Very often couples gradually go through a three step process and lose their individual identity as they morph into their respective roles in their marriage. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking responsibility of certain roles within your marriage. This is part of the synchronicity that marriage naturally constructs. But if couples aren’t careful, this naturally occurring process can slowly, without them even realizing it, result in an irreparable gap created between the couple, that can ultimately end in divorce.
How Does a Couple Get Lost in their Roles in Marriage?
Couples file for divorce for various reasons, and one of the most common is because they’ve grown apart from each other. One of the reasons that couples drift apart is because they have lost their individual identities as they have taken on their distinct roles in their marriage.
Becoming lost in the roles can potentially by a three stage progression. It’s important for couples to be aware of these stages, in order for them to avoid losing their individuality, and ultimately, prevent divorce.
Stage 1: Disconnecting from Single Friends
The initial stage happens during the first few years after getting married. Many couples have the tendency to gradually stop spending time with their single friends. Their reasons vary.
Some couples disconnect from single friends, because they think they can’t relate to their peers anymore. Some married couples stay away from their old pals because they think they can no longer do what single people do, like bar hopping and partying. Some partners choose to hang out with other married couples only. There are also those who drift away from their single friends because they just want to spend a lot of time with their spouse.
Stage 2. Losing Time for Each Other
The second stage happens when the couple begins to have children. When a baby arrives, most couples spend less and less time with each other. It’s understandable that couples would want to focus on their children, because babies are completely dependent on their parents, and they need undivided attention. But it is important that in the process of caring for your baby’s needs, you do not forget about your spouse. Couples need to make time for each other, even if it’s difficult to do so. They should remember that after the kids leave home, there will still be a marriage, so that relationship needs to be the priority.
Stage 3: Loss of Connection
This is the end stage of getting lost in the roles in marriage, and when many couples decide to file for divorce. This stage happens after the children have grown old enough to be independent, and the couple becomes empty nesters. Through the years of pouring their time and energy into raising their children, they’ve forgotten about their spouses. When their children are all grown-up, married partners have to still maintain a cohesive relationship with each other. When they are back to being just the two of them at home, they often realize that there’s no connection anymore. They have drifted so far apart that they can’t even remember why they got married to each other in the first place.
It’s very important that spouses balance their individual identities with those of being a couple. Having common interests as well as individual interests is healthy, so that once the kids are out of the house, the couple can still have shared interests to reground them and help them fall in love with each other all over again.
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We see many couples considering divorce. Whether you’re struggling in the early stages of your marriage or you’re empty nesters who’ve completely lost touch with each other, at some point there is a good chance that you’ve lost your personal identity within the hectic responsibilities of your marriage or that of being a parent. If this is the case feel free to give us a call. We have mediation services that may help, as well as licensed marriage and family therapists that we can recommend to our clients, who can also assist. Get help today!