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Will your spouse leave you in 5 years’ time?

By Athenkosi Sawutana

Divorce rates are the highest among couples who have been married for five to nine years. This is according to data released by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) on Wednesday.

The statistics show that 31,7% of divorces emanate from the black African population; 25,4% from the coloured; 25,0% from the white and 22,4% from the Indian/Asian population.  

According to the publication, the white population had the highest number of divorces in the first five years.

Mimi Hewett, a relationship and family counsellor, says lack of perseverance is the cause of these divorces.

“Many couples seem to give up much quicker nowadays than many years ago,” she says.

“We live in an era where everything is fast: fast foods and faster internet. When things are broken, we tend to replace rather than fix them,” she adds.

Hewett says many people stop trying to impress their partners because they think they’ve already won them over.

“People often stop making an effort to look good; cook their partner’s favourite dinner or buy them flowers,” says the counsellor.

She says the sweet words of affirmation and adoration start to fade and people get stuck in everyday life.

Hewett also adds that people tend to focus on their careers and children in the first seven years of marriage.

The report also showed a decline in divorces as the number of years of marriage increased.

According to Hewett, this is because people who invested in their marriage in the early years (emotionally, financially and spiritually), tend to realise what they stand to lose if they divorce after so many years.

She says children can also play a big role in couples staying together, even though they might not be happy with each other anymore.

Hewett advises couples to protect their relationships by doing the following:

  • Build a solid relationship and foundation with your partner – your partner was there before the children. Your partner should always be a priority over the kids, the job, the extended family, friends, school and church.
  • Make time for date nights and communicate your needs.
  • Listen to your partner and make sure you know what your partner’s Love Language is (look at infographic below) so that you can keep their “love tank” full.
  • Having the same interests and sharing experiences also helps. If you are religious, sharing the same faith will be an advantage, as well as praying together and for each other.
  • Marriage counselling can also help couples to rediscover their passion for each other again.

  

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