This is a wake-up call to spark up your marriage so divorce isn’t an option. It’s inspired by the breakup of the 40-year marriage of Al and Tipper Gore. Divorce may seem painless for couples like the Gores, who can afford to buy a mansion overlooking the ocean for each of them. Yet divorce would take an emotional toll on them and everyone who loves them. For many couples, divorce is a pathway to poverty and dysfunctional relationships that extend into future generations.
Couples can learn how to avoid that fate. You can work through rocky times and deepen joyful intimacy with your partner using love skills you’re about to learn in highlights of my radio discussion with Ken Donaldson—a relationship coach based in Tampa and author of Marry Yourself First.
What love lessons can couples learn from the Gore breakup?
Ken respects the Gore’s for not revealing reasons for their separation. Yet he’s curious if former Vice President Al Gore’s political and entrepreneurial successes became a greater priority than his marriage which can make your partner feel like a bottom priority. This happens in many relationships.
How do couples find a work-life balance?
Check in with your partner to take the pulse of your relationship a couple times a week to find the vital signs of life. Ask each other what’s working or not working and then take steps to make the relationship work better for both of you. Without this, a relationship’s vital energy can fade.
If the solution is that simple, why don’t more couples use it?
Many couples don’t have good relationship role models, so they don’t have good couple-communication skills. They either don’t talk about issues or they blow up over them. Either way, issues never get resolved, and they remain dangling around them like hot wires that you try to avoid.
Out of avoidance or escapism of these hot issues, people often sink their energy into their work instead of their partner. Or they remain stuck in past issues that are still sizzling hot, so they aren’t fully present now.
Another way couples avoid facing tough issues is to stay stuck in their comfort zone which can get boring. They do fewer things to keep the relationship exciting or make each other feel like your top priority.
How do you change your priorities and the health of your relationship?
Start dating your mate at least once a week, where you do something special and you don’t talk about your children or your relationship.
Set boundaries as a couple to carve out time for each other every day.
Change your focus to see and express positives instead of complaining about what’s wrong or hurtful.
Move out of your comfort zone and stir up hot issues to keep your relationship in a growing pattern.
Learn communication and anger management skills to begin dialoguing about issues calmly and honestly.
Keep your body healthy and strong, since passion and sexual desire can diminish if you get sick or unfit.
I also advise couples to nourish your body and your relationship with hearty foods and loving actions. And start having more fun, since a foundation of fun can keep you together during tough times.
Can couples work toward reconciliation when they move into different homes, like the Gores did?
That’s unlikely, since you need to be close and focused on working through issues, which is nearly impossible when you’re no longer in the same house. So it’s smarter to be living together and addressing the tough issues if you want to make your marriage work.
Many young adults think that when couples hit 50 you lose your interest in sex, move into separate bedrooms so divorce is logical or no big deal. How can couples be a good role model and keep passion alive for a lifetime?
That’s difficult for anyone who gets sick or unfit. So it’s important to stay healthy in body, mind and spirit so that you can connect with your partner on all essential levels throughout your life. Healthy couples keep passion alive by being dedicated to each other and your marriage so you grow together instead of apart.
How important is it for troubled couples to get professional help?
Many couples wait till the house has burned down until they see a counselor and ask them to put out the fire. Then it can be too late to save a marriage.
Yet if you seek guidance to get new love skills early enough, any marriage can be saved when both partners want that. There may be one partner who wants to save it more than the other, and that’s normal.
Yet both partners must commit to address any addiction or mental health issues, and then learn the communication, conflict resolution, anger management and love skills that help you revitalize your relationship and keep love alive for a lifetime.
Love deeply and live your dreams now,