Looking at marriage over the past 20 years according to the ABS:
Things that haven’t changed
Spring is still the most popular season to tie the knot
75-80% of us live together before marriage
Around 40% divorce rate
Of the marriages that end in divorce, 50% end in separation by the 8th year of marriage
Around 50% of all divorces involve children under 18 years
Things that have
We are 3 years older at first marriage than we were 20 years ago (27 to 30 for men and 25 to 28 for women)
20 years ago you were more likely to be married by a minister of religion (56%) now 74% of marriages are done by a civil celebrant
We take a year longer to move from separation to divorce from 3 years to 4 years now.
The reality is that as you enter marriage today in Australia, you will be a little older than those 20 years before you, but you will still have the same 40% chance of divorce and for 50% of you, that separation will occur before your 8th wedding anniversary.
Although there is less data about de facto relationships we do know that they break up at higher rates than marriages and it is estimated that would increase the uncoupling rate to over 50%. And then if you look at second and subsequent relationships the break up rate increases each time.
In any other area of your life if you were given a 50% chance of failure what would you do?
Now divorce is necessary - that is not what I am saying – there are some people who were just not meant to be together and many reasons why some coupling just should not be. But what if I told you, you could increase your chances of staying coupled by learning from the masters of coupling that have gone before you.
Dr John Gottman has spent the last 40 years studying couples to work out what he calls “the Masters” do differently from “the Disasters”. He is famous for being able to predict with accuracy over 90% which couples will divorce based on how they interact with each other in a conflict discussion. He pulled all this research and learning together into a process to help couples learn how to be masters. Like all great discoverers before him he named this process after himself – Gottman Couple’s Therapy. And I should also credit his wife Dr Julie Schwartz Gottman who has been an essential part of this – I guess it is really named after both of them!
“Working briefly on your marriage every day will do more for your health and longevity than working out at a health club”. Dr John Gottman
But just like those machines at the gym can be confusing if you don’t know what they are for – working on your marriage can be baffling if you don’t know what to do – or you have been doing stuff and it’s not getting the result you want.
I have been working with relationships for over 20 years now and Gottman Couple’s Therapy is by far the simplest and most user friendly approach to creating amazing couple relationships. The research shows that when you have the skills that are taught in Gottman Couple’s Therapy and you use them, you will increase the likelihood of your relationship being in the 50- 60% that go the distance.
But I don’t need therapy I hear you say. OK, but we all need to know the skills of the relationship Masters. This is stuff you didn’t learn at school.
So you could read Dr Gottman’s book The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work but reading a relationship book can be hard to implement in real life – a bit like trying to teach yourself ball room dancing from a book – not really going to work that well.
The easiest and most successful way to learn these skills is to attend the Gottman 7 Principles Workshop. In one day you will learn, and get to practise with your partner, some key skills that will make you a master.
To find out how you can become a relationship master go to www.relationshipworkshopsaustralia.com.au