The wedding season is coming to an end, and so too, at some point, will nearly a half of those now seemingly perfect, happy marriages.
We all know that divorce statistics are undeniably depressing but thankfully a new survey commissioned for the DVD release of The Love Punch, hints at slightly better news - 54% of divorcees said they regretted ending their marriage.
OK, it’s not entirely good news – that does mean a lot of people living with the poisonous burden of regret.
But it also means that for all the inevitable trials, tribulations and unpicked-up-wet-towels of marriage, it’s generally worth battling through, and, as number six on the reasons for regretting divorce list (below) shows, the grass is not always greener on the other side.
With this in mind, we have a look at some simple secrets to making love last.
Everyone likes to be right, but there’s a time and a place to admit, sometimes, that you’re wrong. And a marriage is it. Research from Baylor University, Texas, earlier this year found that one of the keys to a successful relationship is relinquishing some of the ‘power’ in the relationship to the other person, namely being willing to compromise.
Don’t go to bed on a fight
A survey by Two Together Railcard proved that saying “I love you” before bed was the second most important secret to happiness in a relationship. Not convinced by a train survey giving tips on love? Perhaps you’ll be more convinced by Wilfred and Ivy Turberville, the longest-married couple in Britain, who recently revealed “never going to bed on a quarrel” was why they’d remained together for 80 years.
Do things together
Those who play together stay together - a study of 1,000 married Americans a few months ago listed having three shared hobbies and interests as one of the top requirements for romantic bliss.
Do things apart
The Love Punch survey showed that not everyone who approached divorce actually went through with it, and 94% of those believed the time apart during their break-up helped to save their relationship. Because remember; you’re married to each other; you haven’t become each other. While spending time together is clearly very important, it’s just as important to ensure you spend time on your own, with your own friends, pursuing your own interests.
Do the little things
Whatever the films might try to tell us, most of us aren’t that fussed by grand, sweeping gestures of love. We like little ones instead. In fact, according to an Open University study, the everyday acts of kindness – making a cup of tea or sacrificing the crispiest roast potato - are more important to a lasting marriage than acts of romantic largesse like overpriced dinners or expensive handbags (though they can be nice sometimes, too).
Do move to Worcester
Worcester is the most loved-up spot in the country, according to that slightly tenuous rail romance survey, with 100% of those questioned saying they had at least one date night a month. Don’t fancy relocating to the West Midlands? That’s fine, you can still heed their advice, and make sure you and your husband/wife have regular ‘date nights’. They don’t have to be fancy, they don’t have to be expensive; they just have to be the two of you, taking time to re-connect and remind each other why you fell in love in the first place.
How to save your marriage
Divorce coach Sara Davison has this advice on making things work, and when to give up:
“Divorce is often stated to be the second most traumatic experience in life after loss of a loved one. So even when your marriage seems unbearable, divorce has to be your last option,” she says.
“I always suggest my clients take three months to do everything they can to save their marriage. It means that if they then do make the decision to separate, then there are no regrets as they know they did all they could to save it.
“Obviously there will be pain and heartache as with any relationship break-up, however it's important to be clear on what went wrong and why so you don't repeat mistakes in future relationships. A common trap is to see the relationship through rose-tinted glasses when it's ended which can lead to regrets.
“Get clear on what is not working and communicate with your partner. After three months of doing your best to save the marriage, then you limit the chances of regret if you do divorce.”