surface qualities.
Neither do we study those surface qualities. The macho man who is a hunter, fisherman, tracker, woodcutter and a real man’s man will still be that when he is married to you. Getting married will not change him. He will still be gone every weekend with his buddies engaging in one or more of his many “Man” activities. Most women don’t want that, they just can’t project far enough to see it.
That gorgeous, fashionable woman who always has the latest hairdo, the finest clothes, the perfectly flat tummy and the whole-wheat toast colored flesh will always be that as well. No man is going to change that. It doesn’t matter what it costs, she will make sure her image is not tarnished. She will still shop every weekend, have hair appointments every month and go to two different tanning salons so she can double up on the hours. Most men don’t want that but they simply cannot see beyond the beauty they have been mesmerized with.
Relationships tend to be primarily cosmetic today. Rather than look deep and study the person within, we prefer to accept that which we can easily see on the outside. The results are a newfound knowledge after a year or two of living together. Forced to spend the same time together, both members of the relationship slowly come to realize it isn’t all it was cracked up to be.
Now the relationship is established and there is nothing left to do but to “Kill” it. Some faithful individuals or couples, will take longer to end the misery. They will fool themselves into thinking they should work hard to keep the relationship together when actually, there isn’t anything left with which to bind it together. Once each partner really knows the other person and they find out they are anything but that cosmetic outer shell, they were infatuated with, the relationship has been killed. The only thing left is to end it.
I believe, though it may seem that infidelity is the culprit, the single biggest killer of relationships, is the lack of preparation prior to establishing the relationship. A dramatic lack of getting to know one another combined with a misguided selection of criteria for your partner, contributes to an almost guaranteed breakdown of the relationship.
The cure is simply to slow down, step back and take a look at what you really need in a relationship. Forget about what you want, consider first, your needs. I won’t even list them because they differ with everybody, but your needs are by far more important than your wants. You may want that macho man but you need the guy who is going to spend time with you and love you and your kids. You may want that gorgeous sexy lady but you need that woman who is going to be at your side through thick and thin. There really is something to those old, reliable marriage vows, you know, thick and thin, richer or poorer, in sickness and health. They knew what they were talking about when they wrote those.
All any of us need to do is to take a little more time, slow down, relax, consider your needs and prepare for the future. Believe me, if you satisfy your needs first, your wants will be heartily met.