There has been a lot of talk for some time now about the continued viability of the notion that we are entering into marriage “until death due us part” knowing full well that there’s about a 50% it may not in fact last. People are questioning monogamy, especially with our extended life expectancy. Some, are promoting the idea of renewable contracts with a built-in review term, however, is not the solution to this problem.
In my opinion, what we need to address as a society is the notion that marriage is indeed a partnership, and in some ways we need to apply business philosophies to this union in order to ensure its sustainability. I am not alone in this thinking, and in fact the late Dr. Stephen Covey wrote a book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families.” In that book, he applies corporate techniques to build a better family structure. Think about it– successful companies tend to have 5 year plans, 10 year plans, and they do annual retreats. They review budgets regularly and make sure that they are sticking to their missions and accomplishing their goals. Employees are routinely sent to trainings to update their skills, and periodic reviews are conducted to ensure everyone is happy and sticking on task. Why should families be any different?
Perhaps people have forgotten that Hollywood movies were originally made to help people forget about the harsh realities of war. Movies often provide an escape from reality, and they help inspire us, but real life is full of challenges and having the right ally by your side is key. Maintaining a home, raising kids, dealing with finances and health issues are all part of normal life, and you shouldn’t take for granted the importance of having a partner to help you deal with these issues.
It is way too easy these days for couples to grow apart and lead separate lives. Too many people get caught up on external pressures, and they ignore their marriages until it is too late– and the reason I know this is because half the time I am dealing with someone in complete shock. Over half the people I meet have no clue that there was a problem in the marriage. This is why I strongly encourage people to check-in with each other regularly. You need to have date nights and plan fun outings, even long after those wedding bells have stopped ringing.
One of my friends said, “love is like a plant. If you don’t water it and give it sunlight, it will die.” Another person once told me that marriage is like a garden– you have to keep weeding if you want it to stay beautiful. Their points are all well taken– the key to having a more realistic expectation on marriage is NOT to give up on the notion of it lasting forever, but rather to embrace the reality that it takes hard work to successfully make a partnership last.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.