Having A 'Weekend Marriage'?
According to veteran couples counselor Mira Kirshenbaum, 80 percent of all married couples are living the weekend marriage.
"The Weekend Marriage" is also the title of her book, in which she points out that millions of men and women enter into a loving and devoted relationship, but because of their busy lives, they spend most of their time resolving problems.
Click here to read an excerpt.
"Love has a shelf life," Kirshenbaum tells The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen. "We wake up early. It's go, go, go all day. At night, we have chores and responsibilities.
"And there's never any time for falling in love, to do the things we did when we were falling in love. You turn around and say, 'Where is love?' You keep hoping you have time on the weekend, but even on the weekend, a lot of people can't find time. So love becomes an infinitely postponable option. You can always think that it will be there, but it's not."
But there is hope. Kirshenbaum explains that once couples understand that it is the little things that make a difference, even if their time is limited, "it's a whole new ball game."
But if the relationship is ignored, love will die, she warns. "I'm sorry to be so blunt, but it's very scary. The divorce rate is very high and about half of the divorces are coming because of the lack of time."
She includes the "No Time For Love Test," which she explains to Chen, "I'll give you a short version of it. Go out and spend some time together. You know, dinner, weekend away, even just an hour walking, just the two of you. Are things better or worse when it's just the two of you? If things get better, then you know that it's the way you are living, not you as people who are causing the problems in your marriage. You can get along. And it's easier to do it right than to do it wrong."
So where do kids fit into this picture?
"I'm going to get into a lot of trouble for saying this, but I've got to tell the truth, Kirshenbaum says, "Kids need parents who love them, who love each other, who give them the care that they require. But they don't need every minute of our attention.
"Kids don't need us to sacrifice our love. That's what we do. We think: The kids' needs are so important. But the most important thing to know is that the kids are going to leave home. What they are going to remember is the fact that their parents loved each other or not. You are giving them the model for having their own weekend marriage. So you better do it right."
She lists in her book basic ways to get the marriage on the right track, including:
Take Care of Yourself: "If you don't keep recharging your batteries on a daily basis, then you have nothing to give anyone else," she explains.
Add Positive Energy: "Do as many things as possible - at least one thing a day – it can take a minute: a long, tender kiss. It doesn't have to be a big deal," says Kirshenbaum.
Get Out of Trouble: Kirshenbaum explains, "Minimize the conflicts. If there are conflicts that are going on, make sure that you attend to your need; take seriously what you need, but don't fight about it. There's no time for the damage that fighting does."
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