We bring you another post in the Midlife Relationship series.
This week, we are talking about marriage cracks at midlife.
“One small crack does not mean that you are broken, it means that you were put to the test and you did not fall apart” - Linda Poindexter
What then happens when that one tiny crack spreads, it begins to develop and expand, eventually becoming so large that it almost breaks you?
Let me take you through a tale about Mofe and Lola (two lovers).
In his late twenties, Mofe got married to the love of his life, Lola and it was a beautiful weekend occasion. Their main colour theme for the day was yellow and all across the room, people were elegantly dressed with their different shades of the colour. Mofe had begun his married life and started to advance in business.
As a Christian, the Word of God and the virtues of the Spirit, served as the foundation of his relationship and marriage. He and his wife agreed on some fundamental family guiding rules and preferences that would help position the marriage for success.
Marriage relationship is a critical part of your life because you will spend a significant part of your life with a person. Therefore, you need to be clear minded and educated on the concepts of relationship and marriage.
The success of a relationship is based on very important factors like self-efficacy, self-awareness, readiness, information about relationships, and responsibility of roles.
Additionally, your identity, the influence of your past and your background, your relationship assumptions, the stories your parents and family told you, the conscious and unconscious choices you made, your faith and belief systems, and your current personality.
This may seem like a long list of things to consider, but when you realise that a marriage relationship is about spending the rest of your life with someone, you will understand that there are several things you should consider in detail, both before and during the marriage.
About 20 years into Mofe’s marriage, huge cracks began to appear. The level of communication and engagement began to slide down rapidly. Exchange of pleasantries became basic and things moved to a maintenance mode. Deep and complex issues turned into conflicts that lingered for weeks and this continued unresolved for years.
Then, the safest place was silence and things became seemingly easier.
Mofe and Lola kept within the lines of - “Yes,” “Ok,” “If it’s fine by you,” “If that is what you want,” “It’s better you go alone,” “No issues,” “Have you paid the rent?” “I need your car next week,” “I’ll be travelling in a few days,” “See you later.”
Communication is the result of an internal process. The quality of communication in any relationship is diagnostic of the cardinal story or weakness of the relationship. Communication is not the real challenge, it’s the symptom, likewise, communication is not the solution, it’s a palliative.
Why did the communication between Mofe and Lola reduce to basic survival and operational statements?
Was the final destination altered?
Was there a shift in roles?
Did one partner become pseudo-energy?
Were promises broken or unfulfilled?
Did the assumptions fall through the cracks?
Did they unconsciously go through dating into marriage only to be awoken by the transition challenges?
These issues will cause you to start having internal conversations that block out effective communication with your partner and also manifest as silence, limited words, or outbursts. So, communication is not the real problem; the challenge is seated inside your soul.
You have to first identify the root cause. When did the cracks first appear? What really led to these first cracks?
Some common causes of marriage cracks are
Lack of Commitment
Affairs & Infidelity
Lack of Intimacy
We will discuss each of these possible root causes in detail in our future posts.
After you have identified the root cause of the cracks, you then have to look within to find the reasons behind that root cause.
Are there past personal experiences that have shaped your mindset and make you act in certain ways that led to these issues?
These are the questions you need to ask yourself.
Will Mofe and Lola be able to identify the root cause of the cracks?
Will they give up on the relationship and choose to separate?
Will they be able to fill the cracks and move forward?
Watch out for Part 2 of this story to find out.
What do you think about Mofe and Lola’s situation? What do you think will happen next?
We will love to hear from you. Send us your thoughts and opinions in the comments.