Love and marriage. You can’t have one without the other.
But for a number of couples in Britain, you can’t have one without divorce, either.
Divorce has become a part of British life but its trends in recent years have been slightly unpredictable.
While it is a given that the divorce rate is monumentally higher than it was, say, 50 years ago, divorce rates had started to drop off in the wake of the economic crisis that gripped the world from 2008.
However, the most recent yearly figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that divorce is on the increase again – up to 120,000 a year in England and Wales in 2010, a rise of almost five per cent on 2009.
Relationships guru Terri Bodell, who specialises in dealing with people recovering from break-ups, said: ‘Marriage takes work. It takes a lot of work.
A lot of people are either giving up on marriage too quickly or perhaps jumping into marriage too fast.’
She said the drop in divorce up to 2010 was a direct result of the credit crunch.
‘It has been on the decrease slightly for the last few years but that’s more of an economic thing. People can’t afford to get divorced. It costs a lot of money to get divorced.
‘It means that two people who were living together now can’t afford to live anywhere with the mortgage rates. A lot of people are staying together – is it a marriage of convenience or a marriage of inconvenience?’
But why do couples end up getting divorced? ‘People rush into it because they think it’s going to the answer to all their problems,’ said Ms Bodell.
‘They find somebody that they are in love with and they think that in love feeling is going to last.
‘They jump in with both feet. They haven’t actually sat down and had the hard conversations beforehand. The hard conversations are things about belief systems – I don''t mean religious beliefs: how you want to bring up children if you have children; how you think the world should be; what are we going to do together, how are we going to live together?
‘It sounds almost like a business contract. In a way, it is. We actually spend more time thinking about the car we’re going to buy than we do about our partner in life.’
She said that divorce was not necessarily always a bad thing, particularly when it comes to children.
‘You don’t stay together for the sake of the children if you’re going to bring them up in a house that is actually very damaging to them. I don''t always think that divorce is bad for the children. You’re teaching your children how to live in the world and how to relate to other people. So if they see two people arguing the whole time they’re under the impression that’s what couples do, which isn’t a good thing.’
In the end, Ms Bodell believes the reason why couples split is simple. ‘The moment communication is gone, everything else is gone,’ she said.