The Millisecond Marriages – Too Much, Too Soon!
The Millisecond Marriages – Too Much, Too Soon!
Were we that surprised when we read that actress Kate Hudson called time on her marriage to Chris Robinson after a mere five years together? After all they live in the viper pit that’s Hollywood. Massive egos compete against each other, even within marriages, and temptation looms large on every film set, so the millisecond marriage as I've decided call it are more commonplace.
However by Hollywood standards it’s quite a feat for Kate and Chris to have managed that long. Let's not forget Renee Zellweger’s marriage to country star Kenny Chesney lasted a mere four months. Just what is it about Hollywood and country music stars that land them in the divorce courts? As Julia Roberts’ marriage to country crooner Lyle Lovett lasted little more than a year. But those are both longer than Nicolas Cage and Lisa Marie Presley’s 107 days of marriage.
The record for the shortest-ever millisecond marriage goes to Britney Spears for her 55 hours of married-love to childhood pal Jason Alexander. However Billy Bob Thornton holds a different sort of record for having the lowest "spousal-boredom-threshold" with four of his five marriages ending in divorce within two years!
You don't need Hollywood-level star quality to have pressures pull apart your relationship faster than you fell in love as many minor celebrities have found. Jade Goody, Mel B, Kerry Katona and Daniella Westbrook, to name a few, have all had millisecond marriages. Unfortunately with nearly one in six marriages of younger people now ending in divorce within five years it's something many couples face. And it's not just the men prepared to jump ship quickly as many women I meet are equally prepared to do so. In the last year I've coached two women who left their fresh-from-their-packaging husbands before the two-year mark.
There are a number of similar strands in most of these cases. First off, those involved usually want "too much, too soon" and haven't taken the time to get to know each other well. Second, many couples mistake lust for love, and before the former burns out they make plans to marry.
Millisecond marriages also reflect the fact we want quick-fix solutions and when things get tricky many head for the hills rather than overcome problems. This phenomenon is also characterised by the general selfishness of today’s society where people expect their partners to do what they want to do. Finally, another major culprit at the heart of this phenomenon is we’ve fewer communication skills to negotiate difficulties, depending far too much on abbreviated communication through text and email.
Those couples that do try and learn to relate positively are the ones that enjoy the rewards of a deeper relationship. If you're panic-stricken that it's going to be over as quickly as it started there's much you can do to salvage the situation.
Dr Pam’s damage-limitation tips, tricks and techniques:
- Slow down and take things day-by-day. You may feel panicked now that you have to dump this relationship since it's gone pear-shaped quickly and move on. But take a deep breath and stop thinking terms of "the rest of your lives".
- Start again and really get to know each other. Why not set aside some time for proper dating and alternate choosing what you do. That way you each have an equal say and get to know each other's likes and dislikes.
- I find people in whirlwind marriages don't know each other well to communicate properly and instead they pick ridiculous fights. While initially this blows off steam, in the long-term it prevents intimacy and masks real issues. So refuse to be goaded into irrational fights. Keep calm until your partner has burnt out their anger and are ready to discuss what’s really bothering them.
- Because things have happened so quickly your whole relationship can feel "threatening". Let your partner know you can resolve issues without it feeling threatening. Be brave and show them your vulnerable side and discuss any insecure feelings giving them confidence to open up, too.
- As the crunch has come so soon and passionate feelings have been aroused, count to 10 if your anger wells up before you say anything. You're less likely to say something regrettable in the heat of the moment.
- Since your skills to "relate" haven't had time to develop use an egg timer to give each other 2-3 minutes to state your side of things.
- Choose a moment when you’re both calm and have a conversation about the good things you've shared. By highlighting the positives that you still undoubtedly have, you’ll both feel better.
- Agree 1-2 goals to discuss so that it doesn't feel like you're scaling a mountain! This is particularly important as you may be getting at each other in whatever way possible because everything’s become so dramatic. It's best to pare down your list of grievances to ones you can start changing today.
- Keep communication to the point and clear since there are issues about how much you understand each other. Using "I statements" beginning with "I feel x, y, z" definitely help to do this.
10. Make a concerted effort to identify the highlights of your short relationship and do more of those. For example, something must’ve drawn you together like bees and pollen. It's those things that’ll help you through this difficult and potentially destructive patch.
Ultimately if you hang in there you could reap the rewards of an interesting and passionate relationship. As long as there haven't been any nasty surprises rearing their ugly heads, e.g. violence or addiction, once you took the plunge. For extra help contact Relate (0845-130-4016) or any local counselling service.
Previously published in The Express Newspaper