MAKING A COMMITMENT: DIFFERENT EMOTIONAL LANGUAGES
While some relationships do stay together for life, the divorce rate currently stands at one in three. It is difficult to estimate the rates of separation for longterm relationships that are not legally counted but it is clear that not all sexual relationships are forever. Some people marry for the promise of companionship and support but being married is not necessarily an antidote to loneliness. Some of the loneliest people you meet are in emotionally desolate marriages, devoid of any real emotional communication. Some people call it 'Staying together for the kids' sake' or 'Better the Devil you know' or 'He can be so nice when he hasn't been drinking.' You hear a lot of talk about how lightly people take marriage and the evils of easy divorce but I have yet to see a divorce which was anything but painful for everyone concerned. People marry expecting that it will work out, but for many of them, the concept of marriage has been seriously oversold.
A large part of the responsibility for this comes down to the fact that men and women speak a different emotional language to each other. This gets back to the way boys have been brought up to contain their emotions and believe that talking about feelings like love and sadness is 'girl's stuff. The majority of divorces are instigated by the woman (only about one in five is instigated by the man), and while this is not the only scenario, there is one pattern you see over and over again. The woman is dissatisfied, unhappy, feeling as though she is not getting the emotional support she needs from her husband. The sorts of lines you hear that are warning bells in a marriage are: 'You never listen to what I'm saying'; 'You don't appreciate me'; 'My opinion doesn't matter to you'; and of course 'I think we need some counselling.'