Marriage Failures – Twenty years

Married Twenty Years – Is this all there is?   
Have you noticed how many marriages start to fall apart at about the twenty year mark?. There are of course many reasons, some more dramatic than others.   Frequently it seems one of the major causes is  the way the family is centered around the children.

At this  this stage of the marriage most children are now on their way to adulthood.    They are not always nice people or pleasant to be around during this stage of their lives so the stress on the marriage partners  and the sometimes  disappointment in the  children is frequently the cause of  angst and disagreements between the partners.     Few people ever want to admit they don’t like their children at this stage.    So, subsequently there can be feelings  of guilt at being angry and disappointed in them. I am reminded of the tale of the frog in warm water.   Very gradually the water gets too hot and of course by then the frog cannot escape.    
Over the years the parents  have frequently treated the children as more important  than their partner. We live in a child centered society where the   children are indulged and grow up feeling they are entitled to being the most important person (s) in the family and deserve all the material rewards their parents have bestowed on them.   

    Now the children are on their way out of the nest and unfortunately in our present  society most young adults feel that the parents should continue to treat them as No. 1.Since their parents have rarely insisted that the entire family is as important as any one single member, the children  have not been exposed to actual sharing either financially or emotionally.  

For the parents the learning to say “no” or to admit that they cannot afford everything materially that the children want at this stage is very difficult.  Their awareness of each other and of their own need to be important in the family  has been on the back burner for many years..
When the marriage partners start to feel they are  no longer No. 1 to their spouse and  the children no longer think of their parents as No. 1  the feeling state that brought about the marriage in the first place has now been replaced with one of  “Is this all there is”?
Switching gears at mid life is difficult to say the least.   One has to rethink everything you have built your life on.
  Major questions have to be asked of self and partners:
What is my life all about? Would another partner make a difference?  How important are the children – should I sacrifice my well being and happiness  for their comfort? Is this a marital problem or MY problem?  How important is fidelity?   Can I be a self actualized individual and be married?

For those who decide to stay in the marriage the shifting of who is important in the family has to take precedence.   There are no quick fixes and most likely professional help will be necessary.

For those who decide to leave the
marriage there will be upheaval financially and emotionally of all the family members.

“So they were married – to be the more together –
And found they were never again so much together
Divided by the morning coffee.
By the evening paper.
By children and tradesmen’s bills.”
Louis MacNeice,Plant and Phantom

  Married Twenty Years – Is This all there is?

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