The statistics are frightening: ac cording to divorceform.org,
41 percent of all married couples filed for divorce in the year
2000. Welcome to the era of temporary marriage, a time when
signing your name (on the dotted line) to signify a life-long
commitment to another is simply a transitory agreement.
However, the number of people who continue to marry—2,350,005
couples in 2000—suggests that many feel immune to the startling
statistics on divorce. Some couples decide to take the plunge
at a young age because they already have children and feel they
should be an official family unit. Others simply feel that the
timing is right and that marriage is the next logical step.
“We’ve known each other for so long, and we just thought that
marriage is the next step. I mean, I’ve known him for practically
my whole life, so why not? It just feels right,” said a 22 year-old
female communications major at HPU who wanted to remain anonymous.
And many other young, engaged couples feel the same way. Ryan
Blood, a 24-year-old public relations major made a similar comment
regarding his recent engagement.
“I love Jill [his fiancée] so much, I just can’t imagine my
life without her,” said Blood. However, when Blood was asked
if he and his fiancée had discussed requirements in a partner
and in a relationship, his response was: “What do you mean,
Before marrying, couples should communicate with each other
and with themselves, according to David Steele, of the Relationship
Coaching Institute. Couples should know themselves, Steele said,
and have a clear picture of how they want to live. Couples should
confirm these pictures and make certain they are similar.
HPU instructor Fran Lowell, who is also a relationship success
coach, teaches in her classes that couples should talk about
the norms and traditions of their families, and the roles males
and females play in each family. This will help in establishing
roles and expectations for their future family. Steele feels
strongly about defining re- quirements for your partner, and
making sure these requirements are fulfilled.
Steele says each person should ask himself or herself, “If
this relationship were perfect in every way, except this one
thing, would I have to leave the relationship?” And, “What would
this relationship look like if this one thing was missing?”
In her class, Lowell discusses require ments in detail, and
defines them as non-negotiable expectations that one has for
his or her partner, expectations that must be met. For instance,
if one requirement is to be addiction-free, it could be a red
flag for trouble if the partner is a recovering alcoholic two
months into rehab.
In the area of requirements, Steele adamantly states that there
is no room for compromise: they must be met or the relationship
will never flourish, and divorce will be inevitable.