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Cropped screenshot of Richard Burton and Eliza...

Cropped screenshot of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor from the trailer for the film Cleopatra. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all know couples that we assumed would be together forever but who ended up in the divorce courts. And we’ve all watched those couples we decided had absolutely nothing in common, remain together.

So what are the secret ingredients that bind marriages together, even through middle-age, when the interest and lust of those early days has become tarnished by the pressures of real life?

It’s hardly surprising that the divorce rate increases annually, and it’s not a ‘modern’ problem necessarily. Couples had less choices in the past. Many women didn’t work and so were forced into dependence upon their spouses. Which is why men and women stuck their marriages out, no matter how stale the relationship might have become.

These days, we hear a lot more about the marriages that don’t work out than the marriages that do stand the test of time. Because some couples do manage to stay in love, in spite of the pressures of our modern-day existence.

My parents divorced when I was very young and so I approached my marriage with what I believed was a realistic attitude. I knew I would fight for my marriage but if it struggled and I couldn’t mend it, I was certain that I would walk away.

And as with most marriages, ours has experienced its ups and downs. Marriage is hard. As people, we continue to grow and evolve over time. We change in so many ways and the glue that once bound us together can become unstuck as our situations change over time. Those external pressures mould us, but not necessarily in tandem with our partners.

‘We just wanted different things,’ is a comment I hear a lot.

Humour is the glue in my marriage.

A week or so ago, the stars suddenly aligned and I found myself unexpectedly in a really happy place with my lot. And I felt the need to go forth and spread the word, to share my ‘happiness’ with my husband to see if he felt the same way.

Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: ‘Things are going pretty well at the moment. Kurt seems finally happy at school and for the time-being his depression seems under control, NC has found someone to discuss ‘rocks’ with, we all seem to have settled into Gotham City, and now that you’re able to exercise, even you seem to have a better approach to life.

(Gushing now) Isn’t it amazing how the pieces of a puzzle can finally come together? I’m enjoying my new job and I love the connections I have made from my writing – I’m even writing my book again. The move to the city has given us so much more in terms of things to do as a family.

LIFE FEELS REALLY GOOD!’

Husband: (deadpan): ‘I’m leaving you.’

‘Humour’ has always been the key to our relationship. What’s yours?

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