Why go to counseling when you are deliriously happy?
We keep getting married in hopes that we will “live happily ever after.” From the most conservative recent statistics, however, the chances of first marriages ending in divorce (within a 40-year period) range between 50% and 67% (Martin & Bumpass, 1989; National Center for Health Statistics, 2012).
About 60% of all marriages that eventually end in divorce do so within the first ten year (http://www.divorcereform.org/nyt05.html).
And, statistically, second marriages are a consistently worse gamble.
So why, despite such sobering data, do we so fiercely maintain that we will be the lucky ones who make it?
Well, one reason is that, in the throes of early love (and planning weddings, etc.), our brains are flooded with dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin—all associated with arousal and euphoria. Brain areas governing craving, obsession, reward… and recklessness… are activated as we are driven to “win” the object of our passion. During this stage of love, we may find we can’t eat, sleep, or concentrate on anything but the beloved. We write bad poetry and happily sing out of tune. The dopamine gush in our brains is mildly hallucinogenic, causing “crystallization” of the beloved... Thus, rather like the branch of a tree that glistens when covered with ice and snow.
But this form of love is only sustained with a perfect ratio of hope to uncertainty and marriage is the ultimate form of reciprocation, hopefully eliminating uncertainty and, at some point within the six to eighteen months, the elevated levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin will drop. It is then that “the honeymoon is over” and the experience of an oxytocin-based, attachment form of love may begin so long as the couple knows how to successfully maintain friendship and affection, navigate conflict productively, and work cooperatively to realize their (individual and collaborative) hopes and dreams. And yet, most of us have been given little, if any, training that could prepare us to “do the footwork” of a long term loving and passionate relationship.
We train and get tools for our professions… Why not do a bit of the same so we can do our best in love?
If we can answer further questions for you, just call 714-432-9856 or email OfficeManager@Pathways2Wellness.com and will be happy to help you.