Book: Make Up Or Break Up - Making the Most of your Marriage by Valentine Williamscategories: Book, Divorce, Self-Help, Love, Marriage, Separation, Teenagers, Family, Mental Health, Partnership, Sexuality, Compromise, Relationship Advice
Valentine Williamsabout this book: There is nothing as contentious as a marriage when it has become a battleground. People take sides, become defensive, blacken the name of their partner; become embittered, justify their actions and generally behave with the equilibrium of a roller coaster. Who am I to dare to enter the fray?
I have some qualifications; after all, I was a marital and psychosexual therapist for many years, and when I stop and count I've been married to my husband for over 30 years.
This might not be a qualification, since I don't know what it means to have a marriage end, though we came closer than I care to remember a few times. Many of the couples I've known as friends and acquaintances have pulled through difficult crises and opted to stay together. Of those who have not, the emotional consequences of divorce have been painful to witness, particularly in respect of their teenage children, perhaps because they seem to have made our home their base in times of trouble and we've had to pick up the pieces.
I've tried in this book to focus on the middle ground -- the relationship, which is akin to the chemical reaction between two explosive components -- rather than the separate individuals themselves. Being female, much of what I write will be from a female perspective, but as the mother of four sons I see at close quarters the male perspective too.
When I was asked to consider writing a book about marriage, I sat down and give the idea some serious thought. Why marriage and not a long term relationship? After all, they often last as long as a traditional marriage, or longer. However, there is a public commitment implied by making vows, and for those who are religious and who take commitments like marriage seriously, this public declaration, with its legal and social consequences, is an important element in their lives and the lives of their families. When it goes pear-shaped, every member of the family is affected, as it is when a death occurs in the family. Children experience the ending of their parents' marriage very much as they would a death, and for the partners, especially if one has felt forced to end the marriage because of the other one's affair, this loss is compounded by a loss of trust, feelings of betrayal, anger, regret and self blame.
Statistical evidence shows that married people live longer, remain healthier and suffer less mental illness than do those who are single or divorced. This is particularly true of men. For children, the constant presence of the two adults who created them and continue to care for them together provides a secure platform from which they can leave when they're ready, and which will act as a model for their own future relationships. That which is broken can never be fully repaired, and the sadness of separation remains for ever. When a marriage has been very unhappy and there is no way of resolving matters, a divorce may be best for all concerned, but the sadness still has to be borne. I have a strong belief that a great many marriages that end could have been worked on and improved, but it takes two people to do this and mutual goodwill to try. It's no use patching something up that's rotten at the core, or enabling a person to stay in a relationship that has become abusive and damaging, unless the other is going to change too. But most people suffer acutely when their marriage ends, and wish that it hadn't happened, yet often can see no other course open to them.
This book sets out to give people some new ideas about what might be going on in their marriage, and, by knowing a little more about the way relationships work, enable them to change something about the situation before it becomes too late.
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