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After almost 20 years of marriage, Chris Rock and his wife, Malaak Compton-Rock, are getting a divorce. While the details of their marriage have not been released publicly, it is important for us to recognize the sensitivity of the circumstance for the couple as well as their children. We should also keep in mind that people enter and leave marriages for a myriad of reasons and that we should suspend our own expectations and assumptions about what we think a marriage should be.

We should not expect Chris, his wife, or his children to subscribe to our own individual relational prescriptions about what should and should not happen. With that said, I offer my sentiments about how divorce happens among some couples and a few strategies to reduce the likelihood of separation in your relationship.

Divorce typically happens when relational expectations and assumptions go unmet and one or both parties do not have the skill set to resolve behavioral, emotional, sexual, financial, and/or spiritual issues.

Moreover, if one or both parties have experienced some sort of betrayal (e.g., cheating), the subsequent outcome may be traumatic enough to not enable one or both parties to move to a place of forgiveness or reconciliation.

So in other words, if you and your partner fail to talk about who you are, what you want, how you feel, and/or what you need, there exists the possibility that your partner will not be able to be “there” for you. The reason that they aren’t there for you is not because they don’t want to be; but that you have not shared with them in a way that they understand how to be there.

If you find yourself repeating the same thing over and over and your partner continues to make the same mistakes, perhaps you should seek support (e.g., therapist, pastor, or life coach) who can help you share differently and possibly help your partner listen differently.      

It should be kept in mind that there are some people who actually get exactly what they ask for in a marriage, but find themselves afraid of their own vulnerability to someone who can genuinely meet them where they are at.

Said differently, you may think you want someone to really listen to you, be appreciative of you, be attentive to your needs, or love you unconditionally, but the reality is that you are uncomfortable with your sense of self and the possibility of someone truly being “there” for you.

Rather than accept how great you have it in your relationship, you play games, run, or give confusing messages to your partner about how happy you really are.

Read the rest here.

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