What’s LOVE Got To Do With It? Everything!

A column in today’s newspaper entitled “What’s LOVE Got To Do With It?” describes a survey by Prince & Associates, a firm that polled 1,134 people in the U.S. and determined that two-thirds would “marry an average-looking person they liked if they had money”… in the ballpark of $1.5 million.

Well, I’m happy to say that my husband is in the minority.

We were 7th grade sweethearts; a short-lived but sweet young romance, and broke up after a few months without any major—or even minor—scarring.

 Thirty-seven years later, while in the process of extricating ourselves from unhappy marriages, we serendipitously ran into each other on an airplane—I’d missed my flight and was rerouted onto his, and into the very last seat on the plane, directly behind John.

The connection was immediate, although it took us nearly 18 months of e-mailing and instant messaging to get our acts together; in part because I was CEO of an $8.5 million company and had significant real estate investments.

At first John was concerned, because despite a well-respected career as a civilian subcontractor for the Navy (he was known all over the world for his work), he didn’t think he could match my success.

Once we worked that out, our relationship was able to move to the next step… meaning he moved in with me.

The next hurdle was his belief that people would think he was only interested in me for the money. He wanted to marry me, but for some reason the timing wasn’t ever “right”.

A little over a year after he moved in, my business crashed and burned, a victim of treachery from within and politics from without.

Suddenly, I no longer had any money, and in fact my personal net worth was in the negative numbers. It will take me a very long time to dig out of the financial crater I’m in.

A year after the company imploded, John and I got married.

Although the loss of my company devastated me and our finances, the reality is that I know one thing beyond a shadow of any doubt. My husband loves me—and it’s not for the money.

Soul-Mate Marriages is saddened by the high rate of divorce in the U.S., with even fewer second marriages succeeding.  We recognize the reasons are complicated but believe the trend can be reversed with trust and hard work. 

Neither of us is a relationship saint, but our marriage, the 2nd for both of us, has brought more joy, satisfaction, and peace than we could have imagined. 

We hope our insights will be helpful.  http://www.facebook.com/soulmatemarriage.

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How Could She Be Surprised? Part One.

Recently a male acquaintance told his wife of more than 2o years he wanted a divorce.  

Since they hadn’t slept together more than a couple of dozen times in the previous decade (and if you know men, you know he was very aware of this) and in fact hadn’t even shared a bed for the preceding year, they seldom did anything together, they barely spoke and they even ate their meals separately, he figured she’d shrug her shoulders and say, “Whatever”.  

Instead, her response knocked his socks off.  She screamed at him, told him to get out of the house RIGHT THAT VERY MINUTE, and made it clear that she didn’t want to ever speak to him again.  

He was stunned.  After all, as a salesman with a very large territory he was often on the road for weeks on end; he’d frequently invited her to travel with him.  She’d always refused, even after their kids grew up and moved away from home.  In fact, within days of returning home from yet another assignment, she’d be sniping at him, “Isn’t it time for you to go out on another sales trip?”.  

As far as he was concerned, the marriage had been over for years.  A decade or so before, he’d asked her to go to marriage counseling with him, but she’d refused.  She didn’t want to talk about it.  

 The divorce was difficult.  The wife was very angry and hurt, and made it clear to the family that her heart was broken by the horrible person she’d married so many years ago, with the full expectation that it would last forever.  

What happened?  How could two people have such a different understanding of what was going on between them?  How could any woman who was still fairly young – after all, she was only in her mid 40s – believe that her similarly-aged husband was happy to be in a relationship with no sex, no mutual interests, and no conversation? 

Sounds completely irrational, doesn’t it?  

It happens with far more frequency than most people realize, and the reason is both very simple and extremely complicated at the same time.   The simple explanation is “People see what they want to see, and believe what they want to believe”.   

What my friend’s ex-wife wanted to see and believe is that her marriage was fine, that as long as they weren’t battling it out every day and were living a reasonably harmonious existence, that there was nothing to worry about. 

She apparently valued a relationship where she didn’t have to “feel”, where she could be emotionally distant and there were no expectations placed on her – other than those she felt competent to handle, such as her job, housework, mothering, and so forth.  

She was probably panicked when he asked for marriage counseling those many years before, and likely did everything she could to dissuade him from pursuing that line of thought… and she most likely pushed all the right buttons – those buttons that any spouse knows how to push – to make it clear that this was a bad idea on his part, and that even bringing it up was both foolish and indicative that he had some serious personality failings.  

