Written by Cathy Meyer
Low-conflict marriages account for the lion’s share of divorces every year. And these divorces involve marriages that experts believe can be saved.
“One minute, you love the stability and contentment. The next minute, you think it’s not the right marriage, and there are flaws in the marriage that are serious, even though there are also great things about the marriage,” says historian Pamela Haag, author of “Marriage Confidential: The Post-Romantic Age of Workhorse Wives, Royal Children, Undersexed Spouses, and Rebel Couples Who Are Rewriting the Rules.” In other words, “one minute you can’t imagine staying, the next you can’t imagine leaving,” Haag says. “It’s these kinds of marriages that are ‘low conflict.’” I’ve always thought that most marital problems are due to high expectations. Haag believes “our expectations for marriage may be too low–such that single people feel, perhaps rightly, that there isn’t much that marriage would add to their lives.”
The main problem I have with Haag, however, is her belief that there is something wrong with feeling so-called “semi-happy” in a marriage. Haag’s view of marriage is representative of most marriages — one day you are in, one day you are out. Marriage is like anything else in life, we can feel both good and bad about a situation according to our mood, our partner and any other number of factors.. We have an off day at work, and then the next day things reverse themselves. It’s balance that’s most key to gaining perspective on what constitutes happiness in the first place. Isn’t it time, too, to grow up and realize that neither life nor marriage promises us happiness? All marriages are semi-happy, folks. There are ups and downs, times of great passion and times of boredom. All couples have problems. Some have less, some have more. That doesn’t mean they should be running to a divorce attorney. It just means they are married and it pays to keep your expectations reasonable…not high or low but, reasonable. And to keep working on your relationship.