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The secret to desire in a long-term relationship
And some couples will call it quits. But discouraging divorce rates hide a more hopeful truth, according to a new study: Half of marriages last a lifetime and couples who stick together and tackle their challenges are very likely to be happy long-term, their relationship quality undiminished by time or turmoil. Long-term marriages often even improve. Those who divorced and those who stayed together. Not surprisingly, James said, couples typically reported declining happiness in the first 20 years of marriage. He notes that on average, years 2 through 5 or 7 and 8 have the highest probability of divorce. Bethesda, Maryland, psychologist Samantha Rodman, founder of drpsychmom. James believes those includes challenges like addiction, parenting disagreements, different ideas about how to interact with in-laws and extended family, work-family balance issues and various personal and behavioral failings. How the couple treats each other, despite their challenges, really matters. Coping mechanisms and strategies vary, too. But couples who fought their way through problems were asked to describe their marriages today and they gave them high marks: After both births, she felt angry, upset, sad and overwhelmed. The first step was acknowledging how bad they both felt in their marriage. They sought wise counsel — therapy, mentoring from a stable older couple and a marriage retreat — and they pray together daily. He has long battled a sexual addiction, including pornography. A decade later, he confessed again and they went into therapy. They kept it mostly private, and she was committed to helping him get help. Although she considered his addiction a real illness, she was mad. Still, they worked through things and rebuilt again. Then, in , he was arrested for picking up a prostitute. They talked to their children — they have seven — about what was going on. Lifeline to help others with sexual and pornography addiction. John Khuu Patrick and Samantha Cullinane fought through a rough patch in their marriage and are happy again. Some years ago, they resettled in Salt Lake City to be close to her aging grandparents, and she launched a "big corporate career" with a ton of travel. They separated and she took a job in Spain. They signed divorce paperwork. But they knew their kids needed both of them and the couple worked at visitations and being amiable. Meanwhile, each did some deep thinking about their own roles in the breakup. When they agreed their work couldn't be a priority over family, it was a turning point. They decided they wanted to work on things as a couple. Less than a year apart, they wanted to be together. When they told the lawyer they wanted to remarry, he laughed. He was waiting to hear from them and never filed it. They built a business together, taking advantage of the fact their strengths and weaknesses are opposite. How to have the love of your life for the rest of your life. But 29 years into their marriage, amid financial difficulties and emotional disconnects, she was miserable. Family photo Ben Bryant and Elizabeth Hepburn on their first wedding day. The couple later divorced, figured things out and remarried. She moved in with a friend and started working on her own issues. New Yorkers instinctively reached for loved ones — and she reached for him. Tentatively, they started rebuilding. Eventually she moved back in. They had divorced, so they remarried. Could they have ridden it out? Are they happily married? If something comes up, we talk it through and it blows over. Staying strong Overcoming a hard problem in a marriage can be a unifying factor for couples, says Rodman. It could have been infertility or the death of a parent or a child who was very ill. People like the idea of being a couple that could get through something like that. Most couples wait too long," says Wyatt Fisher, a psychologist in Boulder, Colorado. Deep respect for the institution of marriage makes it more likely, as does "a strong sense of 'we-ness. The Cullinanes took advantage of excellent books that offer wise counsel. They say " Crucial Conversations " and " Five Love Languages " made a huge difference to their marriage. Engage in deep topics, like you did when you got married, says Rodman, who adds that doing new things keeps interest high. Remember how important they are and what they do for you. The Grand Rapids, Michigan, couple have had some rocky moments, but pray and love their way through them. The Theobalds got back on track by prioritizing the relationship and using available tools, including date nights and romance. They talk honestly with each other and with their mentors, to whom they can say anything. Therapy from someone who is skilled with trauma was essential for the Croshaws. So was including their children in their recovery.
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