When two people get married, they probably realize that “happily ever after” does not mean that every single day will be easy. Marriage requires work, patience, and dedication by each partner to the well-being of the other person and the relationship as a whole. Open communication is an extremely important part of a successful marriage, as well. Sometimes, however, open communication means addressing difficult topics and having the tough conversations when needed. While conflict and arguments are never fun, they are a crucial aspect of marital growth. Individuals and couples who regularly go of out their way to eliminate conflict may be surprised to find that their relationship has lost much of its strength while they were trying to avoid a fight.
Number One Predictor
If you ask the average person what the biggest cause of divorce in the United States is, you will probably hear answers like infidelity, money, and incompatibility. Divorce and relationship experts, on the other hand, believe that the most frequent reasons for divorce are linked by a common thread: habitual conflict-avoidance. Diane Sollee, the director of Smart Marriages; The Coalition for Marriage, Family, and Couples Education, points out that many couples will try very hard to avoid conflict because they believe that disagreements and arguments are bad for a marriage and lead to divorce. Issues like cheating and financial problems, however, tend to develop when a couple refuses to address difficult subjects.
Spouses will often begin their marriage believing that they must agree on everything—or at least the important things. They are afraid that fighting will push the relationship down a dangerous path. As a result, couples who do not know how to communicate and resolve their differences eventually shut down rather than engaging in a discussion that could create perceived conflict. Once a couple, or even just one spouse shuts down, the marriage is all but over.
An Interesting Paradox
In the state of Illinois, since the enactment of the new Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (January 2016), a divorce will only be granted on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. According to Sollee, however, irreconcilable differences are a part of every good marriage. “Successful couples learn to dance in spite of their differences,” she says. “They gain comfort in knowing they know their partner, know which issues they disagree on and must learn to manage.” By constantly avoiding conflict, a couple will never develop the skills or empathy necessary for an overall happy marriage.
If habitual conflict-avoidance has pushed your marriage beyond the breaking point, it may be time to start considering your legal options. Contact an experienced St. Charles divorce attorney for a free no-obligation consultation. Call Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., today at 630-377-7770.