So my friend gave up.  He stopped asking for counseling, he stopped trying to find a way to make the marriage work, and he was rewarded for it… the air cleared, the household became calm again, and sadly, he was left alone. 

Married, but quite alone.  

Coming soon, Part Two.

Soul-Mate Marriages is saddened by the high rate of divorce in the U.S., with even fewer second marriages succeeding.  We recognize the reasons are complicated but believe the trend can be reversed with trust and hard work. 

Neither of us is a relationship saint, but our marriage, the 2nd for both of us, has brought more joy, satisfaction, and peace than we could have imagined. 

We hope our insights will be helpful. 

www.facebook.com/soulmatemarriage.

Won’t You Be My POSSLQ?

When Husband first moved in with me (he was called John then; now even my friends have started calling him Husband), we struggled for a bit to come up with a good word to describe our relationship and each other. 

At 50 years old, “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” seemed… dumb.  “Partner” was too harsh.  “Fiance” was okay but it just seemed too contrived – yes, of course we were getting married (it was always understood, even before we talked about it).

Then I remembered!!  Of course!  The U.S. Census Bureau had created exactly the right term several decades ago.  And some hacks had even written some poems about it, as in:

Roses are red, Violets are Blue, Won’t You Be, My POSSLQ?

Persons of Opposite Sex, Same (or Sharing) Living Quarters…. POSSLQ!

There’s a longer poem, ripped off from John Dunne’s “The Bait”, which starts with “Come live with me and be my love…”.   You can easily google it or find it on our Facebook Fan Page “Soul-Mate Marriage”.

After playing around with it, Soon-To-Be-Husband and I decided POSSLQ didn’t quite cut it for us.  Any two people could be POSSLQs, and not have nearly the level of commitment to one another as we did.

So we made up our own: Partner for Life, or PFL (pronounced “Piffle”).

Piffle only lasted a year or so, but during that time it worked for us.

All in all, though, we much prefer Husband and Wife.

Soul-Mate Marriages is saddened by the high rate of divorce in the U.S., with even fewer second marriages succeeding.  We recognize the reasons are complicated but believe the trend can be reversed with trust and hard work. 

Neither of us is a relationship saint, but our marriage, the 2nd for both of us, has brought more joy, satisfaction, and peace than we could have imagined. 

We hope our insights will be helpful.  http://www.facebook.com/soulmatemarriage.

 

Equipment vs Marriage Failure Rates

The other day I asked my 52 year old husband to research some statistics for a personal risk workshop I’m writing.  A while later he came to me, hard-copy download in hand, and a worried look on his face.

“It says here that 67% of second marriages end in divorce”, he sputtered.  Puzzled, I just sort of looked at him quizzically.  “Uh, yeah… that’s pretty common knowledge.”

“But… that’s worse than first marriages!  How can that be?  Are we doomed?”

John is an engineer by training; he’s spent most of his life in manufacturing plants and traveling the world troubleshooting mechanical & other systems on Navy ships.  His experiences are in what he calls the “hard” sciences; mine are in business and the social sciences.  The statistics he’d just researched for me were confirmation of the exact numbers… I had a good general idea of the trends and patterns, but couldn’t remember specifically what the percentages are.

Reading those numbers worried him.  His engineer’s brain fastened onto that 67% figure – 2/3rds – like it was some kind of statistical failure rate of a piece of equipment.  A two-thirds failure rate in a machine is, of course, disastrous.  The machine itself is likely a complete failure.  Did that mean that marriage itself is a complete failure?

“No sweetie, we’re fine”.  As I’ve tried to explain to him before, with equipment there are only so many variables to address.  Whether he’s troubleshooting a dechlorination system, an anti-fouling unit, a boiler, or even a lawnmower, there are only so many moving parts and so many types of errors or failures that can occur.  The equipment can either be fixed, cobbled together or junked.

But with people, the number of behavioral, genetic and environmental variables are nearly endless. And so, the reasons leading up to failed relationships and marriages are nearly endless as well.  The difference is that people can learn and adapt and decide whether to let all of our many errors and minor failures turn into a large one or not.

John and I are fine.  We will always be fine.

But it doesn’t hurt to be reminded every now and then of the need for a little preventative maintenance.

Soul-Mate Marriages is saddened by the high rate of divorce in the U.S., with even fewer second marriages succeeding.  We recognize the reasons are complicated but believe the trend can be reversed with trust and hard work. 

Neither of us is a relationship saint, but our marriage, the 2nd for both of us, has brought more joy, satisfaction, and peace than we could have imagined. 

We hope our insights will be helpful. 

www.facebook.com/soulmatemarriage.