Psychology today ran a piece by Doc Barton on what behaviors we typically see in the happiest couples. This is useful information to anyone who is single and hoping for a relationship or anyone in any stage of a relationship. This is so because too many folks say that they don’t know any happy couples or come from homes where their parents were divorced- which leaves them with no positive role models for how to have a successful and lasting union.
Doc Barton’s 10 behaviors are ones that resonate with this psychotherapist and relationship coach- and they are ones that I coach folks to use with their partners, especially when going through a rough patch or dealing with a situation that has them struggling to find a middle ground.
Are any of the following behaviors ones that you display and if not, why not give them a try?
- Be best friends
• Be able to laugh at yourself
• Be open to new ideas and experiences
• Be willing to be willing
• Be kind
• Be able to give all of your attention
• Be demonstrative
• Be trustworthy
• Be available
• Be Proactive
As you consider these, imagine if your partner employed them liberally in their interaction with you? Does it feel great just to think about that? If so, that could lend some motivation to you to get going on these. It’s all about caring enough to try. Once they become part of your repertoire, you will marvel at how much less work your relationship takes.
New statistics on divorce are in the news this week, and they point to some interesting and surprising facts about who is more likely to get divorced and who is statistically favored to go the marital distance. America’s Families and Living Arrangements study from the US Census Bureau along with new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have provided us with information that could be useful as part of any pre-marital counseling or classes. Some salient tidbits include the fact that the divorces rate for males goes down as they get older and their incomes rise, yet the opposite is true for older women who are high wage earners. Hummm…
Ethnicity also factored into these new statistics. Older white and black males have a much lower rate of divorce than Hispanic males (double their counterparts) – and older, financially successful Hispanic women have been dissolving their marriages at a rate of nearly one in three.
The third interesting statistic is that when unemployment rises, the divorce rate drops- and as unemployment drops, the divorce rate increases. There really does seem to be something to the effect that hardship has on priorities and the willingness of people to pull together.
So, what’s the bottom line that we should take away from these findings? How about some or all of these as possibilities?
• Money does not buy happiness or contentment.
• Women probably do stay in unhappy relationships due to financial and lifestyle considerations.
• More freedom and choice may offer greater opportunity to seek experiences and relationships beyond the confines of the marital one- and this can lead to discontent and a feeling of wanting more on an intimate or interpersonal level.
• Men who are more mature and reasonably content in their marriages and lifestyles appreciate the convenience and benefits they have- and are less likely to go outside the relationship.
• Marrying a little older can help you avoid divorce if you are a man.
• If you are a woman, your probability of divorce will increase if you are a high wage earner.
Some of the above are said a bit tongue-in-cheek and I’d guess that any of them would be affected by what a partner brings to the relationship in the form of money, friendship, intimacy and humor.