Often we assume that because our partner is silent and not complaining, that they are happy. This may not be the case. I have spoken to many women (and a few men) over the years and certain things keep coming up as issues in their relationships. I have seen people who were together 20-25-30 or more years call it quits when they reach retirement because they are so unhappy.
The following list are a few reasons relationships fail later in life. This is not a complete list. Study them and if any apply to your relationship, try to fix them before it's too late:
1. Lack of Communication. I started to put this on the bottom of the list, but then realized that this one thing affects all the other issues. If you can fix this one, you can fix the others. If you can't communicate, then it will be hard to fix any of the rest of these issues. You must be able to talk things over.
As we get older, many partners begin to limit conversation to the minimum. They think they know the other person so well, that there are no new conversations to be had. Many times, one person may have changed their views on a subject over the years, but the other person never noticed. Real communication is the key to any situation, but especially to a marriage/relationship.
2. On different pages in life. Each person in a relationship has goals for their future, ideas about retirement, and how the spend the rest of their life. Often one person believes the other person shares these goals and ideas, only to find out too late, that they are on completely different pages from each other. Through open and honest communication compromises can be achieved. Without communication and compromise, you are opening the door to the destruction of the relationship.
I have personal experience with this issue. My husband and I found out late in life that our ideas on retirement were completely different. Fortunately, we were able to compromise and are still together. If one or the other is unwilling to compromise, then I feel the relationship will suffer in major ways and may even end eventually.
Discuss how you feel at different stages of life and compromise when possible. Don't be the one to always give in to the other, it must be a mutual win/win situation.
3. Taking the other for granted. Many times after people have been in a relationship for a long time, they forget what brought them together in the first place. Most likely, when they first decided to become a couple it was because they wanted to do things with that person, they enjoyed talking to that person, they wanted to be near that person, all because they loved that person.
Over time, it is easy to forget to pay a compliment to the other person or to even acknowledge them. We roam in and out of our homes, walking right past each other and never say a word. We may say I love you right before turning into bed, but what about that hug that used to be so important to you many years ago?
Taking time to do something that we may not really want to do but we know the other person really enjoys...how often do we do that as we get older? Have we lost the need to make the other person feel important to us?
If that person were gone, would you miss them? Think about that. Keep that in mind as you pass them in the hall or wake up next to them in the morning and you are both still breathing.
4. Walking on Eggshells. Some people when they get older, let fear of death or disappointments cause them to become bitter or "grumpy". We have all heard the terms "grumpy old men" or "cranky old women". Often, when this happens the other person must "walk on eggshells" to keep the peace. Sometimes fear of the future or disallusionment with the way their life has turned out results in them becoming angry at life, at their partner, at themselves.
The other person finds that they must be careful of every word they speak or every action they take so that they don't offend the other person...so not to "set them off". This is an unhealthy way to live.
Once again, communication is the key to resolving this issue. Talk to the other person and find out why they are so unhappy, so angry, and express to them that you love them. Be sincere in your approach to their feelings, be kind and try to come to place where you both feel good.
The Bible tells us:
"Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath".
( Ephesians 4:26 )
So don't go to bed angry, hurt or feeling unloved. Resolve issues before you close your eyes at the end of the day. Don't take today's problems into tomorrow.
5. Isolation. Sometimes one partner will withdraw from the other partner. It can happen for a number of reasons. Reasons that a partner may withdraw from the other partner may be due to health issues, fear of death, or depression. If you find your partner withdrawing from you, talk to them. Try to find out if they are experiencing any of these issues and encourage them to get professional help if needed. Be supportive. If they withdraw out of just loss of love for you this is a more difficult situation and you may never know that this is the reason.
In most cases, you may just have to live with the isolation and try to make the best of it. Finding things to keep you busy and seeking the company of others will help you deal with the isolation. Don't give in to the temptation to have an affair or leave your partner. They may not have love for you but they are still your partner. If you are a Christian, you must fulfill your vows to your marriage and to God. God will help to fill the void that has been created by this involuntary isolation.
6. Dishonesty. Sometimes when couples have been married a long time, they have no secrets between them. They are completely open and honest about their past, their thoughts, their desires, and other things important to life. However, there are relationships where this is not the case. One partner may hide things from the other person.
Some things they may hide or lie about are:
1. How much money they spend.
2. Where they spend their free time (for example: a bar, a casino, another person they are in love with, etc.)
3. Sometimes one person in the relationship has a problem with alcohol consumption. They may even be an alcoholic.
4. Just common every day things (for example: did they break your heirloom dish, did they stain the carpet with their coffee, and many other things.)
The important thing to remember is this, you can not control how another person feels or what they do. You can only control how you respond to them. You can let their failures become your own, or you can rise above them. Marriages do not have to end because of the six things listed above, if you don't give up. There are also many other reasons that people who have been married 20, 30, or more years divorce. But they all seem to have the same root cause - the couples stop talking to each other. They take the relationship for granted until it disintegrates - from within.
I hope this blog has helped you in some way. Whether just to understand or to actually fix your relationship. Please comment and help others.
Do you struggle in your relationship with any of the six issues listed in this blog? If so, how did you handle or how are you handling it? If you have experienced any of these issues, did your marriage dissolve or did it survive? Do you have any insight that may help someone else and perhaps save a marriage?