By: Steve Horsmon
Knowing the fate of your marriage is a “coin flip” away. Seriously. Just find a coin and grab your wife and give it a toss. It’s a fun ice breaker for parties and a great conversation starter. Not serious – please don’t do that.
A person can spend weeks, though, pouring over available statistics which can foretell the likely future of your marriage. For example:
- 41% of first marriages end in divorce
- 60% of second marriages end in divorce
- 73% of third marriages end in divorce
- The average marriage lasts 8 years
- The average age of a couple divorcing for the first time is 30 yrs. old
- (Source: US Census Bureau)
There SO much more data to read than just that. It even tells the stats for “Red States”, “Blue States”, regions, and religions!
Here’s ANOTHER piece of data that I have accumulated after talking to and working with men:
- The average length of time that a woman knows her marriage is done before her husband is 2 YEARS.
(Source: A mind-blowing number of carbon copy divorce stories from men. Just change the names. The story is the same.)
Why This Matters to You
This matters to you, sir, because there are ways you can influence the odds of the coin toss long before her 2 year clock starts ticking.
It takes most women about 2 years to gather enough courage, convince themselves that they have “tried”, make an acceptable plan of escape, and gather girlfriends’ advice to help finalize their expectations for a “fair” settlement.
During this time, the husband usually continues his normal path of semi-happiness, semi-resentment, semi-contentment, and semi-conscious awareness of his everyday involvement in her growing conviction to leave him.
The “data” are also clear that even though many women believe they did ALL THEY COULD DO to make him aware of the worsening odds, husbands find themselves continually “shocked and surprised” at the news and her despicable ability to make plans behind his back. This is yet another unfortunate example of how “single focused” (ok, clueless) that us men can be – even when one of the most painful times in our life is looming over our heads. Ladies, this is a very important tidbit for you. As hard as you think you’ve tried, your “man speak” skills may have been severely over-estimated. That is another blog article.
Before I move on, let me state the obvious. Yes, this happens in reverse all the time too.
Thousands of women each get to enjoy the same experience. But I am not writing a watered down article about the universal 50-50 need for better communication, understanding, and “compromise”. This is the same divorce prevention advice that has been flying through one ear and out the other for decades. It’s not “everyone’s fault” all the time. If everyone tries just a little harder, things usually only get a little bit better. Many times, a paradigm shift in thinking is required.
By now you know my message. My mission is to help men understand a universal truth about how their mode of operation can drastically improve the chances of a LOT of things going their way in life. This will also improve the odds of the coin landing “heads side up”.
Compromising what? The problem with the notion of compromise as a “happy marriage value” is this. While we spend years practicing healthy compromise around toilet seat logistics, housekeeping agreements, and parenting priorities we find something else is compromised.
We must not confuse the healthy process of compromising marital “tactics” with the insidious process of compromising our marital “values”.
Yearning for an equitable division of daily chores and stress can cause people to also reduce expectations of themselves. This happens when a man begins to believe that his role for creating a positive, inspiring, and attractive environment stops at the 50-yard line. He will only try if he feels she is trying too. Pffffftthhht. I think that’s how you spell that.
This is illustrated when a guy chooses to stew all night because he cancelled his golf game to spend Mother’s Day with the in-laws. Or, when a man neglects to show authentic appreciation for his wife after they both shared a difficult day with the kids. Or, when a man agrees to give a Sunday to his wife in the garden and later pressures her to get sex as a reward for his efforts.
A Man’s Marital Values
As your coach, it’s not my place to tell you what your uncompromised, non-negotiable marital values are. These are up to you to define and adopt as your own operating principles. These marital values should reflect your intentions for who you want to be. They should reflect the actions and attitudes you are committed to no matter what daily tactical compromises have been made. The values are a statement of expectations of yourself in the role of father, employee, leader, son, husband, and lover. A great man relies heavily on these values to help him navigate life and to know where compromise is NOT in order. If he doesn’t know his values, he would be wise to seek help in finding them. Here are a few examples of values of great men I know personally. Note how the wording is a statement of fact – not desire.
- I am a man who always respects, honors, and appreciates my wife and kids from a place of unconditional love
- I am a man who does what needs to be done regardless of perceived equity
- I am a man who creates an environment of trust, safety, and fun for the people I love
- I am a man who is passionate without guilt and will express that with my wife with love and gusto in many ways
- I am a man committed to the health and safety of my family and to the achievement of my personal goals
- I am a man who happily supports the personal growth and dreams of my wife and I expect the same from her
Although I’m not a woman coach, I can say with confidence that a great woman also develops an uncompromising attitude toward HER marital values and is always willing to go way past 50% when it comes to honoring those values. She deserves a man who is willing to do the same and who isn’t afraid to go first.
Back to the Coin Flip
For many men, the coin flip does not have a 50-50 probability. These men have chosen a path of personal development and growth that helps to build incredibly strong relationships and even spiritual partnerships (aka. Soul Mates). By committing to his personal and marital values and expectations, his life and marriage is characterized by positive feelings and faith . By not compromising these values, he is secure in himself and his contribution to a healthy, happy, passionate marriage. If he still loses the coin flip and his wife chooses to leave, at least he will know it was for reasons outside of his control. He can calmly let her go with the knowledge that there IS a great woman somewhere who deserves a man like him. The man he was meant to be.