Portland Marriage Counselor: Liking a Relationship versus Committing to It

March 8, 2012 by

A recent study from UCLA psychologists found something not all that surprising: when two people are committed to making a relationship work – regardless of any relationship issues that might come up – the chances of them divorcing go down dramatically. When they aren’t as committed, those chances skyrocket.

Obvious, right? Why even study something that seems so clear from the get-go? Because going into the study, all of the couples said that they were committed to their relationship. They loved their spouse. They felt strongly about their relationship. They were thrilled to be living a life with each other.

Then normal life set in. Relationship issues cropped up, as they tend to do over time. And some couples realized that it wasn’t so much the relationship they were committed to but the good feelings they had been getting from it when things were going well. As a result – divorce.

Portland Marriage Counselor: Relationships Won’t Always Go Well

It’s something that not enough people truly understand before they get married, and why it’s so important to go through some kind of relationship counseling or education: in a long-term relationship, there will be bad times, and you will fight and argue.

There’s no way that all of the couples who stayed married in the UCLA study – 71.5% of them! – did so because they somehow managed to avoid stressful situations and keep from fighting. With all my experience as a Portland marriage counselor, I can say without a doubt that it’s just not possible. Instead, they realized that staying together was going to involve ups and downs, and that they were going to have to adjust their expectations, compromise, and communicate.

Some people understand these things innately, and the UCLA study shows that answers several of them gave to survey questions pointed to the fact that they would not only be willing, but could feel good about sacrificing to make their significant other happy, but most of us need to learn through experience or be taught.

If you believe your marriage is falling apart because things didn’t turn out as rosy as you and your spouse expected, a Portland marriage counselor can help.