My wife and I often read a book together, out loud, typically in the evenings at the end of the day. Our current book is called “What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty. We just are into the first few chapters of the book, and the premise, so far, is that Alice gets a knock on the head while exercising at the gym and loses 10 years of her memories. We are beginning to find out (as is Alice) that Alice and her husband, Nick, are separated and in the process of getting a divorce. We don’t yet know what is behind the separation and divorce, but none of what is going on makes sense to Alice as she only has memories of 10 years previous when she and Nick were madly in love and divorce not even a realistic thought for either one of them. Lindy and I are both looking forward to see how the loss of the Alice’s memory impacts the relationship and the current separation and the impending divorce.
This caused me to think about little conflicts in marriage, how if left unattended, can lead to larger problems, and eventual divorce. If couples who are struggling could magically go back to the years when, like Alice and Nick, they were madly in love, not thinking about the possibility of divorce, and look ahead to where they were in reality, would they work harder to solve the smaller problems as they come up? John Gottman, America’s marriage researcher, has found that most couples wait, on average, six to seven years, from the onset of a problem before they seek help from a marriage/relationship therapist. By that time, the problem or problems are so large that it is much more difficult to bring the relationship back to a place where there is love and affection. Don’t let your relationship suffer from neglect, and don’t assume that the small problems will just go away. Often the small problems get bigger just because they aren’t addressed. Don’t be the couple the waits six to seven years to tackle a problem that would be so much easier to solve when it is small.