The recent American Relationship Survey found that more than half of American couples are satisfied with the quality of their relationships with less than one in five facing the likelihood of break-up.
Conducted by the nonprofit PAIRS Foundation in Hollywood, Florida, a long-time industry leader in marriage and relationship education, the two-year study based its conclusions on participants’ self-assessments of their relationships in just six areas.
Decades of research, said PAIRS CEO Seth Eisenberg, provides evidence that the strength of couple relationships measured by their ability to “confide emotions, share ideas and interests, enjoy sensual and sexual connection, and value what’s been built together is the basis for high levels of sustained relationship satisfaction and stability.”
“These six components make-up the relationship footprint,” Eisenberg said. “A deep relationship footprint in which couples have strengths in each of the six areas indicates greater resiliency.”
Alexandra Sifferlin wrote about another potential contributor to creating a deep relationship footprint in TIME Magazine this month. “The number of siblings may be a meaningful one [indicator of stronger marriages] … navigating family relationships can be a helpful introduction into managing friendships and spousal interactions later on,” Sifferlin reported.
Eisenberg said he hopes the survey results will lead to a more realistic understanding of the state of America’s intimate relationships.
“While most couples are satisfied, many others don’t realize problems, challenges and even crises are a natural part of any close relationship,” Eisenberg said. “As they learn more about what makes so many relationships satisfying and enduring, they often discover they can create the same happiness in their lives.”
Jim Halfins, CEO of DivorceHotel, said couples are often too quick to turn to lawyers when marriages become rocky.
“We simply do not like to talk about our problems openly,” Halfins said. “Perhaps we haven’t really learned all the skills to communicate in a way that is geared towards truly listening to each other, working things out and finding a middle way. No, we prefer to direct ourselves towards expensive lawyers with the ‘simple’ demand to arrange the divorce as fast as he or she can.”.
“It’s worth pausing to learn what it takes to create a deep relationship footprint,” Eisenberg added. “A lot more children can grow up in happy, intact families if we can overcome the ‘unconscious incompetence’ that still leads too many couples to breakup instead of makeup and others to wed without knowing what it takes to sustain happiness together.”