How do you get from here ↑ to there ↓ ?
I maybe have a different take on love than others. To me, love between two partners is a deep desire to share another's life and help them fulfill their needs and to allow them into your life to do the same for you.
Love between partners means infinite compromise. You have to give up a lot to blend your path with that of another while at the same time being open to the enrichment that your partner brings to your life. If you can do that, your love may now be a tiny spark that will, over time, grow into a rich and rewarding blaze. If you aren't willing to do that, then you shouldn't marry someone even if you have convinced yourself that you do love them.
The other day I read an article about the divorce rate. It’s going up for Senior Citizens, but this article had a good reason for that. You see, back in great-grandma’s day, women stayed with their husbands through thick and thin, just like their vows said they should. If grandpa was a drunk, a spend thrift, and/or a wife beater, women had no choice but to suck it up. “Nice” women didn’t work out of the home. They didn’t complain because there was no one willing to listen if they did.
Well thank the stars, things have changed and because of those changes, both men and women have the freedom to get out of a bad marriage. Sometimes there are good reasons for putting an early end to a bad situation.
I also think that LGBTQ acceptance is helping because people are finally unafraid to love and show love for those they really do love. No one has to enter or stay tethered to a heterosexual marriage to prove their gender preference.
If you realize you got married for the wrong reasons in the first place, why waste your life in a relationship that makes you unhappy? After all, you only get one shot at life.
A good friend of mine got married to a man who was like a brother to me and they had a child. Her husband had a whole lot of problems with substance abuse and anger issues. She knew about it when they got married, but she thought he would grow up and change after the baby was born. He didn't.
When she told me she wanted a divorce I was mortified. I asked her what about her (then) toddler daughter? Her answer was that she believed her daughter would be better off with one happy parent than two miserable ones. It was the right decision. Her husband never did grow up and change. Before their daughter started school, he was dead of a drug overdose.
I didn't love my first husband and knew it early into my marriage. Still, we had 23 good years together until we were pulled apart by several traumatic events that occurred over a very short time, events wherein neither of us could adapt to the other's point of view.
These days, people are getting smarter about what they want out of life, many men and women are choosing to get married later in life. The availability of birth control is also helping to eliminate the “shot gun” wedding. So, if the divorce rate hasn’t stabilized or isn’t already decreasing, it probably will in the future as more mature people make wiser decisions when choosing a life-partner.
I loved my present husband from the moment I met him and everyday I love him even more. Our life, through the last 17 years, has had plenty of ups and downs, but we have always clung to each other through them. I'm not sure we are "soul mates" but we pull the plow together well. One thing I have learned, over time, is that to have a happy relationship you have to be able to relate to your partner in all aspects of your life together.